Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare (1931)
"Speed and instinct were at the heart of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s brilliance as a photographer. And never did he combine the two better than on the day in 1932 when he pointed his Leica camera through a fence behind Paris’ Saint-Lazare train station. The resulting image is a masterpiece of form and light. As a man leaps across the water, evoking the dancers in a poster on the wall behind him, the ripples in the puddle around the ladder mimic the curved metal pieces nearby. Cartier-Bresson, shooting with a nimble 35-millimeter camera and no flash, saw these components all come together for a brief moment and clicked his shutter. Timing is everything, and no other photographer’s was better. The image would become the quintessential example of Cartier-Bresson’s “Decisive Moment,” his lyrical term for the ability to immortalize a fleeting scene on film. It was a fast, mobile, detail-obsessed style that would help chart the course for all of modern photography."
"Found Irony": the image of the dancer/acrobat on the Railowsky advertisement contrasts with the futile leap of the man from a fallen ladder into watery mire.