Notes on decisive moment

1.”The decisive moment is the coming together  of pictorial elements into telling a visual anecdote.”

“One characteristic of perception of Bresson is the notion that the photograph is the perception of an individual who has a characteristic way of looking at and understanding the world.”

“Who is watching who and what are the motives behind the watching?

Enoch, Robert (2014) Talk about documentary photography available at:

2.H.C Bresson photographs talk about identity and it’s loss, about life and it’s loss

“There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” HCBresson .

“The fraction of time that won’t come again.”

3.The anticipation is at base of decisive moment.

That is to say, in practice, street photography is not a game of recognition; it is one of anticipation.

Antonyms for anticipation : astonishment, surprise.

Anticipation means expectation, prediction that something will happen. In contrast surprise means unexpected fact.

Now the question is if I shoot someone that looks surprised and I anticipated the moment he will be surprised but didn’t know how he will react, is this a decisive moment?



In doing so, Sam Taylor Wood, the viewer can close the circle of the 360° view and the architectural space becomes a coherent, static décor. In closing the view the image seems frozen in time and is appealing to the viewer as a snapshot. Sam Taylor-Wood’s images are perceived as a continuous narrative.

Vanvolsem, Maarten (2005) Hinting at an experience of time in still photography

So taken from notes above I opposed continuous narrative to frozen or decisive moment because it is so similar to film, it is a kind of sculpture in time rather than a thin slice of time. I will explore the concept in the assignment, but this is the main idea I will go with. It is a potentially rich subject because it touches the differences between film and photography.


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