This Decisive Moment

In 1952, the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, published a book titled Images on the Run. The English version was re-titled The Decisive Moment.


Since then, the phrase “the decisive moment” has been important to critical thinking about photography. The phrase has been thoroughly analyzed and many interpretations have been offered as to its precise meaning, but the best definition is the one that immediately comes to mind.

The decisive moment is that moment in time when a photographer witnesses a scene and captures its lines, movement and meaning perfectly. The photograph most often associated with Cartier-Bresson and the decisive moment depicts a man jumping through a puddle of water.

The spirit of Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment is one inspiration for the work I am sharing on this website and its associated social media channels, but there are others.

When discussing current events we often hear references to, “this moment in time,” or “this political moment?” In this way, nearly every point in political, social and cultural history can be described as a moment which carries with it specific attitudes about acceptable standards, what is important, and what is of no consequence.

I am not only seeking compelling photographs, I am attempting to use those photographs, and the written essays that accompany them, to make a record of our moment in time. This moment in history.

The categories and story telling techniques I am using are meant to create a full picture of what it means to be alive today. When it comes to social issues, these stories are meant to force us to question what actions we are prepared to take to improve our world.

Every moment in our lives is a decisive moment - a moment in which we can decide to get involved or do nothing. A moment to stand on the right side of progress or stand in the way.

D. Pagani ~ 2018



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