Setting, scene and situation
If most Cartier-Bresson’s photographs bear the unmistakable signature of what he coined as being the “decisive moment” it is because of his ability to be at the right vantage point, at the right time, to frame the decisive moment of a situation … under the right light!
Such was my situation in the coffee shop setting and scene shown in the feature image, while sitting across from the lady looking to the side and in the co-presence of two clients, when it was all brought together visually by late afternoon winter sun rays, coming through clearstory windows, and without which the image would not “work.”
It was like THIS!
Deep in conversation, these two friends seem to have been taken by whatever one of them was gesturing about while the other placed her hand on her cheek, in intense listening and/or disbelief!
That scene, embodying a narrative moment, took place at the end of the row of tables where I was seated, against a brick wall where a window frame signaled a vertical connection to the row of ceiling mounted light fixtures, in turn leading the eye back to a bright exterior window, all together establishing the depth of the image.
The narrative and visual structure aspects of the image merged, almost unconsciously on my part, as the two friends where placed not only at the center of the image but also at the mid-point of its depth, without which the image would not work.
Here comes the light
Sometimes the city will unusually present itself, visually, due to light conditions that will last just a few seconds.
The contrast of a dark cloudy sky and the low setting sun lighting up the top of a building, seen through an opening between two dark and finely detailed bare trees, created such conditions.
The image above shows the way nature can create a visually momentous situation and how the alignment of street pattern with my front window and nearby work desk can provide the vantage point from which to seize the moment … et voilà!
And may 2020 be one of light for all at members of the community — writers, artists, poets, readers, creators — at Cultural Weekly and Next Echo Foundation!
Credit all photographs to Maurice Amiel