Neville Bulsara

Saturated with Color

Thoughts on Photography: On “The Moment”

Thoughts On Photography: On “The Moment”

All images copyright Neville Bulsara, all rights reserved and may not be replicated or used without permission


The Moment. A Moment. A fleeting instant in time when something comes to pass that makes every synapse in a Photographer's brain fire. A fleeting instant that makes every cell of one's being scream “This, is it…”. A moment which will pass in an instant and will never, ever repeat itself. A fleeting instant when – to the photographer who has become one with his tools – there is no distinction between his mind, his body, his camera and the object of perception; everything – and everything – comes together in an instant, without conscious thought the image makes itself. That, is “The Moment” (I call it “The Zen Moment”) in Photography.


Henri Cartier-Bresson was the undisputed master when it came to The Moment.


What precisely is “The Moment”? How does one go about successfully capturing it? Does The Moment belong exclusively to the domains of travel, sports and photojournalism? Can The Moment be quantified? Why do I refer to it as “A Zen Moment”? As an event unfolds, how does one determine just when to trip the shutter? Is just tripping the shutter all that there is to it? What about graphic elements, composition et al? Do these too have to come together in The Moment? How does one seek out The Moment? How can one find it?…


I consider myself fortunate to have had my very own Moments too, and I'm often asked just how I go about consistently nailing the decisive moment. And while I could write a book on the subject (which, incidentally I am), I thought I'd go and share some images which portray just what the decisive moment is all about. And while images may be worth a thousand words, images backed up with words – especially those of masters – are worth their weight in gold…


Enjoy the images. Reflect on the words below each one. They may raise more questions than they answer, but in my opinion those are the very questions you'll answer yourself if you sincerely and consistently seek The Moment. Over time, you don't seek the moment, you realise that… Wait, that would be spilling the beans!

Enjoy, and do feel free to leave your comments on this post. ๐Ÿ™‚


Success is what happens when 10,000 hours of preparation meet with one moment of opportunity.”


“Cartier-Bresson has said that photography seizes a 'decisive moment', that's true except that it shouldn't be taken too narrowly…does my picture of a cobweb in the rain represent a decisive moment? The exposure time was probably three or four minutes. That's a pretty long moment. I would say the decisive moment in that case was the moment in which I saw this thing and decided I wanted to photograph it.” ~ Paul Strand


“One moment, one second (actually, far less!), one push of the button. One single movement to capture that one single frame. An instant based on the instinct.”


“…Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you're alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there's everything, next moment it's gone. Photography is very philosophical.” ~ Joel Meyerowitz


“The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. One might argue that photography is as close to music as to painting. . . a photograph bears witness to a human choice being exercised. This choice is not between photographing x and y: but between photographing at x moment or at y moment.” ~ John Berger


“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson


“Inside movement there is one moment in which the elements are in balance. Photography must seize the importance of this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it.”


“No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something.” ~ Garry Winnograd


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June 28, 2012 - Posted by | Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photography, The Moment, Thoughts On Photography | , ,


  1. Wow! So right. Waiting for the perfect moment. And then, actually being in it. Fully, mindfully, instead of hankering after it.
    Love this piece. It resonates with what I was thinking moments ago. Thankee, kind sor, for sharing your thoughts.

    Comment by Geetali Tare | June 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks, Geetali! I was so surprised when I saw you post that poem, it resonated perfectly with that last quote by Garry Winnograd.

      Comment by nevilleb | June 28, 2012 | Reply

  2. And further….

    Everything waits to be noticed
    A tree falls with no one there
    The full potential of a love affair
    Everything waits to be noticed

    Twenty-eight geese in sudden flight
    The last star on the edge of the night
    A single button come undone
    The middle child, the prodigal son
    Everything waits to be noticed
    A trickle underneath a dam
    The missing line from the telegram
    Everything waits to be noticed

    The whispering pains that say you’re living
    The slow burn of not forgiving
    The quiet room, the unlikely pair
    The full potential of a love affair

    Everything waits to be noticed

    Longing for braver days
    Cautiously turning a phrase
    Going unnoticed

    But everything waits to be noticed
    The changing light in the upper air
    The full potential of a love affair
    Everything waits to be noticed.
    [Art Garfunkel]

    Comment by Geetali Tare | June 28, 2012 | Reply

  3. Yes, Neville. Serendipity, eh? And to be honest, I was thinking about photography when I posted the Garfunkel song.

    Comment by Geetali Tare | June 28, 2012 | Reply

    • Geetali – serendipity? Maybe great minds just think alike. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Comment by nevilleb | June 29, 2012 | Reply

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