Poetry is the essence of everything, and it’s through deep contact with reality and living fully that you reach poetry. Very often I see photographers cultivating the strangeness or awkwardness of a scene, thinking it is poetry. No. Poetry is two elements which are suddenly conflict — a spark between two elements. But it’s given very seldom, and you can’t look for it. It’s like if you look for inspiration. No, it just comes by enriching yourself and living.
You have to forget yourself. You have to be yourself and you have to forget yourself so that the image comes much stronger — what you want by getting involved completely in what you are doing and not thinking. Ideas are very dangerous. You must think all the time, but when you photograph, you aren’t trying to push a point or prove something. You don’t prove anything. It comes by itself.Henri Cartier-Bresson
From the first part of the interview:
But the most difficult thing for me is not street photography. It’s a portrait. The difference between a portrait and a snapshot is that in a portrait, a person agreed to be photographed. But certainly it’s like a biologist and his microscope. When you study the thing, it doesn’t react as when it’s not studied. And you have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt, which is not an easy thing, because you steal something. The strange thing is that you see people naked through your viewfinder. And it’s sometimes very embarrassing.Henri Cartier-Bresson