Reflection on the ‘Decisive moment’

Before I started this course with the OCA I always waited for people to move out of my frame and I would take photographs of views or scenes devoid of people. I would be apologetic at getting in the way of people and even family holidays snaps were mostly of places with little images of family members. Yet the photographs I most enjoy looking at are not scenes or landscapes but photographs of people! I started to experiment with taking images with people in assignment two when I chose crowds, this assignment has taken this one step further and I have really enjoyed concentrating on people watching. The image in which the subject is staring at me is now one of my favourites, I was capturing them lighting their cigarette and was hoping to get the moment they blew out the smoke but instead they spun their head round to glare at me for the intrusion. I feigned taking a photo of something else until they turned back and moved on…Phew! I even was brave enough to attempt to capture someone doing a line of drugs off a shop window, unfortunately I kept moving rather than stand brave so the shot is missed. (Images 357 and 358)

I have grown in confidence when taking the photographs although technically I still have a lot to learn (and remember). There was a number of images that didn’t make my final selection although I really liked them,  I found my observation skills were well and truly exercised. I also appear to have an interest in pigeons, I noticed them popping up in lots of the shots, I could even have a complete set devoted to them.

I should have increased my shutter speed for the skateboarders to get a better shot and one of my images that did make my final selection could have been focused sharper but I was trying to capture the small minute moments and I learnt that sometimes the brain and the trigger button do not align.

Having treated myself to a copy of the Magnum contact sheets I also discovered not to be so hard on myself as many photographers worked a scene to get one perfect shot, not everything they take is perfect, although they still achieved it in a lot less. I think my worry was that I would return home with nothing. I also noticed that I ended up with better images when I stopped looking back on them after each shot, I think it enabled me to stay observant and not lose momentum, I only reviewed them once I was on the train home and I found I really enjoyed the feeling of being presently surprised.




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