Exercise: Capturing The Moment
There isn’t any specific brief for this exercise as ‘decisive moments’ as Henri Cartier-Bresson titled them don’t happen predictably, patience and luck play a great part in this form of photography.
With regard the so-called great ‘decisive moments’ as captured by Bresson, we’re led to believe that the great man just happened to be in the right place at the right time and his quick reflexes and great insight enabled him not only to capture the moment, but to be able to predict it. I’d argue that it’s more likely that he set the scenes up beforehand and paid the people involved. Let’s face it, with regard to the ‘Man Jumping Over Puddle’, who in their right mind tries to jump a puddle that wide when it’s pretty obvious you’d need to be an olympic long-jump star to make it, in fact it’s clear the subject isn’t going to in the image. What it does do though is make a great picture for the photographer to sell and increase his reputation. I’m not saying it’s not a great image, it is, it’s just not spontaneous in my opinion. Similarly the image of the bicycle passing the bottom of the steps, I wouldn’t mind betting that took several attempts to get the timing just right.
I’ve made several different images and series to show ‘decisive moment’ as it sometimes takes a series to show clearly the right time to make the image.
This final image came after many attempts to get the timing right. A series of images would not have helped as the frame rate of my camera is too slow to capture the muzzle flash if you miss it in the first frame. I had to stand there for some time timing the volleys and was lucky enough to capture this scene only once despite many attempts.