The Decisive Moment The readings (Week 11 Photography in Print, 1920–1980, Rosen
The Decisive Moment The readings (Week 11 Photography in Print, 1920–1980, Rosenblum 462 – 502) and lecture have described French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s idea of the “decisive moment.” In his book of photographs, The Decisive Moment (1952), Cartier-Bresson wrote that “Photographier: c’est dans un même instant et en une fraction de seconde reconnaître un fait et l’organisation rigoureuse de formes perçues visuellement qui expriment et signifient ce fait” (“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”). Have a read through this article in which a number of contemporary photographers discuss how they captured a decisive moment: attached and at . As you can see, people have different interpretations of what a decisive moment is and how to capture it. For your short writing assignment you will compare two photographs in 800-1000 words. The first is Cartier-Bresson’s iconic 1932 photograph Place de l’Europe, Paris (Rosenblum image 619). The second is a photograph that you think captures a decisive moment. You can choose a photograph from Rosenblum's A World History of Photography, find one elsewhere, or take one yourself. For each image you must: first describe, in detail, the formal qualities of the image that lead to the feeling of a decisive moment or “a moment stopped in time.” next, reflect on context. How does the visual appearance of each photograph capture the significance of the event it depicts? no need for additional research beyond the Washington post piece and Rosenblum, but sources used should be cited in Chicago Manual of Style (

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