The Moment of Decision – The Decisive Moment

In Henri-Cartier Bresson’s motto, ‘decisive’ is the overlooked word.
Such photography is the visualisation of a human decision. One moment moulded by all the preceding moments, and which, by the way life works, will contribute to all other decisions taken by the individual. This idea of historic necessity was gaining prevelance alongside the photographic developments which could illustrate it. One may even have influenced the other.
The decision to photograph any particular moment is conditioned by every other preceding moment, and will in turn condition the rest of the life of the photographer. The image therefore represents both the past and future of the photographer, as well as the environment which is the overriding influence.
By depicting the environment in the process of the decision, the photographer’s decision influences the environment by direct cause and effect – especially in an image-dominated Information Age. Just as the theoretical butterfly in the Amazon causes the typhoon in China.
This would help explain the essentially political nature of the Magnum generation. As endorsed by their insistence on retaining presentational control of their images, especially the stricture on cropping.


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