There are a few Decisive Moment scenarios. One is when your working and something starts to happen. There is no set rule on Inspiring the Decisive Moment. This can happen in many ways and that in itself will create some type of masked confusion or a cloudy Decisive Moment. The normal DM kinda happens a dn you make the exposure because you were so inspired by internal or external stimuli or a combination of each. This is mostly a conscious experience.
The hopefully there in an experience that seems like all the rest of the DM’s but……something happens at exposure or at processing that marks a real moment. There is a dormant awakening that comes to light usually at sight of the image in editing or processing. With this image, wakes the recollection of the the Decisive Moment but….there is an awareness of the experience as an observer and participant at the same time. It’s like your seeing yourself, watching yourself making the photo. Maybe this is like the deja vu of photography. It doesn’t happen all the time and not everyone gets to experience this. Not because they are at a level that prohibits the awareness but because they are not tuned into the frequency that this experience lives.
“The best images are the ones we don’t remember making.” Perhaps there is some truth to this saying. At my age, 67, I have learned that there are not many truths in life. Even the ones we tend to hold dear sometimes end up with shades of gray to them. What’s clear to me is that clarity is the resting place for the eye, heart and mind. We don’t often achieve clarity so we make photos. When we make photos we have an intent. Our intent is controlled by our knowledge and passion and our gear. Yes, the camera is a crucial element to our work.
There in most definitely a difference between the Moment and The Decisive Moment.
When I was a grunt in Nam, I carried a Leica M4. I made b&w photos. I met a photographer from Australia named Jock. He was older then me and very wise but tuned into the moment. I didn’t know that that meant back then. I suppose he was a Mentor for me and I needed the mental and emotional reinforcement. We were all sitting around smoking weed and Jock was with us and making photos. He said to me, “JIngles, where’s your camera?” I looked at him and he nodded his head. I reached in my sack and got my M4. I had made many photos of the guys and missions, everything. But now, at this moment, I had a realization that was life effecting. I understood for the efirst time the difference between the MOMENT and the MEMORY.
I understood the INTENT of each. I understood the importance of each as an individual intent and combined. The moment or decisive moment will lead to photos that add to the creative juices. The moment will lead to photos that inspire you, or maybe fill a void in the self, or even satisfy the artistic energy or maybe do the same for a client. Just realize that your most important client is you.
The memory. Wow this is the hard one. It’s the hardest intent to actually realize and do. Back to the guys and Jock in Nam. I was making photos because the subject matter is amazing. Everything was working. I was hammering the decisive moment. Then a slight calm came over me. All the sudden, the decisive moment wasn’t so important. I looked at the guys and slowly made photos of most of them. Not one but many of each. I was totally aware that I wanted to, NO….Needed to make a lasting memory of my friends, my brothers in arms and the experience. I got close to a few and asked them to look into my lens. I made many exposures. I wanted to make a portrait or photo that would outlive them and me. This intent of so fragile of a moment was MEMORY.
So realizing the difference of the Decisive Moment and the Moment of Memory is the driving force and also the force that will make or break you and your work. All you have to do is know the difference and practice it.
Be blessed everyone………Doc is letting me out of my room for the weekend……..seeya