Decisive moment – Final submission


Final layout Decisive Moment cropped

I began my research for this assignment looking at the work of Elliott Erwitt and his sequence images, I really wanted to capture this however luck plays a huge part in what I consider to be the decisive moment. To get one decisive image there needed to be an element of luck but to hit upon a sequence ‘before’ it began I soon found out would need much more luck as well as experience in this field.

The decisive moment to me is a fleeting second where subject, composition and the photographer align to capture an image of a brief moment. I decided that street photography would give me the opportunity to explore the decisive moment. I brainstormed locations in London that may offer more interesting backgrounds and diversity. I initially kept moving around and focused myself on being observant to everything around me. I then found that actually loitering and waiting helped me to concentrate further on the images and I found myself getting braver at taking photographs closer to the subjects.

I set my camera to a shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/200 in shutter priority mode and also set my camera to take two continuous shots as that meant that I was able to concentrate on watching what was happening around me so that I could respond quickly.

  1. 1/250 sec at F/6.3, ISO 400, 62mm.


Apart from how glamorous this old lady is at a Saturday morning market the motorbike behind appears to be on a collision course with her, if only she could move quicker with her walking stick. Although she is slightly centred to the image my eyes are drawn between her and the cyclists helmet.

2. 1/250 sec at F/9, ISO400, 48mm.


In this moment my subject has connected directly with me as the photographer, the split second in which she turned to look has now included me in the image. I also like the strength of colour, I  find myself questioning this persons gender and I am drawn directly to the staring eyes and the bright red lips.

3. 1/250 sec at F/4.8, ISO450, 52mm.


I waited for the moment that a passer-by connected in some way with the mirror without looking into it directly. You would expect the man in the mirror to be the head at the forefront of the image but he is not, however he almost appears to be looking at this person that we cannot see.

4. 1/250 sec at F/5, ISO500, 75mm.


In this image I have captured the look of the passer-by in the rear of the image, is he looking at what the man is doing on the phone or is the man in front taking a picture of the man behind? The way the man in the fronts hand almost cups his eye interested me although I wish he had been sharper in the image. The golden ratio also works in this image.

5. 1/250 sec at F/5.3. ISO560, 80mm.


The moment two elements appeared in front of me, the bride to be dressed in trashy clothing with the sex doll crossing the road in front of the rubbish truck. Apart from this moment being fleeting there is an element of comic humour which appealed to me. It also fits well with the rule of thirds / golden ratio. Her friends orange trainers are mirrored by the Biffa logo and lights.

6. 1/250 sec at F/4.2, ISO800, 40mm.


Again the comic humour of this image amused me, the girl is perfectly placed under the signage of the shop behind. Could she be sending a selfie? ‘I am bold and beautiful’ or is she oblivious? merely passing by and not noticing that she too could be bold and beautiful?

7. 1/250 sec at F/6, ISO720, 185mm.


This old man grabbed for his tissue and I thought that the fountain and him blowing his nose might not collide, but in a fraction of a second it did. His runny nose now has a running fountain onto him, again the humour of the brief moment amused me and it also fits well compositionally.

8. 1/200 sec at F/5, ISO1000, 75mm.


Not such an obvious moment, but here I noticed how the pigeons were mimicking the people behind , from the lone pigeon walking away to the two appearing to  be whispering closely almost about to kiss. The bonus that I hadn’t spotted initially was the ladies boots which also mimic the Pigeon’s wings / tails.


I found my process of setting my shutter speed and setting two continuous bursts effective in capturing decisive moments, there were moments that I unfortunately missed but I found I had a selection to choose from. I did take a lot of images for this assignment so in future I would like to try to be more decisive myself but I was trying to get the ‘before’ image as well as the moment so I found I was shooting potential scenes as well as scenes themselves.

Overall I am pleased with the images I have captured for this assignment, I did experiment with putting the images into black and white to make them more cohesive as a set .I was aware that some images appeared greyer due to the paving and colour of the person’s clothing and some were more colourful however following peer feedback I have kept the images in colour.

The images all capture a fleeting moment that would not present itself if I had taken the image a minute later, their compositions all work well therefore I feel that they have communicated the ‘decisive moment’. I like the variety of the images, I chose not to stick to a theme as I wanted to learn to be more open and receptive to what was around me, I found myself observing a variety of elements such as people, lighting, shadows, street signs and even pigeons to get to this final set.