23 June, 2007

The Moment's Decision

I’ve spoken before about how I like “street photography” and capturing the “decisive moment.” First used by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the decisive moment is exactly what it sounds like, a moment in time where we are at the precipice of action. This is the moment that can occur in an instant and in that same instant be gone, so it is the trick of capturing it that makes street photography part art, part skill, and part luck. Sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time and others it’s about patience, and looking for people or places that will create the moment much later on. The prime example is children, and I apologize for sounding quite despicable, but just watch children play on the playground. Untroubled by the world around them, they embrace the here and now and do what they do.

The example I came across was a promotion for Cirque du Soleil down in Denver. Theatre Mama was promoting the opening of Corteo and unleashed the Angels in Action. Throughout the day, these angels had fun, made noise, and quite simply, enjoyed their job. From playing leapfrog in the streets to swinging from poles, they got people to look. Each of the following images was completely unposed. I simply watched them, and at times waited for them, do what they had to. Sure, a couple asked me if I wanted them to do anything in particular, but I said “no.” Street photography is photojournalism: completely unrehearsed and uncontrollable…to an extent. Instead of creating the composition, the street photographer has to look for the composition to present itself. Color, shape, pose, lighting, is all done in reaction to the moment. The trick to being a good street photographer is to find all of this.

I hadn’t done street photography in quite a while and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. This is one direction I would like to take my photography. I’ve done a fair amount with my involvement with Kiwanis and Circle K International, but one can always do more. The street is always there and people will always be out there.

PS: If you happen to know any of the angels, let me know. I’d like to share my images with them as well as all of you.

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