Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the most inspirational photographers that I have ever come across. His photographs show an overflowing respect for the life of the people around him.
When I first saw a photo by Bresson it was like a veil was thrown off of me, every time I took photos before that moment was only a fraction of an experience, with blurred vision that wasn't fully clear as to what could have been seen. Now having been inspired by his work to not just passively walk by the life around me, but to actually see it for its creative potential has uplifted my photographic experience more than any other photographer has been able to do.
I feel as though he truly understood the significance of day-to-day experiences, something that I have often taken for granted in my own life. I read that during world war II he was captured in a nazi POW camp and failed to escape twice, I believe that is why he had such an acute appreciation for the seemingly banal things that a normal life consisted of, he was aware of the horrors that man was capable of, and therefore had a real appreciation for peaceful places and times. He was a pure romantic, always trying to show life in the best possible way, because the subject deserved nothing less.
Here are some links to further you're understanding. If you're really interested in learning more about the man, his life, and his career I suggest you pick up "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century" a book published my MOMA which contains a massive amount of information on his life, career, and philosophy, as well as close to a hundred incredible pictures by him