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Topic ClosedPhotographic Assignments Index & discussion

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2008 at 14:31
Originally posted by pauljg pauljg wrote:

I did not say or imply that the rule was not fair and stated clearly that I will try again in assignment #6. I only said that it is not clear: the use of the expression of current assignment suggests that after doing #x, which is the current assignment, the next one is still #(x+1).

Nope, brettania used the term "next choice", i.e. after completing your current assig you can take anyone you like. Unfortunately the only you can like at the moment (until we come up with more assigs) is #7
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2008 at 17:57
First of all I would like to start by thanking to all the folks involved in running Dyxum. I am very sincere in this regard as I know it is hard work and requires alot of time to run such a forum. You are helping other people to learn and develop and I believe that is very noble.

As I have mentioned in my very first post on this web site, (which happens to be on the assignment # 1 thread) i am a beginner to photography and in particular to DSLR. I believe I am at the right place as mentioned at the learning thread of this web site.

"Photographic Assignments"
"A series of advanced and challenging photography tasks that are designed to make you develop your photography skills on the way to complete them. If you are feeling comfortable with your equipment, but willing to develop your artistic side, this is the place for you."

Before proceeding with # 6, I think, it is rather necessary for me to point out what I understand from this assignment and for moderators to correct me if I am wrong, so that I can come up with better takes.

In this assignment we are to capture a Decisive Moment

Which is defined on the very first post of this thread as ;

+ quote +
- the ultimate subject of a 'decisive moment' photo is not an object, its a happening, a motion, a change, an evolution. (of course those happen to objects or by their interaction). From now on, all these verbs will be referred with just 'evolution'.
- of such an evolution, there may be a single moment that can describe the progress of evolution perfectly. The constant image of that moment may be able to deliver the feelings of the entire event to the viewer.
+ unquote +

So basically we will capture a movement, an action a happening which will convey the feelings of the moment, hence the decisive moment.

HCB is given as a master of the Decisive Moment, in his style of photography.

As far as I have read originally the idea of decisive moment is attributed to Cardinal de Retz, and HCB in a philosophical sense applied this to HIS STYLE of photograhpy.

According to Cardinal de Retz, "There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment" (Il n'y a rien dans ce monde qui n'ait un moment decisif)

While applying Decisive Moment to his style of photography HCB especially emphasized the aspect of composition ... he said, photography, is in an instant, in a fraction of the second to recognize the fact (the moment) and to compose photograph to visually express and convey the moment. (As you can see my French is not good at all but I think that is what is meant by his below quote, would appreciate help from French speaking friends)

("Photographier: c'est dans un meme instant et en une fraction de seconde reconnaître un fait et l'organisation rigoureuse de formes perçues visuellement qui expriment et signifient ce fait.")

Frankly, it seems it is too much to ask from a beginner but anyway lets continue,


Now in application for this assignment (and in layman's terms) we will

Capture the moment and will come up with a very good composition (hence, Rosie's "wow" factor I guess)

Here are my questions

01. Do we agree that anything can have a decisive moment ? or does it have to be street photography, in other words, we are not asked to try to copy a certain style of photography, but we will take the Decisive moment and apply it to our own style of photography, Right ?

02. The Decisive Moment is the moment to the photographer as pointed out by Jagged's post in this thread (on page 6)

+ Quote +
Posted: April 02 2008 at 11:02
Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I suspect that HCB (and the critics) deliberately used vague and ambiguous terminology when talking about the 'decisive moment', in order to add an aura of mystery to his photography.

To my mind, the 'decisiveness' lies not in the fact that the moment captured is the one point in time where the outcome of a particular event becomes inevitable, but more in the decisiveness of the photographer in releasing the shutter at the moment when all the elements of the scene come together to make a composition which is both aesthetically pleasing and portrays the event that is unfolding.

So it is the 'moment where a good decision was made' rather than the 'moment that decided the outcome'. I think this interpretation puts more emphasis on the skill of the photographer at choosing the right time to shoot an event, rather than being lucky enough to capture an unplanned event just as it was about to unfold.

But of course, this is just my opinion, and I am not the judge of this assignment!
+ unquote+

and agreed by Mipr on his post right after Jagged's post

+ quote +
Posted: April 02 2008 at 12:07
Thank you jagged. That's an interesting point of view and valuable addition to the discussion. And, after checking the meaning of the word "decisive" in the dictionary for the n-th time, I have to agree with you.
+ Unquote +

I will appreciate if moderators will take time to help me with above questions as it will yield in my understanding the objective of the assignment better, hence come up with at least a better compositon .

