The Decisive Moment   1 comment

Henri Carti-Bresson has always been an inspiration to me. His iconic image “Behind-the-Gare-Saint-Lazare-1932”, shown here, is the quintessential example of the decisive moment. The moment when light hits film and epitomizes the peak of the scene observed in front of the photographer in the frame of his camera.

I have written in the past that I tend to be less technical and deliberate on compositional rules than I am for instance on tone and color. I am  inspired by Carti-Bresson when it comes to the moment in time that best represents what I see and feel and am keenly aware of the very moment when I press the shutter release and what is happening in time and space in front of the lens.

Walking by …

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

As I was setting up this image, in the corner of my eye, I observed the man about to enter the frame. Walking briskly in shadow and without notice of me on his right across the street, I clicked one frame. There are a few things compositionally wrong with this image, yet it resonates with me. I wish I had framed it better to include the bottom of his leading foot for example. This particular image is a visual juggle for me. The shadows falling on the facade of the building juxtaposed with the silhouette of the walking man.

Finally, I am left wondering who was this guy, where was he going and where is he now. The photography of strangers always leaves me with these questions. The image is all that is left to document a moment when our paths crossed, and he will forever be a stranger to me.


One response to “The Decisive Moment

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  1. this is a great post and so true! great photos!!!

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