Iraqi Kurdistan by Ed Kashi. Can’t say I’m that much of a fan, I prefer it when the concept is stronger rather than just bunching together all your shots and pausing on the good one. However, what it does illustrate nicely is that capturing “the decisive moment”, as famously described by Henri Cartier-Bresson, is much, much easier thanks to digital cameras…
It reminds me of a story my half-sister told me a few years ago about a famous German photographer, someone who shot for Stern magazine on a regular basis and whose work she’d long admired.
She had an opportunity to watch him shooting a press conference and had this romantic notion that he’d turn up with his trusty Nikon FM2N and a nice bit of manual focus glass, observe the room for a while before picking a good spot, then patiently waiting until… click. The Decisive Moment captured, he’d leave.
What had actually happened is that he’d turned up with a couple of F5s (Nikon’s flagship film camera at the time), jostled with the rest and kept his finger firmly on the motordrive, shooting several rolls in the space of a few minutes. So much for romance; like everyone there, he couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity.
Modern photojournalists take more pictures than ever now that they’re free from the constraints of film and its maximum of 36 frames, processing cost, delay and scanning. The limits now are mostly concerning storage and transfer: camera buffer & CompactFlash sizes, dumping photos to storage devices & laptops, along with how much time it takes to manage the resultant amount of shots.
Not that I’m complaining, while I think actually capturing a quality photograph is simpler, the workflow itself has shifted around and now even more time is spent sorting through the huge stack of shots trying to find it. Thank heavens for software like Lightroom, Aperture and Photo Mechanic, without them things’d be a hell of a lot harder.