“Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face.” – Steve McCurry
I am a fan of unguarded moments.
In my photography journey, I’ve come across many inspirational people. I’ve had few mentors though, because I preferred to experiment on my own, learning from my mistakes and striving to achieve some originality and novelty by not delving too much on others’ works. But my influences through the years were heavy from the traditional photographers.
I looked up to the works of Steve McCurry (currently embroiled in an ethics controversy, but am still a fan) and the posthumous fame and inspiring story of the elusive, antisocial Vivian Maier, as I’ve written in Finding Vivian Maier in me.
Most of all, I marvel at the precision of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s imagery and compositions, and have collected his documents and books to further study his eye and artistry (he too, was a painter and artist). He was a master not only of decisive moments, but unposed, unguarded moments — the master of candid photography and eventually, the father of modern photojournalism.
“To take photographs,” Cartier-Bresson once said, “is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
Cartier-Bresson gave up painting (surrealistt influence) and bought his first Leica. In 1947, he co-founded Magnum Photos together with well-known photographers at that time, and gained international prominence.
“Photography is not like painting,” Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post (1957). “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative,” he said. “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
And yes, I firmly believe that patience is a virtue, when you want to achieve the imagery you envision in your head.
Model in photo : Rhonson Ng
Location : San Pedro Cathedral and Monument of Peace and Unity, Davao City
Camera : Fuji XA2 + film simulation mode