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Monthly Masters DiscussionMonthly Masters' Discussion: June 2017 - Cartier-Bresson and The Decisive Moment

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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Re: Monthly Masters' Discussion: Cartier-Bresson and The Decisive Moment - Share Your Thoughts

Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:47 pm

Steve, I have to disagree with you, taking the girl out of the image makes it a no longer a Henri Cartier-Bresson image!
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Post by minniev » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:32 pm

Since I started this, it's only fair to thank you for participating, and to offer my own response, which is not based on any expertise but more on my own thoughts. To me, the running girl is the key, the pivot point from which all the energy of the image flows. Without her, the image is an interesting study in shadow and line, and tonalities. With her, the image is about movement through the shadows and lines, through the geometry of the scene. Even the slight off kilter leftward tilt of the image and the worn and darkened center-line of the twisted stairs makes it seem like the whole thing is in her tow, as if she's pulling the composition behind her as she runs.

I never considered whether the photographer had dispatched her to run up those stairs but it's possible. But I can also imagine that if he did, she relished her job and did it with zeal. A couple of years ago I took my then 5 year old grandson to Alberts, and one of the places we visited was the Athabasca glacier. He had never seen snow, much less a mountain made of ice, and was in awe of it, sticking close beside me. I told him I wanted to take his picture on the ice, and to go play and have fun. The camera gave him permission somehow, and off he went, ice skating in his tennis shoes, doing jumps and whirls. He did it because the camera needed him to, but he forgot completely about the camera in the joy of his mission.

Yes, I would be love to have this one on my walls. It is probably my favorite of Cartier-Bresson's images (yeah, I get to pick!)

There is a moment that we anticipate, when photographing most anything, that we think will get the magic we seek - whether shooting birds, or sports, or landscapes, or people. Sometimes we're right, sometimes not. It may be based on interaction between two elements, on light, on movement, or on geometry (admittedly one of my favorites). It's easier to define in those shots that have action or interaction. Here's one where rightly or wrongly, I watched the canoe from the time he put in, until the point where he got here - between the two sets of shadows smack in the middle of the lower third, following no rule. I took a few before and after, but knew long before I saw them on a computer screen that this would be my favorite.
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Post by LindaShorey » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:10 pm

minniev wrote:... but knew long before I saw them on a computer screen that this would be my favorite.
The grandeur of nature with that perfect additional element that adds so much impact. Glad you added your thoughts about Henri, also, Minnie - you write so eloquently!
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Eloquent, both words and picture. (OK)
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(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

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Post by St3v3M » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:31 am

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer wrote:Steve, I have to disagree with you, taking the girl out of the image makes it a no longer a Henri Cartier-Bresson image!

I very much agree! S-
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Post by St3v3M » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:34 am

minniev wrote:...
There is a moment that we anticipate, when photographing most anything, that we think will get the magic we seek - whether shooting birds, or sports, or landscapes, or people. Sometimes we're right, sometimes not. It may be based on interaction between two elements, on light, on movement, or on geometry (admittedly one of my favorites). It's easier to define in those shots that have action or interaction. Here's one where rightly or wrongly, I watched the canoe from the time he put in, until the point where he got here - between the two sets of shadows smack in the middle of the lower third, following no rule. I took a few before and after, but knew long before I saw them on a computer screen that this would be my favorite.

I read once it's good to have people in your landscapes to show size and perspective, but I think it's more than that, it adds a sense of belonging.

Thank you so much for this and for starting this series! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by uuglypher » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:23 pm

Decisive moments?
No two alike!

Snow Leopard:

It was a dim, overcast late winter day shortly after some sleet had fallen and then passed. ( great day for zoo photography! Except for the snow leopard exhibit.) The outdoor enclosure is completely roofed. She was reclining in the dark rear against the back wall when my 5-year old grandaughter, Ja'Ayden, sauntered in front of the cage. The leopard slowly stood and stalked....absolutely stalked ...foreward a few slow, crouched paces before she noticed me getting in position directly in line with her long axis and behind Ja'Ayden, who, having been " stalked" in zoos before, was asking me why she was looking at me. The leopard advanced a bit closer into the light bouncing off the wet ground in front of the cage keeping track of Ja'ayden as well as of me with camera on monopod. She lowered her head directly at jayden...raised her gaze...and that's what I captured

XXXXXXXXXX

Abandoned Church "And Still They Attend"
Sometimes the decisive moment is an instantaneous decision...as was the snow leopard portrait; sometimes it appears to be an imminent, predictable instant that one can prepare for and be ready at the moment to capture...as was this:

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"After the Sandstorm"
Under other circumstances one hopes an important scene will emerge and that you'll be ready...as in this case. A sandstorm had literally driven me out of that region of Monument valley, Utah, but, while diving North out of the storm (that car, now owned by my son, still bears the effects of sandblast) I had been keeping the scene monitored in my rear-view mirror. At the moment when there seemed to be a bit of clearing that began to reveal the landforms, I pulled over, set up the tripod and began making exposures, confident with each one that there was SOMETHING in there that could be
accentuated in pp. The air, dust, clouds, Jacob's ladders, sun, and sky patches were changing, appearing, obscuring, re-resolving at an amazing rate over the no-more-than 15 or 20 minutes that I monitored the scene..Somewhere near the mid-70s (of exposures) I had the sense that I ought set a long burst, or simply shoot as fast as possible. ...and in the mid-eighty exposures ....Bingo! ... and the scene quality was dissolving before my eyes and lens...and It took a bit longer to stop my almost reflexive rapidly repetitive release of the shutter! This was frame 84 in that series.

XXXXXXXXXXX

"Mama's baby Hungry?"
A momma tree swallow feeding a fledged youngster on a telephone wire. The moment pictured lasts but a hemi-semi-demi-quavering micro-second. My old Sony Alpha350 had a "burst" rate of only 3.5 frames/second and this was caught by the 184th frame...wuddnyknow...the last


Decisive moments?
No two alike !

Dave
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Post by uuglypher » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:28 pm

to be added as fourth image mentioned.
Dave
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Post by minniev » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:42 pm

uuglypher wrote:to be added as fourth image mentioned.
Dave

All very nice examples of how the decisive moment can be applied to just about any genre of photography or any subject, We see if so often referenced in terms of street photography, but the moment the sun peeps over a frosty horizon, or a rainbow reaches it maximum brilliance or a heron offers his mate just the right stick - all are equally as decisive as that fellow who jumped over the puddle..
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Post by LindaShorey » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:13 pm

Dave, I enjoyed your stories about the photos as much as the images - very well written for the point of the thread. Minnie, your mention of moment the sun peeps over the horizon...ain't that the truth! Split-second timing needed. I also discovered that when shooting moonset, when the moon is close to the horizon you can watch it sinking FAST in real time. Awesome!
"What's important in a photograph and what isn't." http://photographylife.com/whats-import ... -what-isnt

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