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The Decisive Moment

Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by RovingMike, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    You're on a roll today, eh? :cool:
     
  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    No, he's seen the same thing I have on Facebook!
    I'm with you on the opinion that the decisive moment means different things to different people. If I feel a certain way, then my decisive moment when taking a picture means it conveys what I am feeling at that time. A decisive moment for any photographer should be the time he or she presses the shutter. It can be no other.
     
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That seems to me about the size of it.
     
    Catriona likes this.
  4. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Problem with HCB is that most of his pictures that I have seen don't need a DM to work. They are well observed etc., but not critically timed. It's like that nonsense that he never cropped an image - it has entered into 'received knowledge' as fact despite the obvious.
     
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I agree 100% I recall emulating his work in an exercise years ago. Yes, well observed is what I would say most of his images show.
    For most of us, it can be pure luck capturing an image with a surprise present. Sometimes we didn't even see it at the time and spot it afterwards. It's not ever something I would obsess over. I prefer to take what captures my attention and try to get a good image.
     
    Zou likes this.
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    No one's suggesting otherwise, this discussion doesn't preclude that or deride that. Nor does aiming for a decisive moment have to be negative or elitist.
     
    Zou likes this.
  7. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I hope you're still ignoring me. I think you're entirely wrong here. There's an objective measure of whether a photograph contains a decisive moment, what's up for debate, is the definition of what a decisive moment means. There's a broad range of potential definitions, and often it's easier to define what it's not.

    A row of buildings with no people isn't a decisive moment. You could get that shot at any time of a day, it's expected, normal, ordinary, if you took three shots 10 minutes apart each of them would show the same image. So it's can't be a decision point, there's no decision and so no decisive moment in which that decision happens.
     
    Zou likes this.
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Not needing a DM to work surely means they're delivering on two levels, they have a decisive moment (assuming they do), and they're interesting images as well. I can post interesting images without a decisive moment, images with a decisive moment that are crap images, and decisive moments that only make good images because of the moment, etc.

    It's not an all or nothing thing. Like composition, texture, subject, decisive moments are a feature of an image, not only element of an image.
     
    Zou likes this.
  9. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I posted this recently to instagram. There's no decisive moment here. I know that because I saw the guy in this pose, saw the slight juxtaposition but kept walking, changed my mind, walked back, lined up the shot, took 5 or 6 shots, and then walked on, and he never changed his pose.

    [​IMG]Checking out the Phone by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    We can argue about whether it's a good shot, and there's a huge amount of subjectivity there, but it's not a decisive moment, because the scene was like this for 5 minutes.
     
  10. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I don't believe there's a decisive moment in this shot,

    [​IMG]Derby Pride 2019 by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    Because there were plenty of shots like that in the 10 minutes I stood watching, I just picked the one I liked best afterwards. It's an action, a moment certainly, but it's not a decisive moment.
     
    RovingMike likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

  12. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I'm not convinced my skateboarder shot earlier is really a DM. It's a decent snapshot of one of his tricks, with a noisy background, taken over the space an 20 minutes while I watched him practising.

    I love this shot, and I think it's a DM, but it was from the hip as I walked past, and I didn't see the kid.

    [​IMG]Is this a kissing book? by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    So it's a stolen shot really, and pure luck.
     
  13. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member



    I wouldn't personally ascribe 'decisive moment' to that. It's a lovely shot, nice juxtaposition, great use of thirds etc., so it's the right 'timing' for that composition but that's not quite enough for me to say decisive moment.



    Again, no in my view.



    I think that one just qualifies, for me.

    Yes I do. And that's an interesting perspective, because that internalises the decisive moment, rather than it being an external source.

    I've got shots which are decisive moments that I didn't know I had at the time I wasn't aiming for. So is the view that for it to be decisive, it's up to the photographer to decide it's the moment they're waiting for.
     
    KelseyRebecca98 likes this.
  14. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I guess HCB would describe @KelseyRebecca98's first shot as decisive, based on his wording here,

    To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.
     
    KelseyRebecca98 likes this.
  15. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Spot on.
     
  16. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I guess, after doing some reading for a change, HCB disagrees, he seems to be suggesting the decisive moment is the entire structure of the image itself, holding some magical quality of 'everything being just right'. I'd personally been viewing it (and partly still do) as the moment that's captured, rather than the collaboration of form, composition and moment.
     
  17. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Your opinion is just as valid as his. I reckon he got carried away with his own legend and started to waffle on as though the whole thing is magic. ;)
     
    EightBitTony likes this.
  18. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    ap smiles amongst the frowns 2.jpg
    Spotted.
     
  19. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    So what you're saying is this post from earlier is null and void, since we can't read your state of mind at that instant? Or are you saying that state of mind has to jump out of the image? I'm confused.

    "The thing is (to me) that an image which is described as a decisive moment shouldn't need the environment or circumstanced explained. For me, it should jump out of the image on its own."
     
  20. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Yes I tend to veer that way too and it is definitely not what HCB meant. It is about the completeness that creates a picture where there was none before. It might be something happening, but it also can be everything coming into a balance.

    So could be this guy's head coming into a synergy with the design, perhaps?

    [​IMG]P5230127 by Mike Longhurst, on Flickr

    Or the balance moment that I felt occurred in this?

    [​IMG]P4140165 by Mike Longhurst, on Flickr
     

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