Saturday Night Slide Show

Dedicated to the Art of Photography

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Feeling vs. Seeing (The Decisive Moment)

A number of times over the years we’ve discussed our ‘street’ images at SNSS, and how the first image, the reactive one, is almost always the best … images after that, when we’ve started instead to see and think about the scene before pressing the shutter, almost always feels stilted, and these ‘secondary’ images almost always fall apart compared to the first one. 

Being capable photographers one should be able to safely conclude that given adequate time to install both technical and visual discipline into the picture prior to pressing the shutter that the image should improve greatly.  Yet the opposite is almost always true.  We’ve concluded that the difference is ‘feeling’ the image, rather than ‘seeing’ it.  Reacting to an instinctual feeling, rather than seeing it and over analyzing the scene.

Many photographers over the years have discussed this topic at great length … Henri Cartier-Bresson summed it up by calling it ‘the decisive moment’ … a phrase used by almost every photographer since to describe feeling an image before seeing it.

Evelyn Glennie, a profoundly deaf percussionist musician, talks about this same phenomenon within music; it is well worth the time to view this half-hour video …‘How to Truly Listen’ …