But, possibly not decisive

Magnus L Andersson

So many people have had so many opinions about “the decisive moment” and concepts like “street photography”, but here we present some of those moments we feel we where at the right place at the right time.

Wikipedia defines “street photography” as “conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. Although there is a difference between street and candid photography, it is usually subtle with most street photography being candid in nature and some candid photography being classifiable as street photography. Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Though people usually feature directly, street photography might be absent of people and can be of an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic”

The term “the decisive moment” (DM) was coined by Cartier-Bresson in 1952, and in attempt to define it John Suler outlined the following characteristics of a perfect DM:

  1. A sophisticated composition in which the visual coalescence of the photographed scene capitalizes on the principles of Gestalt psychology to create a “prägnanz” atmosphere of balance, harmony, simplicity, and unity.
  2. A sophisticated background to the subject that interacts both visually and psychologically with the subject in a synergistically meaningful figure/ground relationship.
  3. The visual as well as psychological anticipation of completion and closure, which often surfaces as a visual gap, interval, or suspension of some kind.
  4. An element of ambiguity, uncertainty, and even contradiction that rouses the viewer’s curiosity about the meaning or outcome of the scene depicted.
  5. The capture of a unique, fleeting, and meaningful moment, ideally one involving movement and action.
  6. A precisely timed, unrepeatable, one-chance shot.
  7. An unobtrusive, candid, photo-realistic image of people in real life situations.
  8. A dynamic interplay of objective fact with subjective interpretation that arouses meaning and emotion about the human condition.
  9. The overarching context of a productive photography session – or “good hour” – that starts with tension, then culminates in a personal and artistic realization that is the DM image.
  10. The DM photo as a product of a unique set of technical, cognitive, and emotional skills developed from extensive training and experience in photography, as well as from a psychological knowledge of people.


We learn by observing



If you like our work, you are more than welcome to follow us at Instagram or have a look at Fotosidan (Swedish site for photographers) or LFI (international site for mainly images captured by Leica equipment). You are also welcome to contact us at for questions about our work, and to share links to this post.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This