52 Projects week 8: The Decisive Moment

Here we are in week 8 of following the projects in the book 52 Assignments: Street Photography by Brian Lloyd Duckett.

Our assignment this time was a broader brief than usual – capture a ‘decisive moment’. No specification of technical details, number of shots, or anything really, other than to find the ‘perfect’ moment that captured the essence of the scene. That can involve setting up a shot and pre-visualising what it needs to ‘complete’ it, or it can involve rapidly noticing the world around you and being in a position to quickly and efficiently document what’s happening.

For me, it was a little of both approaches. There were several (like the wolf on the wall, and the bike rider in the lane way) where I was just waiting for the ‘right’ element to enter the frame. And then there were others, where I was lucky to be in a position to respond quickly (most notably the rubbish truck and the wedding party!).

I suspect the brief was left quite open here as this can be a challenging technique to master. It requires you to know your camera so well that there is absolutely no conscious thought required to operate it. It requires you to be familiar enough with your surroundings to know where there are ‘frames’ just waiting to be completed. And it requires you to be able to pre-visualise a shot, and then know if you’ve achieved it or not.

For me, it felt a little like riding a bike. Although it’s been at least two years since I’ve been regularly well enough to actually get out and shoot street, and the year before that we were prohibited from just wandering the city with a camera in hand (for perfectly valid public health reasons I might add), I have spent probably days or weeks in total wandering this city doing exactly this. So it was familiar, comfortable, and rather a lot like coming home. I loved it.

52 Projects week 8: The Decisive Moment