The Decisive Moment By Henri Cartier-Bresson

If you’ve spent even a small amount of time researching Street Photography you’ll have come across the name Henri Cartier-Bresson at least a few times.  Cartier-Bresson is known as the father of photojournalism and Street Photographers study his work as if he were Picasso or Monet.  Personally, I love his work…  it’s reminiscent of a time when Street Photography was more about capturing a moment and telling a story, or letting the viewer imagine their own story, rather than shoving a camera into an unsuspecting strangers face like a spaz.

There are no new ideas in the world, only new arrangement of things.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

As you’ve probably already guessed this website was named after the famous concept of the Decisive Moment, possibly Cartier-Bresson’s most recognizable concept (many have heard and understand the concept but may not know who developed it… Pun intended).

The video above is something I would recommend watching before the next time you venture out into the streets with your camera, it’s a rare glimpse into the thought process of one of the greats.  Henri walks you through a number of his famous images all the while giving advice on how to see the world.  Watching this video may be the best 18+ minutes you spend all day.

As you’re watching this video I think it’s important to realize that the Decisive Moment isn’t just one single moment.  Many of Cartier-Bresson’s most famous images were selected out of a series of photos he took.  You can actually see the contact sheets he marked in the book Magnum Contact Sheets*.

*Contact sheets were pages where the undeveloped frames of film would be located, usually of all the frames taken on a specific roll of film. Photographers would then mark up the frames and choose which ones they’d like to use, the marking would sometimes give interesting insight into each photographers thought process.

Who has been influential to your photography style?  Have you taken the time to study the greats?  It’s important to study the work of others to avoid trying to “reinvent the wheel”.