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Author Topic: Yeah Cartier-Bresson couldn't crop for........a member's comment  (Read 56347 times)
RSL
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« Reply #120 on: December 25, 2012, 02:56:58 PM »
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That's what it's come to mean, Rob, but it's not what HCB meant. I agree that the converted meaning is more meaningful. Remember, though, that the book that became "The Decisive Moment" in the U.S., started out, as Kaven said, as "Images la Sauvette," in other words (more or less) "Images on the run." Nothing terribly decisive about that.
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LKaven
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« Reply #121 on: December 25, 2012, 05:29:17 PM »
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That becomes a pretty wide time-scale then; perhaps moment isn't the correct word at all. I always believed it to mean the moment when the action in front of the camera had reached its natural climax, its moment of truth, as it were. The photographer can sustain that feeling (if it really means his) of commitment for hours on end if he's happy with what he's doing, as a good model shoot will show: many good shots at the right 'moment' of which some will always be that tiny bit better than the rest. If it's truly meant to suggest the shooter's period of maximum receptivity, then it hardly has any currency at all and might be best forgotten.

There was some historical precedent for the use of 'decisive moment' in the sense of a 'turning point' in an event, and so the phrase itself is laden with that history.  Attempts to do exegesis on Images a la Sauvette yield limited understanding, and you see this reflected in the secondary literature.  But this is understandable, since HC-B was not a philosopher, but an artist with philosophical ideas.  He exemplified his philosophy better than he could write of it. 

I do think that "moment" or "instant" is essential to making the point.  There is a moment, perhaps the time when signals are just dispatched from the brain to the motor neurons in the finger, where the photographer becomes committed to the undertaking.  Depending upon the action being undertaken, all due knowledge is brought to bear leading into that moment, and this in turn supplies the content and explanatory context for the act.

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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #122 on: December 26, 2012, 04:58:55 PM »
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Henri Cartier-Bresson to The Washington Post ,1957. "Photography is not like painting- there is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative."  further on... "The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."
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Rob C
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« Reply #123 on: December 27, 2012, 03:59:26 AM »
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Henri Cartier-Bresson to The Washington Post ,1957. "Photography is not like painting- there is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative."  further on... "The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."




Thank you Patricia, I think you've confirmed my own understanding of the legitimate application of the term, at least, insofar as we apply it to the works of HC-B. I've not heard it applied specifically to the work of other shooters in the sense that it has been called their modus operandi or anything like that, despite that it's recognition has been the key to many PJ success stories; certainly it's applied to the world of business, if only in the sense of getting to see the right person at the right time. Truthfully, I guess it could apply to all aspects of life, far beyond just business; meeting the right mate, for example, the greates decisive moment ever experienced. Or not.

Rob C
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LKaven
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« Reply #124 on: December 27, 2012, 01:19:43 PM »
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Truthfully, I guess it could apply to all aspects of life...

Hi Rob.  In contemporary semantics, this moment could be considered the crux of our theories about mind, agency, and meaning -- especially as it involves an agent's /purpose/ in doing something.  It goes from the "momentous" to the most mundane, whether one is photographing a moment of global significance, or typing the letter "e".

In photographic terms, the moment of commitment is the moment in which the purpose of your doing so becomes fixed.  This in turn invokes all of the explanatory apparatus (in contemporary semantics) which looks backwards to the causes leading up to that instant. 

Of course, merely snapping away randomly -- literally randomly -- involves the same semantic apparatus.  Your pictures are in a special sense "about that", although they may acquire a social meaning of greater significance subsequently.  So in a sense HC-B is talking about experience par excellence in a certain combination of personal and social significance.  But the deeper issues of agency and mind he points to are true of the mundane as well.
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Corvus
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« Reply #125 on: January 27, 2013, 12:38:56 AM »
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"Henri Cartier Bresson refused to crop insisting that this lends authenticity"

In a word - humbug
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Rob C
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« Reply #126 on: January 27, 2013, 04:11:32 AM »
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"Henri Cartier Bresson refused to crop insisting that this lends authenticity"

In a word - humbug



Humbug? No, I don't think so. More, I think he was ahead of his time in understanding the harm that an art director's cropping can do your own great piece of art! That a cropped image may suit the client's purpose isn't the point: the point is your personal evaluation of your own work in any specific shot. These are very often different things, especially if your pic wasn't shot to a layout or even a commission. Bad presentation/usage of one's stock images somewhere can be painful.

Rob C
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Corvus
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« Reply #127 on: January 27, 2013, 01:43:43 PM »
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"Henri Cartier Bresson refused to crop insisting that this lends authenticity"

This is a categorical statement without qualification and as such it's humbug.

Any further editing of any sort, cropping or otherwise, by a third party with or without the consent of the photographer is irrelevant to this statement.
Clearly the statement was not referring to such editing but rather to his basic view as to what does and does not make a good final image.

Assuming I understand this correctly my opinion is that the statement is over the top humbug whoever made it.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 01:49:33 PM by Corvus » Logged
LKaven
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« Reply #128 on: January 27, 2013, 02:07:03 PM »
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But you skipped over 7 pages of discourse.
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RSL
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« Reply #129 on: January 27, 2013, 03:40:36 PM »
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Henri composed in the Leica's viewfinder. Remember, Cartier-Bresson was a painter before he was a photographer. He'd learned composition in his painting sessions with Andre Lhote, who, reportedly, was a real nitpicker, and he'd internalized the lessons. That 's something any photographer needs to achieve if he hopes to do original work, but that few do. Anybody who thinks that half-baked composition in the vewfinder can be corrected in post-processing doesn't really understand his craft.
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Rob C
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« Reply #130 on: January 28, 2013, 04:09:37 AM »
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Henri composed in the Leica's viewfinder. Remember, Cartier-Bresson was a painter before he was a photographer. He'd learned composition in his painting sessions with Andre Lhote, who, reportedly, was a real nitpicker, and he'd internalized the lessons. That 's something any photographer needs to achieve if he hopes to do original work, but that few do. Anybody who thinks that half-baked composition in the vewfinder can be corrected in post-processing doesn't really understand his craft.