Sorry for the long post, but it is important for me to understand this correctly.


Cheers / ASE
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2008 at 22:57
The picture I post here is not meant as an entry for assignment#6 because it is not eligible anyway: in the first place it is not taken with an A-mount camera but with a Leica IIIf with a Leitz Elmar 50mm 1:3.5. Secondly it is not taken specifically for this assignment but long ago, in 1955, when internet was not yet even dreamt of!

But I remembered, during the discussions on "The Decisive Moment" a number of comments which were then made about this picture and I hope the moderators will not remove this before at least some of them (in particular Rosie, mipr and brettania) have looked at it and given their comments:



Of course my main question is: what would be the decision if this were a legitimate entry for assignment#6
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 00:03
Paul, how is this decisive? Can you please tell me your reasons as to why you think it would pass (just to get an idea of where you are coming from...) - thanks
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 00:08
I get no feeling that there is any decisive moment in the shot -- it would not pass IMHO.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 09:22
The comments I got in 1955 were that this picture was taken just at the right moment (decisive moment was not used yet) to have the man in the foreground in about the same posture as the man pulling the horse-wagon and having them in the right position and lighting as well. That gave me the idea that it could be acceptable, but of course I was not sure and therefore I asked for your opinion. The answers will help me in choosing a "real" decisive moment picture for the assignment.

Anyway thanks for your prompt replies!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 09:48
Originally posted by pauljg pauljg wrote:

Anyway thanks for your prompt replies!

Hey! Wait for me!

Originally posted by pauljg pauljg wrote:

The comments I got in 1955 were that this picture was taken just at the right moment (decisive moment was not used yet) to have the man in the foreground in about the same posture as the man pulling the horse-wagon and having them in the right position and lighting as well. That gave me the idea that it could be acceptable, but of course I was not sure and therefore I asked for your opinion. The answers will help me in choosing a "real" decisive moment picture for the assignment.

And I agree with the comments you received then. For me it would be the "decisive moment" - a juxtaposition of various (maybe more: disparate) elements that suddenly appear to form a new quality. Something that is fascinating, unusual. Something that leaves you (maybe the word would be a bit too strong) dumbstruck. And something that disappears after a second or a minute. I think that all of us had something like this a few times at least.

Going back to your shot: I can see this man waiting for something, walking around - a few steps back and forth. Finally he takes the pose as on your shot. And I can see myself on the other side of the road thinking "Wow! That's damn good scene - must have it on my film".

In some sense that's similar to a scene I seen some time ago: a bench on a river's bank. A girl (well, a woman) sitting on it in completely relaxed pose, smoking cigarette, catching rays of the morning spring sun on her face. Fantastic. That's pity I was too shy to take a shot

BTW, here's my shot (not taken for this assignment so not eligible) for which I got a nice comment not later than yesterday:



And the comment was short and simple: "a decisive moment picture" Now, would you agree with that?



Edited by mipr - 21 May 2008 at 09:51
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 11:32
Hi mipr: I do agree with you and with the comment on this fine picture.

Your story of the girl (woman) sitting on the bench reminded me of a picture by Cartier Bresson which I have photographed from the book : Henri Cartier Bresson, The man, the image & the world and show here:



Your ideas agree with mine and that was the reason I submitted the original picture of the two girls in the assignment #6 but clearly that idea is not shared by everyone and I'll try to find an opportunity of making a picture that is acceptable.

Thanks for your prompt reply
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 11:39
Originally posted by mipr mipr wrote:


BTW, here's my shot (not taken for this assignment so not eligible) for which I got a nice comment not later than yesterday:



And the comment was short and simple: "a decisive moment picture" Now, would you agree with that?



It's a really lovely shot, but I still struggle to see what's decisive about it (apart from that it looks like something HCB might have taken!). It doesn't look like the girl is going anywhere any time soon, nothing's 'happening' in the shot, and you would have had plenty of time to compose it as you liked. So how is it any more decisive or momentary than any other well-composed, well-executed shot?

The same applies to the woman-on-a-bench shot pauljg posted, though I don't know if that is claimed to be a decisive moment.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 11:55
The woman on a bench shot is a picture made by Henri Cartier Bresson which I copied from the book by photographing instead of scanning and is of course not claimed by me to be a decisive moment shot, but many people say (or think) that all pictures by HCB fall into that category.

