I wanted to explore my thoughts on this phrase BEFORE I started to read and research into so that I could compare my views and ideas surrounding it.
(Dictionary.com, viewed 19.01.2017)
A decisive moment therefore is one of decision, deciding the crucial or important moment, displaying little or no hesitation.
In terms of photography and more importantly street photography this seems to relate to the photographer as ‘their’ decisive moment. But what if we were trying to capture a subjects decisive moment? We cannot know what is decisive to them or are we looking for a turning point, similar to decisive moments in history?
If we are looking to capture an image of someone jumping over a puddle for example who is the decisive one? The man could have made the decision to jump moments before and we have merely captured his action, therefore this would be an action shot. Or does the decisive moment belong to the photographer in which it is his decision in that split second moment to press the button? He saw the man and the composition align and did not hesitate.
I believe the decisive moment lies with the photographer, we cannot read minds, we cannot ‘see’ when subjects have made a decision, we can only see the action and consequence.
The decisive moment is pushing the button when the photographer sees that everything is aligned…subject, composition and moment.
This therefore means that the decisive moment could be a variety of subjects, but there needs to be an action or movement. An image of a static object such as an orange would not offer much in terms of a decisive moment, not unless you waited for the moment the fruit started to turn. Street photography is an obvious choice as subjects are full of action and choosing areas for composition could provide an interesting image. But landscapes can offer a decisive moment, the moment when the sun sets, shadows fall or the clouds change for example.