Some might say it all started with a photograph made in 1932 as a photographer aimed his 35-millimeter camera through a fence. A man jumped across a puddle while the light, form, and timing perfectly came together in perfect harmony with one click of his shutter. That was it. It was Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment,” a term poetically coined as the moment when the photographic stars align for a photographer pressing their shutter.
This, by no means, was the birth of photography. This term, however, arguably changed the course of photography. Cartier-Bresson’s photographic eye set a standard that required the bare minimum of camera equipment and immortalized fleeting moments to mere fractions of a second. Without knowing it, we’ve been learning from Cartier-Bresson through every moment we chose to photograph as our own decisive moments.
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way to master the decisive moment outside of practice, practice, practice as my photography professors (and David LaBelle, author of The Great Picture Hunt 2) instructed and to study photography of all genres to develop your visual intellect. Learn from everything around you to help yourself decide what you think the decisive moment might be in everyday life.
I’m impressed every time I curate an edit for the Your Shot community, from the eye of photographers’ from around the world and the decisive moments they immortalize. I deeply appreciate their creativity and talent they share with us every day.