I only posted this in connection with mipr's ideas in his post.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 12:21
This is a fascinating discussion.

It seems to me that Brettania's verdict on Paul's 'Guinness' shot is based on the fact that it doesn't actually illustrate a decisive moment. On the other hand mipr's verdict is based on the fact that it was taken at the decisive moment -- and this seems to be how Paul sees it too.

Waiting for the decisive moment to take a shot probably meant more in 1955 than it does now. Paul was using film in a camera that had to be wound on physically. So even if he did shoot several frames, they would have been more widely spaced in time than they would now and choosing exactly right moment to press the shutter in these circumstances would have been more crucial than it is perhaps in these days of digital and high speed drive.

Just my fourpence-worth.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 12:25
The problem about what moment can be called "decisive" has been discussed extensively and this quote gives a good summary:
+ Quote +
Posted: April 02 2008 at 11:02
Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I suspect that HCB (and the critics) deliberately used vague and ambiguous terminology when talking about the 'decisive moment', in order to add an aura of mystery to his photography.

To my mind, the 'decisiveness' lies not in the fact that the moment captured is the one point in time where the outcome of a particular event becomes inevitable, but more in the decisiveness of the photographer in releasing the shutter at the moment when all the elements of the scene come together to make a composition which is both aesthetically pleasing and portrays the event that is unfolding.

So it is the 'moment where a good decision was made' rather than the 'moment that decided the outcome'. I think this interpretation puts more emphasis on the skill of the photographer at choosing the right time to shoot an event, rather than being lucky enough to capture an unplanned event just as it was about to unfold.

But of course, this is just my opinion, and I am not the judge of this assignment!
+ unquote+
and I agree with this opinion.

The problem with this (and with the similar view of mipr as given some posts earlier:
+ quote +
And I agree with the comments you received then. For me it would be the "decisive moment" - a juxtaposition of various (maybe more: disparate) elements that suddenly appear to form a new quality. Something that is fascinating, unusual. Something that leaves you (maybe the word would be a bit too strong) dumbstruck. And something that disappears after a second or a minute. I think that all of us had something like this a few times at least.

Going back to your shot: I can see this man waiting for something, walking around - a few steps back and forth. Finally he takes the pose as on your shot. And I can see myself on the other side of the road thinking "Wow! That's damn good scene - must have it on my film".
+ unquote +
is that then the decision should be taken by the photographer and that is clearly not the purpose of an assignment!

So it depends a lot on the opinion of the "judge" and different "judges" can well come to different conclusions, just as the one who called mipr's picture "a decisive moment shot" differs with you.

So what is really the problem is that in cases of technique (rule of thirds, perspective, high key, etc.) there are more or less clear and objective criteria. However, in the consideration of the picture being taking is itself a decisive moment or if the picture depicts a decisive moment, there is clearly a large subjective component.

Now of course that is true in many cases, also in all sorts of sports,
and therefore there is someone called an arbiter, umpire, referee or moderator (in Dyxum) who takes a decision and the players have to abide by that decision. Even if they don't agree with that decision they still have to accept the decision and abide by it, that's the rule of the game! If one doesn't agree she (or he) can try to convince the moderator (or whatever she or he is called) but the last word remains with the "judge".

Of course I hope that the moderators take decisions which are clear and well-reasoned and which are acceptable for the majority of us. I have no doubt that they have done so in the past and will do so again in the future.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2008 at 12:32
@Mark L: after I posted the previous long post I saw your post and as we say in Holland: you've hit the nail on the head (and even if it's perhaps not an English expression you'll understand what it means).

In fact it underlines my conclusion: there must be fair and honest judges and they have the last word!

Just some short, final remarks:

The fairness means that how the judgment is done is known beforehand to the participants (e.g. is the first or the second criterion used).

Also too evident a subjective criterion (like a WOW-factor) is not allowed as how WOW something is differs too much between different people.

In my opinion pictures taken with the camera set at autorepeat (3 or more frames per second) are not allowed because then there is no decision of the photographer and it is indeed just luck when one of these pictures depicts a decisive moment (such as a photo-finish of some match).

Finally the participant must not only give the photographic data but also why she or he thinks the picture could possibly be accepted.


Edited by pauljg - 21 May 2008 at 14:11
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 August 2008 at 19:59
Have the Photographic Assignments been discontinued?
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