Major Brief – 600 Word Essay


Steve McCurry said “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”

The Decisive Moment. 1952. Henri Cartier-Bresson

Upon receiving this brief, dates were quickly booked to locations of mass beauty, pleasing aesthetics, and hidden features. Amongst these was Mevagissey. The small fishing village is situated in Southern Cornwall, and still boasts a working harbour, along with a few dozen fishing boats.

Whilst down visiting the Cornish town for a few days, small, discrete and locally ran shops were stumbled upon. Many were situated down rocky trails and hidden alleyways, creating something of a mystery to the location. A humble fishing shop was found down by the harbour, with the warm glowing tones from inside, contrasting to the harsh winter pigments.

The next morning, a trip down to the harbour was taken. Here, surrounded by the hustling and bustling of the seagulls, the only thing that seemed calm, was the ocean. Towards the harbour edge, a rusted ladder lead down to the sea below. The blue skies, and lack of clouds meant the vivid reddish, brown tones from the corroded steps contrasted boldly against the crisp, clear aqua pigments, creating what turned out to be an aesthetically pleasing view.

The photograph taken fearlessly interprets that despite its tranquil nature, the ocean is merciless at heart. The tarnished ladder and its decayed complexion portrays the sea’s true identity.

Nearly eighty miles was travelled to take this photograph. Situated in a small town of Cheshire, it was January 5th. Not just any day, but a very special day for some, as two sisters were celebrating their birthday.

This photo holds no set up, no decision making, no detailed plan of what to do, or where to photograph, making it perfect for the given brief. The monochrome tones of the black and white image, add a strong sense of depth and definition to the photo. Shot in a quick second, the final look clearly portrays the happiness behind one of the sister’s eyes.


Small. Furry. Carnivorous… Playful.

The final photograph in the series of four, was taken around Christmas time. Located at a friend’s house party, a few old buddies gathered together to celebrate the ending year. The star attraction of the gathering, was the curious feline, Lola. Compelled by her moggie instincts, the white tabby spent the night in the Christmas Tree

The twinkling tones of her amber-coloured eyes, are highlighted by the fine, moonlight glow given off from the bulbs all around. The lights act as a spotlight, illuminating when she lies, and darkening the rest around; as if Mother Nature is associating her with her large feline relatives.

To achieve such photos, many camera settings were used, from wide apertures, to low shutter speeds, and to shooting in black and white. All of the given techniques, and the others used, allow for a vast range of contrasting images to be taken. No connection runs throughout the four chosen photographs, showing that the Decisive Moment can happen anywhere, and at any time.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photographer of The Decisive Moment, said “A photography is neither taken or seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos.”



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