“Photography is not like painting. 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.” -Henri Cartier Bresson
I was standing on the fourth floor of the High Museum of Art when this moment unfolded. I had one eye on my son in a neighboring room, one eye on my daughter a few steps away. I was fiddling with my scarf, with my braids, fiddling with the contents of my purse, fiddling with my camera. My mind was in a dozen different places but when I looked up, I saw it. The painting, the woman on the bench, the light in between. It was, by very definition, a decisive moment. If I’d hesitated at all, I would have missed it.
Instead, I reached for my SX-70, looked through the viewfinder, adjusted the focus. Steadied my hands and hit that little red button. Two seconds later, the woman walked away. The space filled with people, the light shifted. The whole scene evaporated. The only proof of its existence, this photograph. It doesn’t happen like that for me very often but when it does, it’s a thrill. Which is why I am always sharpening my brain, training my eyes to see this way, to seek out these moments, these fractions of seconds, whether I have my camera with me or not.
What decisive moments have you captured lately? Please do share a few with us today.
(The image above was shot with a polaroid sx-70 using Impossible Project PX 600 Silver Shade UV+ film)