“When he decided to stop at the end of 1960s, Henri Cartier-Bresson would say, “I’ve had enough of the pavement, I want to draw, I want to live in another temporality”, because photography was, according to Cartier-Bresson, ‘à la sauvette’ (on the run)…To him, it was clear that you take a photo in a fraction of a second; he liked to say like a thief, like a street merchant that doesn’t have the right to be there and gets thrown out by the police.
This notion of an image ‘à la sauvette’ was something that Cartier-Bresson especially liked because he really liked the idea of being a little thief – a little photo thief. And there were very often scenes where that was clear, for example, one day he photographed Yves Saint Laurent. He went to his home and Saint Laurent was extremely nervous. Henri Cartier-Bresson was looking at the paintings on the walls at the library and finally Saint Laurent said, ‘Okay, when are you going to take my portrait?’ and Cartier-Bresson said, ‘Oh I took it a long time ago.’ He was not someone who set a whole thing up, who had to take photos with a light and a backdrop.”