The decisive moment
Submit six to eight prints on the theme of ‘the decisive moment’.
I decided for this assignment I would do it all in one day –visiting London, and I would limit the final selection to six prints so it had to be very tight. I thought that this should be a fairly straightforward exercise with lots of things happening in London. This however turned out not to be the case as I found myself questioning why each shot was a defining moment. I had not done the Cartier-Bresson article before this so if I was to redo again I think I would have a different take on how I tackled it. I have also since watched the BBC series ‘The Worlds’ Most Photographed’ which shows many different photographers’ famous shots taken in a unique moment.
The six I decided upon were:
1) Start of the journey
I felt this shot gave a context to the day with simple perspective leading the eye to the subject. The display board above confirms that the low light is morning and not dusk. It also tells us where the journey is to. In reflection I would not have included this shot next time or would have tried to make the shot more dynamic with blurring of the train.
Two shots not used. The decisive moment was crossing the road. Whilst the theme has potential work would need to be done on this.
2) Finding something
This second shot I liked because of the bland background and the out of focus triangle cutting off the bottom third. It is quite clear that someone has stopped to look at something. I think it makes you want to think further and want to question what he is doing. Just like Cartier-Bresson I think the geometrical shapes help out with the composition and story.
Shots not used because I felt they were not as strong as the others I used.
3) Photographing the Photographer
It is quite clear what is happening but also quite time dated because today it is the usual way for most people to take photographs on their iphone or smartphone but within months this technology will change and so this will date it in history. The tree behind forms a pleasing arch around the subject. The concentration on the face for that moment whilst trying to capture the photographer is just like any photographer would display. Next time I would have cropped the bottom part at the waistline to avoid the distraction of the lighter jeans.
4) Viewing previous ‘Decisive Moments’1
I think this is probably my favourite shot. The composition is simple, tells a story and then invites you to think about what the story within the story is. It is clear that a previous photographer Syd Shelton in his photograph of Lewisham road in 1977 1 at the Tate Britain Exhibition has captured a particularly decisive moment.
More unused photos
Different takes on shot used with door shut.
5) No more
That moment has passed when anyone can board the train. I felt this was a strong image because there is still a small gap to see inside the carriage. Everyone in there is just waiting to go. The action is framed in the centre and signs and arrows add extra detail without distracting. The next time this happens there will be different people inside and out and everything will be very different.
6) Fire Trumpet
The entertainer has a novel act blowing fire out of his trumpet. The ‘Decisive moment’ is when the fire actually comes out. As the previous shot shows this is not constant. The onlookers appreciate his art but are missing the ‘bigger picture’ on the back wall with Shakespeare looking down on the entertainer’s stage. I should have considered the right hand side and cropped off the T and market behind.
Other unused photos.
1 Shelton, S. (2017) New Cross Road, Lewisham, London, 13th August 1977, 1977, printed 2012 (photograph). Stan Firm Inna Inglan: Black Diaspora in London, 1960s- 70. London: Tate Britain. 2016-2017.
I found this quite a demanding unit to cover but in the process learnt a considerable amount. I particularly think that I now understand the direction I should be going and how to interpret better the work of photographers and their work. I am hoping this will be reflected in future work.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills.
I think my work is progressing and I am starting to consider more such as context and composition. There are several areas I can improve on and I think this will improve as I now spend much more time thinking and planning each exercise.
Quality of outcome
I believe this is continuing to improve and feel that I am progressing. This project I have moved over to using Matt finish with Borders and larger prints.
Demonstration of Creativity
I am now trying to take more risks and look for more of a story within the picture. The Cartier-Bresson lesson taught me quite a bit in this regard.
I have found reflection quite a difficult thing to grasp. Hopefully this is something that is developing.