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The Psychology of the "Decisive Moment" I dedicate this article to the memory of Richard Zakia, whose support and insights made it possible.
This research was funded by a grant from Rider University.
In Henri Cartier-Bresson, a founder of modern photojournalism, proposed one of the most fascinating and highly debated concepts in the history of photography: Some people believe that the unique purpose of photography, as compared to other visual arts, is to capture this fleeting, quintessential, and holistic instant in the flow of life.
For this reason, many photographers often mention the decisive moment, or similar ideas about capturing the essence of a transitory moment, when they describe their work.
Although Cartier-Bresson introduced this idea and is often viewed as the master of the DM, other photographers after him have expanded, revised, and challenged his concept, resulting in considerable complexity about what exactly the DM is. As a scholar specializing in the psychological study of photography and images, I find all of their ideas fascinating.
I see embedded in their discussions important ideas in psychology that have not been fully explored and articulated — some of those ideas being elements of classic psychology, while others coming from cutting-edge psychological theories. As a reference point for my exploration of this elusive DM, I periodically will refer to quotes from Cartier-Bresson.
Regardless of their questionable veracity as true quotes, they all fall within the voice of what Cartier-Bresson might have said. In this article I will also frequently refer to his famous photograph that some have called The Puddle, which was taken in a construction area behind the Gare St.
Lazare train station in Paris. Many photographers consider it the quintessential DM photo.
Before beginning an in depth exploration of the DM, let me first briefly summarize my conclusions about what it entails. For those readers who want a quick thumbnail overview, I offer this list below.
The visual as well as psychological anticipation of completion and closure, which often surfaces as a visual gap, interval, or suspension of some kind. The capture of a unique, fleeting, and meaningful moment, ideally one involving movement and action. A precisely timed, unrepeatable, one-chance shot.
An unobtrusive, candid, photorealistic image of people in real life situations. A dynamic interplay of objective fact with subjective interpretation that arouses meaning and emotion about the human condition.
The DM photo as a product of a unique set of technical, cognitive, and emotional skills developed from extensive training and experience in photography, as well as from a psychological knowledge of people.
Photographing, for me, is instant drawing, and the secret is to forget you are carrying a camera. Manufactured or staged photography does not concern me.The decisive moment and psychology, no less than camera position are the principal factors in the making of a good portrait.
It seems to me it would be pretty difficult to be a portrait photographer for customers who order and pay since, apart from a Maecenas or two, they want to be flattered, and the result is no longer real.
The decisive moment here could have happened on the day the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the congressional district map in January, DECISIVE Defined for English Language Learners decisive.
adjective. Definition of decisive for English Language Learners: able to. The Decisive Moment, Bresson. You Searched For: while its English title defined the notion of the famous peak in which all elements in the photographic frame accumulate to form the perfect image--not the moment of the height of the action, necessarily, but the formal, visual peak.
It comes with an additional booklet containing an essay. Sep 29, · Dick Simon of Simon & Schuster came up with the English title The Decisive Moment. Margot Shore, Magnum's Paris bureau chief, did the English translation of Cartier-Bresson's French preface.
"Photography is not like painting," Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in Status: Resolved. Henri Cartier-Bresson (French: [kaʁtje bʁɛsɔ̃]; August 22, – August 3, ) was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography, and an early user of 35 mm film.
He pioneered the genre of street photography, and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment.. Cartier-Bresson was one of the founding members of Magnum Photos in Sep 16, · Okay, well the question is pretty straight forward.
Write a short story where your central character is forced to make an important decision. I write ALL the time, and I've been going through some SERIOUS writer's block (And having the flu doesn't help much either, hehe).Status: Resolved.