Assignment 3 Research

‘The (In)decisive Moment’

Craig R. Stecyk III

When looking for inspiration, research, something and someone that represents ‘the decisive moment’ it can be a challenge. 

Craig R. Stecyk III, is a very well-known skateboard and surf photography. A photographer of movement, of freeze. That clearly shows a decisive moment, a historic moment, for skateboarding and the sport. From around 1965 onwards, he has captured moments in the sport of one of the most famous skate crews ever, documenting them on their journey throughout skateboarding, and their careers. For me, the images are caught right at the correct moment, mid-air, as if they are flying, it looks really spectacular. The decisive moment, who knows if they are going to land it though, that’s another decisive moment.
Below you can see an image, captured of one of the Dog Town riders, mid-air in a swimming pool. 

In terms of the photographer and his positioning here, I feel it is really effective because he is looking down on the subject and showing you the inside of the bowl (pool) and how deep it is. If he was in another position, say in the bowl looking up, I feel this also could be powerful, as it shows him height up. Whereas where he is looking down it shows the guy trying to reach the top and the bottom of his board and his facial expression. If this was taken in the bowl you would only see his back, and the board not as half as well. I think that in any positioning of the photographer in these moments has its advantages and disadvantages. If he was in another position, side on, I feel that this would be the least effective in terms of trying to portray a moment that looks insane, looks ‘cool’. By coming in from above, that moment where he has just flown in, or waited patiently for the right moment, has made a really good picture, and a moment. Elsewhere may not have had the desired effect.

Craig Stecyk


The link below is a short clip to do with Craig R. Stecyk III, which I came across. Most of the clips show a decisive moment, a movement, which I feel ties in well with the assignment.



Henri Cartier-Bresson

As mentioned in the last part of the course, basically the creator of ‘the decisive moment’ how could I not mention HCB for this assignment. Inspirational, and showing ‘the decisive moment’ over and over again in various images. He has to be one of the best ones to ever do it. I have done more in-depth research on him surrounding ‘the decisive moment’ to view it, follow the link and follow down towards the bottom of the page.

What makes Henri Cartier-Bresson good at capturing ‘the decisive moment’ is the fact he always has his camera with him and is always snapping away, and using luck to get him into very good situations which inevitably leads to him capturing a decisive moment. But also, him capturing that moment, and being there is also very much decisive, as with any photographer capturing those moments, the photographer himself is ideally decisive for making a decisive decision to capture that moment, and it’s the moment of the photographer which pays as they help create the end product of another decisive moment.

Robin Pailler

When thinking about skateboarding, and thinking whether it can be associated with ‘the decisive moment’ I feel that it can be. My reason is because in skateboarding, nothing is every planned, apart from one thing, to TRY and land the trick, it’s a gamble. There are a number of problems a skateboarder could encounter when trying to preform, a crash for starters. And for me, you can never repeat the same trick exactually the same twice, whether you do it bigger, and better, or whether you land differently with your feet. Skateboarding shows a moment, a decisive one, where you are in mid-air, you’ve committed yourself and the camera has managed to snap an image of you, basically looking like you are flying, and it looks basically mental. The decisive moment, is unrehearsed, and is a moment in time that occurs out of nowhere of something unique. A decision, an action, an event, and skateboarding brings so much action, quite often attempts that have never been tried, or done before by that person.
I came across Robin Pailler, whilst searching for inspiration, research inspiration. When I looked at his images, I was surprised to find all sort of decisive moments, including skateboard ones. The two images below show two different situations. The one on the left shows law enforcement officers on a mission, which looks rather serious, and on the right, a man skating a swimming pool. He is not meant to be there, I’m guessing as quite often they break into these ‘spots’ to ride, and swimming pools are also not meant for skating, but he is creating this moment, a decisive one.

Click the link below to view the rest of Assignment 3, including annotation on Pailler’s work.

Robin Pailler gets in very good situations, which ensures he captures the moment at the correct time. In various cases he has taken a step back and captured the moment which brings other elements into the image, and into the foreground. Quite often to the side, he has taken these showing the surroundings of the decisive moment. By being at these locations at the time of these events are very decisive as he is in the mix of it all, and in places he is not necessarily meant to be.

Fairly Normal – Remy Taveira (Left) Photography (Right)

Elliot Erwitt

Elliot Erwitt, is a very good photographer, especially of ‘the decisive moment’. The photograph below looks funny, because of the positioning. The position of the dog makes it look like the human is half dog. But it is in that moment that he takes the image that decisive moment, that it looks like that, at that point in time, when we know that is two separate subjects, it is just way they are positioned. Even the smallest of subjects and situations can create a moment. Even when ‘the decisive moment’ is overused, when it is truly used, it can be used for moments like that.

Elliot Erwitt is a decisive photographer, as he makes decisions to take images that are of moments that are decisive. Elements within his images all come together to make a moment that will never be exactly re-created ever again, and by the photographer being there he is able to make a decisive decision to capture another moment. What makes it decisive is the fact that it is unique and a special moment, which he is able to take advantage of.


New York City, USA,  2000

Robert Doisneau,clerge.htm

If you follow the link above, this will take you to a series of images by Robert Doisneau. Some of the images, I feel represent the decisive moment, at its peak. These images were taking a very long time ago, and some show unique situations, such as the nun running past the man and his dog. A point in life where their lives crossed paths and he managed to take a picture of it, a decisive moment, that was not planned, nor staged, but a situation that naturally unfolded itself to present itself to the photographer so he could snap that moment. I think it is really unique when those sorts of situations present itself, two completely different worlds, crossing paths by coincidence. The black and white of the photo really makes you focus on the other aspects of the image. Robert’s body of images are taken from a variety of locations and show different people and situations, creating moments.

The nun picture for example, if he was a few seconds late then he would have missed the moment and it would have never evolved to him creating a decisive moment himself by taking a picture of that moment. He was very fortunate that, that situation developed itself. As it never would have crossed paths ever again. It is a decisive moment, because it is a unique, moment that can never be retraced.


© Lewis.Gibson.Photography.2019

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