Showing posts with label Henri Cartier-Bresson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Henri Cartier-Bresson. Show all posts

Saturday, April 17, 2010

CREATIVITY - The Decisive Moment

Creativity, its source and those who wrote about it have been one of my hot topics this year.  Creativity is always important, but I have been trying to synthesize the writings of those who most inspired me in the hopes of really putting the concepts into action and by extension, becoming a better photographer.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is without a doubt, one of my earliest influences.  Cartier-Bresson was famous for the concept of “the decisive moment  "Photography is not like painting," Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. "There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."  (

I especially like this quote:
"My contact sheets may be compared to the way you drive a nail in a plank," he said. "First you give several light taps to build up a rhythm and align the nail with the wood. Then, much more quickly, and with as few strokes as possible, you hit the nail forcefully on the head and drive it in."

I took the photo above using the same philosophy.  After 10 minutes of stalking and shooting the school of Plotosis catfish in Sulawesi, Indonesia, this scene revealed itself with perfect alignment.

... For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which - in visual terms - questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give a meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photos with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.  

... To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeting reality.

... "It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."   

...It is putting ones head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis.

...It is a way of life.

 You can purchase the book here.

See another of my images that used his "Decisive Moment" concept.  It is the one with the two cats and the red door frame.  A variation on the above theme of the build up, there was ONLY time for one shot before the bottom cat moved. Shot in Padova, Italy.