Assignment 3 the decisive moment ben skipper

This assignment has presented me some a host of interesting tasks, challenges, and research opportunities as well as introducing me to new photographers. By working through the exercises in part three the attention I have given to my photography, be they compositional or post-production, have increased and I have become more considered in my approaches when it has been possible. As Cartier – Bresson rightly stated in “ L’amour tout court” the importance of looking is the key to a successful photograph and this shows in his work, especially the wonderfully observed Thurles , Ireland, 1952. This approach clearly defined most of the work and theoretical approaches that Cartier – Bresson used throughout his career.

I also realise that chance plays as equally an important role in photography as deliberate composition and staging.


Indeed one of Cartier – Bresson’s most celebrated and well-known images, Gare Saint Lazare, was such an image, a chance moment of a man leaping was caught by the lens. Often in the post-processing phase, I notice a small detail that I did not notice during the photographic process. Or moments when fate deals its hand and gives me an image that would be nigh on impossible to replicate through the frozen moment.

As the deceive moment can also be used to capture actions and transmitting these to the viewer as a moment of intense action, or an oasis of tranquillity, I was attracted to the frenetic imagery of Francesca Woodman’s Space2. This particular piece seemed to echo her own feelings and ideas and how they possibly flew around her mind with dizzying effect. Michael Wesley’s long pin-hole exposure work Office of Helmut Friedel, lends its self to that gentler observation, one of the calm space that an art historian would indeed work in. Both photographs have proved to be pivotal in influencing my photo selection.

This was a shot in which I was deliberately waiting to capture the decisive moment of the gun going off. My intention has been to catch the discharge smoke. As it was I was not only able to catch the discharge smoke exiting the upper barrel but also the dark cone of shot as it moves upwards. This adds, for me both drama and authenticity to the photograph.

A photograph that has not only captured the Labrador in mid-air as she jumps a series of obstacles but also captures her pose, with her front paws held together it looks as though she is diving into a pool. This was something I noticed during post-processing, a small detail which lends a visual sense of familiarity insofar as most of us know how to dive, but also seems familiar in this context.

This is the only long exposure shot that I have selected for this assignment; I feel the long exposure express the rapid and chaotic movement of the hounds and their natural instincts during feeding. As a group shot it is a moment which translates far better through long exposure than a more technically precise moment captured in so many hundredths of a second.

Horses are the most challenging of animal subjects to photograph. Not only are they extremely graceful, but exceptionally fast. As opposed to tracking the horse I hopped on the back of a quad bike and followed alongside the horse. The result was to capture the horse in midair as it galloped at around 30 mph. The frozen moment is made all the more beautiful as the horse seems to hang in the air momentarily.

A totally chance moment captured at this year’s Photography Show. I was working for a company taking stills of their stand for their social media feed with the brief to capture staff working. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed one the stand model was framed between the stand visitors and staff. I zoomed on her expression which sits between intrigued and indifferent and was the most relaxed she appeared to be all day. For me, this was the shot of the day.

Nature has so many moments for us to discover. Here the way in which the owl’s wings seem to hang as if the owl is pulling itself forward through the air like a swimmer completing the breaststroke. The owl’s eyes are firmly fixed ahead and its Jesses hang vertically upwards as it has just kicked away from its landing stump with its legs. A moment of power and beauty caught in the blink of a shutter.