The "decisive moment" is a philosophy about photography popularized by Henri Cartier-Bresson and I might have mentioned him before as someone I admire. His work influences my own. By that I mean, he didn't suck and I try very hard not to suck.
I'm not inclined towards a lot of introspection. Sometimes the mood hits me, you know?
I believe a photograph can capture a decisive moment, but in my own thoughts about what I'm looking for when I snap a picture, I keep in mind what a photograph might represent at some point in the future as well as what it says right now.
I keep a lot of pictures that are just marginal (technically speaking). Sometimes I see the potential in a photograph even if I don't capture that decisive moment.
The thrill of capturing a moment (any moment) and giving it life beyond its' existence is something that drives me as a photographer.
We live through countless moments in the course of our lives. Most of them are lost to us as anything more than memories and recollections.
Photography changes that.
I've seen how a photograph changes over time. A picture, even a marginal one, gains importance as it becomes the only physical record of a specific moment in time.
When memories fade and no other records exist of a given moment, then I believe (and I've seen this) that any photograph becomes the "decisive moment".
So, yeah, I missed the shot on Thursday when Phil Spector walked past me. I was at the top of the walkway where the media lines up and he was walking towards the court building with his entourage. As he came up the ramp, I was snapping a few shots and I'd lowered the camera to keep an eye on my surroundings. I looked back towards Spector.
He was looking up at me.
We made eye contact for a moment. It was an unnaturally long moment and I swung my camera up, but it was too late. He lowered his head and walked past.
It was pretty odd how long he stared up at me. I expected him to turn away as soon as we made eye contact.
The next day, I positioned myself at the same spot with the hope that he might do a repeat. Sometimes it happens.
Not this time.
It's okay. I got a few shots and I'm thankful for that. Just remember, it's always better to capture the best image possible. I may have missed a "decisive moment" (for me) in the coverage of the Phil Spector trial, but I can be patient. If I wait long enough, then one of these will become the "money" shot.
In the meantime, I'll just keep trying not to suck.