A photograph can be a reminder of the halcyon times in our lives, or cherished moments we can relive by viewing our pictures. An image that affects more than just you is a photograph, a perfect moment in time captured that lives on past the photographer, and helps the viewer to see something they haven’t noticed or have seen before.
These photographs show the human condition, the fleeting beauty of a landscape with the perfect light dwindling, the movement of wildlife interacting with nature at the perfect moment, the absurdity of life, the beauty of life, the pain of life, the secrets, but ultimately, they photographs reflect life’s moments in their most perfect, or imperfect form.
To be privy to such moments is similar to when the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you get this tranquil and ambivalent feeling that comes over you. It’s almost like being transformed into a holy cocoon just for a few seconds into a blissful and joyous place many of us try to recreate once we’ve seen, been there, and felt it.
I often like to watch photographers in the field, whether they are shooting in the street, in the wild, or wherever. When I watch Henri Cartier-Bresson in action, I see an observer taking in life and looking everywhere that is normally invisible in our lives as we are focused on the destination. Cartier-Bresson is aware in that moment, however mundane it is, and he brings these moments to life in just a fraction of a second he called the decisive moment.
To me he looks like he’s on an excited treasure hunt to uncover his form of gold — the decisive moment. While watching him, I see someone who is watching life unfold while his feet dance in unison with the moment that positions him perfectly to catch these fleeting moments.
It’s this meditative process that opens more than just your eyes for a photograph. Great/master photographers, or whatever you want to call them, have all entrenched themselves deeply into the creative process. Some photographers define that moment of capture better than others, and Sam Abell, one of my favorite photographers, does this with such eloquence.
“But there is more to a fine photograph than information. We are also seeking to present an image that arouses the curiosity of the viewer or that, best of all, provokes the viewer to think – to ask a question or simply to gaze in thoughtful wonder. We know that photographs inform people. We also know that photographs move people. The photograph that does both is the one we want to see and make. It is the kind of picture that makes you want to pick up your own camera again and go to work.” – Sam Abell
If you’ve never tried sitting, waiting, reflecting, watching, or absorbing a place, I implore you to do so. These moments will help you see more clearly and take better pictures.
I found some quotes that inspired me today, and I hope they will inspire you to find these perfect moments this weekend.“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers
“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” – Walker Evans
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
― Marc Riboud
“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”
― Eudora Welty
“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
― Robert Frank
“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have somone click the shutter.”
― Ansel Adams
“A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.”
― George Bernard Shaw
― Dorothea Lange
“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”
― Edward Weston
“The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.”
― Susan Sontag, On Photography
“I tend to think of the act of photographing, generally speaking, as an adventure. My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”
― Diane Arbus
“Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths.”
― Eddie Adams
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” — Elliott Erwitt
“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” — Man Ray
“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.” — Robert Mapplethorpe“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.” — W. Eugene Smith
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
“You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.” – William Albert Allard