29 April 2008


I had a discussion recently with a local artist about the decisive moment. This artist is a huge fan of Bresson and in his opinion my photos were lacking because they did not contain what Bresson’s photographs contained. To him that meant some specific event occurring spontaneously and the camera freezing time and motion to capture the observed event. Photographs without an event that depict only still objects could never portray the ‘moment.’ I argued that possibly my pictures of things and places could encapsulate a moment because of the feeling created by light, shadow, textures, composition and expectancy of what might occur just before or just after the shutter release.

After thinking and reading about this subject I’ve decided I agree with my friend. I believe there needs to be an event captured by the camera at a precise instant, however mundane, however simple to create a moment. Still pictures can display a feeling or mood or emotion but probably not a decisive moment except in the mind of the photographer because they know the story and circumstances and events surrounding the time of the exposure.

The photo above is an example of this…I was taking a picture of the fence because I liked the textures and light. But when I had the picture developed I noticed the woman’s head in the doorway, watching me, wondering why this crazy woman was perched outside her fence. This photo became a moment… Now that’s not to say I will no longer enjoy taking pictures of still objects and places, but like Beatriz, I think it is the unplanned, unexpected, lucky moments that present themselves unannounced that motivate me most as a photographer.


urbano said...

Very interesting to read your views Rhonda. It´s great to have an open and free discussion about various aspects on the art of photography.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

GC said...

what a fantastic moment...!

Anonymous said...

It is not about outside...it is about inside, the event should be inside....!!!If a shadow create an event inside then click....and others will click with you....


chris said...

Intresting thoughts Rhonda, a decisive moment, I reckon it is all about motion and time. Capturing objects that you know are moving or changing with time, it gives that particular impression of the stoppage of time. And thus creates a decisive moment.

It all comes down to our perception of time, I think.

If you lived for a billion of years, you perhaps should reckon changes in the landscape, erosion, If you then took photographs You could make decisive moment photographs of forming rocks, changing landscapes.

On the other hand if you just lived for a single second, many of things around us that we understand as moving or changing, would be practically still.

So your still life photographs are really decisive moments to, but perhaps in a longer timescale...

That is a comforting thought, isn't it?