A Henri Cartier-Bresson Moment…
While I was out and about the downtown area of Nashville shooting some abstracts, I came across a street photography scene that I felt compelled to capture. A homeless woman was seated on a bus bench, all her possessions beside her, and she seemed to be asleep. The morning was warm, but she was covered head to toe. I watched her for a few minutes and then took the shot…
The image was fine and good, but I thought it could be more. I thought of Henri Cartier-Bresson and his concept of the decisive moment. He is known for making powerful images at the decisive moment. There is debate if he means to find the scene and waiting for it, or the moment the photographer sees all the elements coming together and captures the image. Either way, I felt that the image was lacking, so I waited for something to change.
A minute or so later, I saw a woman walking up the street in a determined manner, probably on her way to work. I thought she would be a good addition to the composition so I waited for her to get closer. As she neared, a string of cars came down the road and in between me and the lady on the bench. I lost site of her as they passed, but I readied myself for when the view cleared. Once free, the scene had changed. No, the lady coming down the street was still there and had moved into position. But, another player had entered the scene. A lady who looked to be a cleaning person at one of the nearby buildings, was approaching the lady on the bench. I had no idea what she was going to do, but I liked what it was doing for the scene before me.
A few seconds later, I could see that she was offering some cash to the lady on the bench. I took two quick images, both of which I think are more interesting street scenes.
The last one, actually changing the mood of the image from one of sorrow or pity to joy and gratefulness.
That Henri Cartier-Bresson sure knew his stuff!