But Russ, that's become the norm in some quarters. It's also one of the best reasons for starting your photography using the 2:3 ratio and on 135 film format: you learn the importance of real estate and how not to waste it. In short, you pay for your mistakes. And as a result, you learn the important things quickly. Making a cock-up on digi costs nothing; you can crop, stretch do any number of tricks later on, but all you really do is try to cover up your errors. Not really the same thing as learning.

But that was always the great thing about learning with film, and looking at a jpeg on a monitor isn't the challenge of facing a print on the wall or on the client's desk.

Rob C

« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 04:11:58 AM by Rob C » Logged

opgr
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« Reply #131 on: January 28, 2013, 04:15:42 AM »
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but all you really do is try to cover up your errors. Not really the same thing as learning.

On the contrary, a good teacher would understand that you're half way there if you actually know what the errors are...
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« Reply #132 on: January 28, 2013, 04:45:08 AM »
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Photographing at any consciously chosen time, place or FOV is in my view dishonest. Why should I try to embed my own preconcieved view of the world (or what is interesting, pretty or important about it in my images?) Why should I use my viewfinder and feet (or, perish the thought, my zoom lense) to include or exclude certain elements in my scene?  As a consequence, I shall try to airdrop my camera at some place chosen at random with a 180 degree fish-eye, with a random timer that will shoot an image at some point in time. I shall frame this image, now matter how it looks on my wall as a token of my artistic integrity.

-h
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 04:46:56 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
Tony Jay
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« Reply #133 on: January 28, 2013, 05:03:38 AM »
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...Anybody who thinks that half-baked composition in the vewfinder can be corrected in post-processing doesn't really understand his craft...
Rob is only half correct in his assertion.
Occasionally it is possible to fix a composition with cropping and other measures, but apart from cropping many of the measures are more trouble, and time, than they are worth.
In fact, if you can't compose in camera everything becomes hard work after that.
Even of you plan to crop upfront before shooting close attention to detail is required.
Same goes for exposure.
GIGO.

Tony Jay
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stamper
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« Reply #134 on: January 28, 2013, 05:07:57 AM »
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Russ & Rob are obviously good, respected photographers who have contributed a lot to this forum. However I feel it is their Achilles heel in contribution terms when they keep posting their ideas on cropping. Ideas that most photographers ignore and produce outstanding images. I have just bought the Canon Sx50 after reading Michael's review and I discover it has 5 choices of aspect ratio. These obviously change the FOV and crop pixels. This is cropping imo. Which one should I choose if I want to slavishly follow Henri's advice?
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stamper
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« Reply #135 on: January 28, 2013, 05:14:58 AM »
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Quote Rob.

But Russ, that's become the norm in some quarters. It's also one of the best reasons for starting your photography using the 2:3 ratio and on 135 film format: you learn the importance of real estate and how not to waste it.

Unquote.

If I was to use that ratio on the Sx50 the images would be 11mb instead of 12mb. I think most photographers nowadays start with a small compact camera so the advice though well meaning is limited? Smiley
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Rob C
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« Reply #136 on: January 28, 2013, 08:51:26 AM »
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Stamper,

My reasons for suggesting one crops in-camera are simple: it focusses the photographer's own mind/vision prior to going 'click!', a process that can become blindingly fast with practice, and also, importantly, teaches him to make the best of the available real estate at his disposal. All that film or film format has to do with it is that learning with a small format teaches the value of not wasting space, and if you use film, the cost makes you concentrate more than does a card, which once you've bought it, is essentially a no pain no gain option.

But as I seem to remember, you grew up with film, so why do I feel any need to tell you what you must already know?

;-)

Rob C
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LKaven
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« Reply #137 on: January 28, 2013, 09:55:16 AM »
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I have just bought the Canon Sx50 after reading Michael's review and I discover it has 5 choices of aspect ratio. These obviously change the FOV and crop pixels. This is cropping imo. Which one should I choose if I want to slavishly follow Henri's advice?

What the viewfinder gives you is not a crop; it's a frame.  And what HC-B wrote of I wouldn't call advice.  It was an attempt to characterize the act of taking a photograph and the special nature of the moment in which a photographer commits to the act. 

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Isaac
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« Reply #138 on: January 28, 2013, 09:58:55 AM »
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I shall try to airdrop my camera at some place chosen at random with a 180 degree fish-eye, with a random timer that will shoot an image at some point in time. I shall frame this image, now matter how it looks on my wall as a token of my artistic integrity.

Camera Toss HowTo
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 10:03:03 AM by Isaac » Logged
stamper
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« Reply #139 on: January 29, 2013, 03:35:39 AM »
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Quote Rob.

But as I seem to remember, you grew up with film, so why do I feel any need to tell you what you must already know?

Unquote

Not me! I started out in digital nearly 13 years ago. I did buy a second hand manual film camera once. Loaded it with a B&W film and took some shots with it. The film jammed when trying to take it out of the camera and I haven't touched it since. Any ways the subject of framing and cropping isn't different between digital and film. I like to think I am more flexible in my approach and crop when I think an image can benefit from it. Sometimes to get everything in horizontally you have to include extra pixels vertically and vice versa. Hence a crop. Smiley
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