In the 17th century, the Cardinal of Retz in Brittany, France, stated: “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.”
Centuries later, the father of modern photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson, would apply this philosophy to his photographs and even go on to name his published portfolio ‘The Decisive Moment’. The seasoned photographer travelled around the world during his career, shooting on the streets, immersing himself in the culture of the people he was shooting.
In a 1957 interview, Cartier-Bresson said: “Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
In March, our reader photographers chased the moment and succeeded. Deputy Picture Editor Sankha Kar picked the top three winners of March and here, we present the photographs that stood out from the rest.
Editor’s note: Do you want to participate in our monthly Reader Picture Competition? Send us your best photographs, with captions, at email@example.com.
Jinson George works in the shipping industry and is based in Dubai. He is also the co-founder of a photography group called The Frame Hunters.
Over the past three years, George has focused on bird and wildlife photography. His winning picture is from Al Qudra Lake in Dubai.
George said: “This was a dream shot for me. It was a pre-visualised picture, which took many attempts to succeed. The climatic conditions were really tough, as it was freezing cold. But like a blessing in disguise, the fog that was present caused the early morning rays of sun to diffuse through it and this made all the difference.”
Reason for winning:
Deputy Picture Editor Sankha Kar said it was the lighting that made this picture sing.
He said: “It’s very difficult to take a photograph like this. Birds can be unpredictable, and can move all of a sudden, when you’re not paying attention. For the reader to capture the drama of the birds’ flight, the mist, the splash as wings hit the water, all while maintaining proper framing and composition, is quite commendable. It’s a beautiful picture.”
Mohsin Abrar is a marketing manager, based in Dubai.
A frequent traveller and photography enthusiast, Abrar took his winning photograph in Singapore. He said: “This picture was taken in the Central Singapore area. While the city-state is quite cosmopolitan and contemporary, it has not forgotten its cultural identity. This is a representation of that – terraced houses and a man with a traditional hat.”
Reason for winning:
The symmetry of the houses caught Deputy Picture Sankha Kar’s attention – and held it. He said: “The repetitive pattern of the colourful houses is only broken by the man on the bicycle, which adds another interesting layer to the picture. This is a perfect travel photograph – it shows traditional architecture, a person in traditional wear, going about his day. It’s a snapshot of life, and wonderfully framed.”
Shameem Sha is the manager of a printing press company in Dubai.
Ironically, the opportunity for his winning photograph came at the end of his photo shoot. He took this quirky photograph of a man clicking a selfie at the end of Holi celebrations, in Nandgaon, India.
He said: “This scene happened when we were leaving the temple, and heading home.”
Reason for winning:
For Deputy Picture Sankha Kar, the reader’s picture brought out a very different perspective of Holi. The picture is a success because the photographer was in the right place at the right time – a decisive moment, skilfully captured.
Kar said: “The picture is a lovely blend of the modern and traditional. Even as the older gentleman rests after Holi celebrations, the younger one is busy taking a selfie. The mood is one of unwinding after the big party. It’s a candid picture, but much more relaxed than the ones we usually see of Holi. The framing is very well done, too.”