The Decisive Moment

“The decisive moment, it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

The significance of the moments pictured here is the ability to determine whether that which is in the camera bag is really a camera. The conclusive test is to use the camera to take a photo and see the results on the rear LCD screen. This would be impossible with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Leica. Given the compact size of this rangefinder camera and the explosive materials available at the time, however, the Leica could not have posed a serious danger.

I am starting a collection of photos taken at the request of security personnel when they wish to verify that my camera is capable of taking pictures.

The first one appears in ‘Kedutaan Besar Kabul’ and was taken at the entrance to the street where the Indonesian Embassy is located. The Indonesian Embassy is adjacent to the Indian Embassy which is the real security issue.

Next we have a photo of the guard at the gate of the Kabul Museum. I must say these photos turn out well. They are not candid in the manner of Elliott Erwitt but there is not much time for posing either.

Sometimes the subject just doesn’t want his picture taken. Or maybe he is not yet convinced that this is a camera. The photo below is from a subject more camera shy.

I will be adding to this page when I have additional requests from various security personnel.

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