Street Photography — Finding That Decisive Moment
It is every photographer’s dream to capture unique decisive moments in their works, but it is difficult because such moments are rare and so many things have to be put together perfectly in just a split of a second. In this story, let’s talk about how do we find and capture those decisive moments.
In Photography, especially Street Photography, the ability to find and capture decisive moments is the key to success. It is undeniably true that capturing such moments has a lot to do with luck (i.e. appearing in the right place at the right time with the right equipment, etc.), especially for beginners; however, luck is only one of the variables in the success formula. In this story, I would like to talk about what is a decisive moment in the context of photography, share a few things I do to find and capture such moments on the streets (which are not luck-dependent), and how you can start your own journey in hunting for such unique and valuable moments.
What is a Decisive Moment in Photography?
As the legendary Henri Cartier-Bresson puts it, a Decisive Moment occurs when ‘the visual and psychological elements of people in a real life scene spontaneously and briefly come together’. My interpretation of Bresson’s definition is that such a moment is ephemeral and non-repeatable, cannot be planned or orchestrated, and requires the presence of people doing what they do in real life. To add my own perspective to the definition, I would like to further explicate that such a moment has the ability to connect viewers back to the photographed scene and subjects at the emotional level. In another word, viewers can feel what the photographer or the subjects of the photo were feeling at the moment of the shutter click. In my opinion, this emotional connection is what makes a Decisive Moment so unique and valuable, because it transcends the limitation of time and space by ‘placing’ the viewers right back into the scene (think of it as a time…