The Decisive Moment

April 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The title of this entry comes from the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of street photography and an early user of 35mm format cameras.  "The Decisive Moment" descriptor was derived from his ability to capture expressions, emotions and actions at precisely the opportune instant, not an easy task with a 1930s vintage 35mm Leica that lacked metering, autofocusing and automatic film advancing.  Given those conditions, he had to read a scene and anticipate the shot.  Photographers still do that today, but with digital cameras that can record five, ten, or more frames per second, focused and properly metered.

One of Cartier-Bresson's images, that of a man leaping across a puddle, came to mind recently as we were parked near a Starbuck's during a downpour, and customers were braving the rain the get their caffeine.  Most were not prepared for the wet gauntlet.  From my vantage point it was easy enough to anticipate people's movements and capture their actions, so the following images (except one) parody all of us dashing about in the rain.


Hardly footwear for heavy rain:

Slightly better shoes, faster runner:

Boots, yes, but not the right ones:

Finally, the exception.  The tiny umbrella and big hair!  I think the "do" was a French twist that goes back a few decades. There were more images in this sequence, but the parasol and the "do" were the story.  

Sometimes, we humans are fun to watch, as Cartier-Bresson must have noted.



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