NYThroughTheLens: The Decisive Moment

Vivienne Gucwa

Washington Square, Greenwich Village, New York City

"The decisive moment" is a defining phrase associated with Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern photojournalism. It is a phrase that has influenced countless photographers over the years and sparked endless debate and theory.

When I first started taking photos of New York City, I knew very little about the history of photography. The movement of the city's inhabitants and its constantly evolving backdrop was a never-ending source of fascination. The camera felt like a jar with which I could collect moments that were fleeting and ephemeral like fireflies.

There is an adrenaline rush that occurs with street photography. In a split second, a scene presents itself, as if it were a staging area.

The eyes sweep over and frame the scene. Every element seems to come together at once: trees with their winter-bare branches hang over the street, a line of yellow taxi cabs waits at a nearby traffic light, the sidewalk glistens in the rain, distant figures cross the street in the distance. All at once, the perfect figure enters the scene with a red bag and a red patterned umbrella that pierces through the winter gloom.

As my finger presses the shutter button, it's as if the world has also stopped for a fraction of a second. Just long enough for the moment to be quickly captured and preserved for eternity.

Camera: Sony A55
Lens:  50mm f/1.8

Check out more of Vivienne's work at her blog, NYThroughTheLens.



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