Forum: Theory in Practice
“We are passive onlookers in a world that moves perpetually. Our only moment of creation is that 1/125 of a second when the shutter clicks”.
Henry Cartier-Bresson (1952) Images à la Sauvette. Paris, Verve.
Cartier-Bresson held the fundamental belief that all elements of a photograph come together in a formal peak he referred to as “The Decisive Moment”. The world will pass everyone by perpetually, bit the creativity of a photographer will capture that moment to form the perfect image. The marriage of those elements will include all of the obvious, tangible aspects (light, location, time of day, composition, depth of field, perspective, an appropriate camera and lens), but also the lifetime of baggage carried by the photographer. Life experiences, instinct, anticipation and knowledge play a vital role in creating any decisive moment photograph. With this comes the Gestalt Psychology which Cartier-Bresson rather more handily termed “geometry”; in essence the way our eyes decipher an image: the innate desire for balance and a sense of order. As he puts it, “In photography, visual organization can stem only from a developed instinct”.
The choice of the word ‘creation’ reflects this inference that a photographer has to have experience in order to be effective