If you are familiar with the history of street photography you will be well aware of the concept, introduced by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, of capturing ‘the decisive moment’.
Basically, it is the process of observing a scenario and being prepared or even pre-empting when to take the photo in order to capture the moment that best tells the story of what is taking place. Or as Cartier-Bresson puts it:
“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. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
But what if there’s more than one decisive moment within a given scenario? Is that being indecisive?
Often when I am on the street my subjects are normally moving quite quickly and as such I tend to use a short burst of 3-4 frames to make sure I capture them. Most of the time there are just subtle detail differences but generally it’s the same image. Sometimes within a short sequence, such as the series featured here, I find each image to have an individual feeling even though they were taken fractions of a second apart.
Within this series I was drawn to different aspects in each of the photos. I quite like the drop details and the weight of the umbrella within the frame in the first image above. I am happy I was able to capture the moment the subject turned his head towards the light in the second image below and I’m most pleased with the overall composition of the final image with the added interest of the motion of the jacket.
By no means would I ever compare myself to Henri Cartier-Bresson but I often find myself observing and trying to pre-empt how a scenario will play out in order to try and capture the most important moment but on the rare occasion there are a number I’m quite happy with. All thanks to the help of auto focus and burst mode of course!
Let me know what you think!
Settings for all images:
Canon 5D Mkiii and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens.
200mm 1/125sec f2.8 ISO3200