EYV Assignment 3 ‘The Decisive Moment’ Written Analysis


I found this a difficult concept but I enjoyed the thinking process and the debate.  I had a number of ideas for this assignment and have documented them in more detail in my post: EYV Assignment 3 ‘The Decisive Moment’ First Thoughts  which demonstrates a significant leap for me in terms of creativity, experiment and imagination.

Briefly however: I initially considered street photography but rejected this idea because of my concern about my spending a lot of time unproductively, and my fear of disrespectful images. I then considered challenging the genre by experimenting with long exposures and double exposure to capture movement rather than a fragment of time.

I eventually decided on a consideration of the decisive moment in landscape. I felt that the decisive moment in landscape came from the light on a particular subject drawing attention to it, or exaggerating the colour or shapes of an object. I felt it was that moment that made you look twice at things that otherwise might seem ordinary.

Finally, inspired by Francesca Woodman, I decided that I wanted to include literary decisive moments into my project to establish a theme and a particular interpretation of the brief.

Which practitioners you looked at for inspiration and how their work influenced you during your project

I had looked at Eadweard Muybridge whose work on isolating movement in people and animals encouraged me to consider capturing fragments of time, but I was initially inspired to begin this assignment by Henri Cartier Bresson. I enjoyed looking at Bresson’s images and appreciated his capturing of human movement to create pictures of that perfect fleeting moment.

I also considered the idea of capturing the trace of movement. My inspiration for considering the trace of movement came from a number of photographers discussed in the course notes, including Hiroshi Sugimoto who used very long exposures to record the passage of time.

Ultimately, however, I was most inspired by the work of Francesca Woodman. I was very much inspired by Woodman’s subject matter, based initially on a strong empathy and connection with her image below, which was something of a turning point for me.


Image by Francesca Woodman

This image was my inspiration for presenting my work in terms of both photographic and literary decisive moments. I am aware that much of Woodman’s work used a slow shutter whereas my images capture a specific moment in time. However, I am particularly interested in women’s literature and I found Woodman’s work especially interesting. I was attracted also by the apparent similarities in the lives of Woodman and a favourite author, Virginia Woolf: both exceptionally gifted, both committed suicide at a relatively young age.

Your technical approach and any particular techniques you incorporated

My focus in terms of technique was in using a fast enough shutter to avoid blur caused by wind or other movement including camera shake where my camera was hand held. I wanted to capture images that represented specific and unique moments in time. For my ‘waves’ image, I used continuous drive to allow me to select the most appropriate image from a series taken in quick succession. I had some difficulty with photographing in low light with a fast shutter and I increased the exposure of some of my images using Photoshop. I used a variety of focal lengths from 16mm (waves image) to 55mm (woods), and set my camera to shutter priority. I decided to submit my images in a photo book so that I could include the literary quotes they inspired, to give context and meaning to my work.

How each image relates to the decisive moment.

Image 1 ‘The Waves’

I see a decisive moment in how the wave in the centre is captured at that moment that is begins to roll and gather force. The novel is very much about the cycles of nature, birth and death as represented by the tides.

Image 2 ‘Lady Chatterley’.

This image’s decisive moment is in its mood – a bit sinister. Lady Chatterley would certainly have felt watched as she made her way to the gamekeepers cottage. I felt that the light and fog created a unique setting that perfectly captured the feeling of the story.

Image 3 ‘The Colour Purple’

When all colour except for the oranges of autumn leaves seemed to have disappeared, I was attracted by the way the light created shadows that highlighted the purple. Colour, particularly purple, is a very significant theme in this novel.

Image 4 ‘ Jane Eyre’

The image captures a decisive moment in the mood created by the weather. It perfectly captures my mind-eye image of Jane lost in the wilderness.

Image 5 ‘Perusasion’

This scene caught my eye because of the dense colour created by the heavy carpet of leaves enhanced by the light shining through the trees. Autumn is a significant theme in this novel.

Image 6 ‘Sunset Song’

I was amazed at how the colour and intensity of this sunset changed so quickly before my eyes. This was literally a fleeting moment. As soon as I had taken this image, the scene disappeared. Sunsets always remind me of endings; a significant theme in this story.

Image 7 ‘Mrs Dalloway’

My attention was drawn to the light reflection on the water, it created a peaceful view that held me transfixed. I felt that this image captured the calm mood of Mrs Dalloway as she sat sewing, and dreaming of the waves on a summer day.

List of illustrations

Image 1

Woodman, F. Photograph. At: link. (Accessed 23 November 2016)

Please see my posts

Eadweard Muybridge

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Fancesca Woodman

Research Point Cartier Bresson ‘Lamour de Court’

The Decisive Moment – where I stand



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