In Exercise 2 we are asked to look back over holiday photos and to try to remember your motivation for taking them. I have so many that I have taken and so many that mean a lot to me for various reasons. On looking back through some of these photos I have started to realize that I do like to be ‘A Decisive Moment’ type of photographer, I don’t tend to take a lot of photos of the same scene or scenario, but take one or two and move on. Having now discovered Henri Cartier Brensson, I have got extremely excited to realize that perhaps this is my style of photography that I didn’t realize was a style. A lot of my holiday photos are spontaneous and quirky, I love to take photos of strangers and unusual objects or situations that you don’t normally find in a travel guide. It feels great to be inspired by amazing photographers of the past, but most certainly Brensson has captured my attention. The following are some of my photos that are of the ‘Decisive Moment’ kind or what I call quirky, they remind me of the place I was on holiday and I know they mean something to me.
These three photographs remind me so much of one of my favorite places to visit on vacation in the UK. Winterton on Sea, I have so many that I love and not sure why I chose these three, but I the first photo was on my last visit there. On walking towards the beach, along a footpath, a came across this very ‘cute’ animal, sleeping, or dieing. Not sure what to do. I left it hoping it would run into the undergrowth. On the way back I decided if it was still there I would put it into the undergrowth out of harms way. In the distance an old man was coming towards us, walking with a stick to aid him. He stopped at the little animal where he raised his stick and with such force proceeded to hit the animal as it bounced high, and as it landed he kicked it into the undergrowth. I was so shocked and couldn’t move out of fear, to see the brutality of such an old man and the guilt of not moving the animal when I first saw it will remain with me. “A rat” he said as he walked past tilting his hat.f The photo was taken with my iPhone 5 at close range.
The second picture is of one of the round houses you can find on a holiday resort at Winterton, in the background are black huts that are prominent when you reach the beautiful sandy beach in the distance. It just reminds me of Winterton in all its glory. I aimed my camera lens so that it showed the cuteness of the round house and its brightness compared to the square black beach huts in the distance.
The third photo I love. It captures the beautiful long beach at Winterton, with the sand dunes, pathways and reeds, even on a rainy day. It is such a wonderful place to walk and have the wind from the sea blow the cobwebs away. The fact my daughter was walking just in front of me, deep in thought, was a perfect shot to capture on such a memorable day. I knelt down to take this shot, to incorporate the reeds, sandy beach, waves and of course my daughter.
Florence is a magical city. The people and the architecture are wonderful. The first photograph I know I’ve not caught the light perhaps as I should have, however I loved this photo of my daughter and her boyfriend with the most amazing view and sunset, it summed up a beautiful day in Florence. The second picture, is of some graffiti art that you can find all around Florence on the walls, subtly hidden. This photo when it is enlarged has a picture of a typical Italian moped which I thought added to the mystical stick like, graffiti, would love to know who draws them. Some would say you shouldn’t be drawing on these old buildings, but to others its Art and adds to the culture. The third photo, will always remind me of the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence. A bunch of padlocks hang on the wall with love notes left by tourists or locals. I got caught up in the moment and decided to leave my own message, only to be verbally attacked by an English man who said I shouldn’t be writing on the wall of this historic bridge. Quite right too I thought afterwards, however at the time it wasn’t pleasant as I was just doing what countless others had done that seemed to be part of the history of the bridge leaving love notes. The fourth picture is of a street that we found walking through the back streets. This shop was full of Italian bric-a-brac and just loved the high doors and was typical of the long, clean, pedestrian streets. The final photo is of the famous statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa. I took the photo as I thought it was just an incredible statue with unbelievable artwork and obviously amazing story. I felt the photo captures the figure as if it was a real moment. I love it and reminds me so much of the artwork found in Florence.
Boracay in the Philippines has got to be one of my favorite holidays of all time. The photo opportunities were amazing. There wasn’t a day or an hour, even a minute that went by that I wasn’t taking a photograph. Lots of ‘Decisive Moments’ and too many to put on here. But all of these photos meant something to me and when I took them I did think of the composition, the background, the lighting and the actual ‘decisive moment’ of taking a photo that perhaps no one else would take the same way as I had done, I tried to take the photo quickly in all these situations. Some were taken with my iPhone others with my Pentax SLR. Perhaps there are a million other photos just like mine, I don’t know, but these particular ones I felt I had taken with purpose and either at different angles or viewed through something like the fourth one which was viewed through an old, rotting boat.
