Flying Dog Changes the World
The other day I was in Seattle at Pioneer Square. It is a cool place to relax, watch people and take a few snaps. There is a storefront wedding photography business close by. On a Saturday, I generally see people in wedding garb posing somewhere in the square. I have also see other photographers taking family and portrait shots. It is a decently photogenic location. If you just wait a bit something is bound to happen that makes the perfect random photo. Henri Cartier-Bresson calls these opportunities The Decisive Moment. Bresson lifted a bit of text from the 17th century Cardinal de Retz stating that, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”. He further stated, “Photography is simultaneously and instantaneously the recognition of a fact and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that express and signify that fact”. Good stuff to ponder. I observed this couple playing fetch the stick with their dog repeatedly (thank goodness). I kept snapping to try to catch this speedy guy in mid-air. It took about 10 tries but wallah, I captured that one random or decisive moment that Bresson speaks of.
Next I stumbled across a photographer shooting a model with 20’s garb. I asked what they were doing. They casually stated that they were friends and were out and about taking “fun shots”. She noticed my camera, Leica M4 loaded with film. Since they were having fun I asked if I could take a couple of shots. She said she “approved” because I had a film camera.
These opportunities are all around you. So carry a camera wherever you go. Hang out at the park or somewhere you know that has lots of activity like people walking by, playing fetch with their dog and so on. Keep it simple; an inexpensive digital camera works. You camera phone works too. You do not need anything fancy. Jot down a few things that you would like to capture. Don’t neglect the everyday subjects as everything is everyday if that makes sense. Take the opportunity to learn. Ask other photographers questions and search the web for information. For example, if you have a camera phone, there are free photo apps out there that can be fun to use to enhance your images. Experiment, experiment, and experiment some more! Use different settings on your camera if you have them. Read your manual or research on-line to use creative options. And last, snap, snap, and snap some more you may catch that “decisive moment”.
If you had only one shot left in your camera with an understanding that whatever you snapped a picture of could change the world in the most positive way, what would you take a picture of? Why?