29 May, 2014

Gesture

Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane

"The decisive moment." That sentiment will forever be associated with the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson.


HCB is one of the great figures of modern photography. The cover of his book of the same name was done by Henri Matisse. (That's something you don't see every day.)

Don't misunderstand, I've been to HCB shows, I have his books, I love his work. But, I've never come to grips with the idea of THE decisive moment. Not just A decisive moment, but THE moment. 
And, decisive?
decisive (di sī´siv). adj. 1. having the power or quality of determining...
New York photographer, Jay Maisel, talks about the essential elements of a successful photograph as, "Light, Gesture and Color." For Maisel, gesture is, "the thing that gives everything its intrinsic character." That makes more sense to me.

Later in his life, HCB said, "You see, you feel, and the surprised eye responds." That sounds a bit closer to the Maisel view.


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