The first photo is of a young family on their way to the shops, school, or to see family, you just don’t know, but you can see there is a story just by their lack of fear, no helmets, protective clothing or shoes and the child just wedged between the two adults. I felt lucky to have got this shot especially as it was raining too.
The second photo, I also feel lucky to have been in the position I was sailing on a catamaran yacht with local boys as the sailors, non over 18 by the looks of things. It was the most incredible sail out towards the sunset, legs dangling over the edge of the netted wing, spray from the sea catching your face, I had my iPhone in a plastic wallet slung round my neck as I tried to get the shot of these carefree boys. A memory I will never forget.
The third shot was just beautiful, a 5.00am sunrise (pretty hard for me to be up at that time so quite memorable). The fourth shot was taken, whilst walking along one of the beautiful beaches of Boracay, I spotted an upturned, small rowing boat, perched in a tree, as I looked through the rotting holes of the boat, I spotted a photo opportunity and was pretty pleased with the result. This fifth shot was taken with my Pentax SLR, there has been no filter added, I thought it was agreat contrast to the silent bobbing of the old style yachts, this noisy, bright, lights flashing, disco motor boat cruised on by and I managed to get the shot. This sixth shot reminds sadly of a day out driving dune buggies through dirt tracks and forests. We started off at an outdoor café/reception and spotted these caged monkies, it was heartbreaking. I thought if I took the photo, somehow I could highlight its captivity and plead for its release. Sadly that didn’t happen, but I felt the shot did portray its pleading eyes and I just hoped it was well looked after. Taken with my Pentax SLR.
The last shot was another sunrise moment, with a young local sweeping up on the sandy beach, the shot was taken whilst walking through a hole in the rocks, with plants hanging down, framing the picture of the young man, again taken with my Pentax.
As mentioned there were so many photographs of this incredible holiday, just too many to share. I still felt that although there isn’t that fear of wasting film, I still like to try and take a photograph that is a little different in some way, normally I would only take one or two of the same scene, so as not to get boring.
These five photos were taken in Washington DC, each one taken with purpose. The first one I believe is a ‘Decisive Moment’ shot, young boys pushing a large supermarket trolley around with water bottles to sell to the public, I felt for the boys as it was almost like child labor, kids being used by the man in the baseball hat. The second photo was taken at the JF Kennedy Arts Centre. My daughter loves the theatre and she was sat watching the stage as if it were alive with dancers, there was nobody there but I could still see her smiling. I thought it was a lovely photo and will always remind me of spending a magical day with my daughter. This third shot was taken on the Marina, a group of chairs surround an open fire, several times I walked past where strangers would be sitting with coffee chatting to each other, I thought it was a great social gathering place. The fourth shot was taken at the Famous fish market of Washington DC, another Decisive Moment shot that I can just smell the fish and feel the business of the market, a great reminder. This last shot, was one of those quirky moments where I saw these bright pink outlets which caught my attention and just reminded me of the quirkiness of Washington DC.
Three simple photos taken on a trip back to the UK, the first one of my daughter taking a photo of the beautiful English blossom, we had gone out for the day with our cameras and it just reminds me of such a wonderful mother daughter moment. The second photo again with my daughter at Christmas, displaying a rather delicious, vegetarian Christmas dinner that we cooked together, I hope the photo shows how it tasted as good as it looked, another precious moment. The third photo reminds me of a cinema trip with my daughters to a London cinema, gone are the days of a trip to your locale Odeon with a bag of popcorn and coke. This was an incredible evening of Champaign, chocolates and very large comfy sofas and blankets on offer too, was fantastic, I thought the shot just portrayed the luxury of the evening, another great memory.
On reflecting over this exercise I really enjoyed talking about my photogs although was aware that I might be talking too much about my own personal opinions on photos that only mean something to me. It made me think what makes an amazing photo that others would want to see and say wow that’s an amazing shot. I keep feeling that ‘The Decisive Moment’ shots are the ones that stand out for me as I know there wasn’t too much thinking that went into the shot, no special lenses or set ups, no lighting issues or props, just that moment. I still think it means a lot to take a photograph like this as it makes it even more special as it is unlikely it can be repeated. I do think there is a point that photos can be altered later, Bresson doesn’t believe this should happen, I can confess to changing the colour or cropping a photo, I don’t think this devalues it, makes it just more interesting. Once again am just fascinated with the exitement I feel with photography and just want to keep learning more and more, especially from the great masters.