Photography Exhibit Shows Pictures of Gandhi Just Hours Before He Died

A photo of Gandhi.

Photo credit: Jim Forest at Flickr Creative Commons.

The first time Henri Cartier-Bresson visited India was 70 years ago, in 1947. The French photojournalist had just founded his photographic agency, Magnum Photos, and his journey was part of a three-year pilgrimage through Asia, an artistic journey that was meant to launch his agency into international fame.

Out of those three years, it was a single day that etched Cartier-Bresson’s name into the annals of history: January 30, 1948. He was there in Delhi to meet a famous personage, one of the most well-known names in history. Unknowing, he photographed the last living day of Mahatma Gandhi, only hours before his assassination.

Some of the photos from that day and from the ensuing funeral have been selected to be part of a new exhibition, one that follows Cartier-Bresson’s travels on the subcontinent. Each picture included has been chosen with focus on his interest in the humanity that surrounded him. He is considered to be one of the fathers of the type of “street photography” that would become a trademark of publications like National Geographic.

This small exhibition, titled “India in Full Frame,” is curated by Beth Citron at the Rubin Museum of Art. The name comes from his photographic style, his images filled edge-to-edge with living detail and direct gazes.

“India in Full Frame” opens on April 21 and runs through September 4, 2017 at the Rubin Museum of Art on West 17th Street. It is put on in concert with Magnum Photos, still an artistic force in the world. The exhibit is supported by David Solo, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and numerous other anonymous donors.

Admission to the museum is $15, or free if you visit any Friday evening after 6pm for K2 nights, the museum’s cocktail night with a cash bar. While you’re there, also check out the long-term exhibitions about Himalayan art and culture.

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