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.