If one looks at the works of the great street photographers like Cartier-Bresson it is clear that they were masters at analysing a scene and understanding how the components fit together. Many of Cartier-Bresson’s work clearly show how he waited until the actors completed the scene. Whether it is the iconic man jumping a puddle or the child looking at a picture whilst a sculpture of a woman looks over her shoulder at the child the same shows: careful planning and waiting for the completion. Then it was capture time. This is of course what Cartier-Bresson means by his decisive moment.
Is this easy to do, I think not.
For instance one has to find the scene which with todays much busier street is clearly more difficult. However I have seen photographs where in the most crowded street superb moments have been captured.
Occasionally one can stumble across a scene that is already complete and tells a story. It is then just up to the photographer to be ready and competent with the camera controls to capture the scene before it changes. Then there are the scenes where there is plenty of time such as this one.
However for shots like this one:
The scene was there with the very photographed water wall at the NGV in Melbourne it was just wait for the players to do the thing that worked for me. In this case I waited until the daughters curiosity enticed the mother while the father deep in conversation looked on.
This shot captures for me all that family dynamics are about. Care and support, the father more removed but still watching and enjoying not only his conversation but the delicate beauty of the mother-child interaction. For me this was a decisive moment.
Now don’t get me wrong I know that I am no where near the calibre of Cartier-Bresson and his peers. However occasionally we mere mortals can find scenes where we to can have our decisive moments. Just keep looking for them.