Waiting for That Decisive Moment

Photography is an art, and you can’t rush the process – even with the ready-in-an-instant digital camera. I love the moments when everything comes together quickly and easily for a perfect storm of artistic goodness.

Lately though, my projects require a lot of sitting . . . and waiting . . . and repeating the whole process to get the perfect picture. Improving my art and getting precisely what I want is a challenge, but totally worth it – when the decisive moment shows up.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was known for this concept of the “decisive moment” – that perfect moment when everything comes together to create a picture with balance and clarity. Trust me, patience and determination are definitely required.

Place de l'Europe, Paris, 1932 Copyright Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum

Place de l’Europe, Paris, 1932 Copyright Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum

Cartier-Bresson sat . . . and waited . . . until he spotted it – the decisive moment. He captured it immediately after the man reached the other side of the ladder.

I like that he took the picture before the man’s foot touched the ground. If the man was trying to avoid splashing in the water, it doesn’t look like he will be successful and land on dry ground.

The reflections in the water, of the man and the scene in the background, give the composition balance and unity. As you study the photograph, you can see how everything comes together to create a visually aesthetic moment in time: the decisive moment. Cartier-Bresson shows us that the photographer’s eye and mind intuitively recognize that moment when it arrives.

You can read more in his book – a great book to have in your home library.

I was recently reminded of Cartier-Bresson’s work when I heard my dog’s loud, screechy bark. I know that sound. She had found the scent of a rabbit. (I don’t want her to get hurt, but I know she needs to hunt.) Squeamishly, I let her go after it. Wildly and happily, she ran through the woods so fast that she was almost flying. How could I say no to that?

Meet Sunny. My smart, wild, and energetic Jackabee.

Sunny, the best doggy in the whole wide world!

Sunny, the best doggy in the whole wide world!
Copyright: Morgana Horn 2012

She looks pretty calm when she’s chewing out her frustration on a bone. BUT, don’t let that sweet face fool you!

Th-th-th-that’s right folks, it’s Wabbit season and my Jackabee and me are hunting wabbits.

Copyright: 2001 Warner Bros, Inc.

‘Toon in next time.

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7 responses to “Waiting for That Decisive Moment

  1. Pingback: A Time to Imagine | Morgana Horn

  2. Hi, I guess you know that this famous photo was not framed like that by Cartier Bresson – it is actually a crop from the original photo. Cartier Bresson still captured the right moment – a revolution by that time’s standards – but he generally did not edit or process his photos, he had a printer for that, who eventually would crop photos. That was maybe not the general rule, but this here is not the original capture….

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