Gare St. Lazare has been portrayed by many artists (Monet, Manet, et al) but Henri Cartier-Bresson’s 1932 take on the station was totally different. Derrière la gare de Saint-Lazare is not a photo noted for its historicity, but it is a photo that represented the entire life’s works of Cartier-Bresson. Throughout his life, Cartier-Bresson had been a champion of the Decisive Moment, and a seeker of the unexplored–Derrière la gare de Saint-Lazare represents both, and defined his career.
However, Cartier-Bresson didn’t intend this to gain such an iconicity. “There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare St. Lazare and I was peeking through the space with my camera at my eye. This is what I saw. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason the picture is cut off on the left.” Again he proved he was the right man at the right moment