The works of photographers such as Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson and Don McCullin, amongst others, have inspired millions to take up a camera – be it digital or SLR, and take photos of moments in time – split second images that can never be repeated.
Often, such photos are taken in black and white – or at least these are my favourite sort – feel free to argue with me over this. The gradation of tone and the evident presence of light levels and their contrasts makes such images captivating and they seem to become what they depict – a 3D moment.
Exposure time also has a lot to answer for in the appearance of photos. Long exposure times can catch the movement and life of a scene – the turn of a bicycle, a leap into water or the pirouette of a ballet dancer – it is clear why some people consider photography to be like painting with light.
But what about the one that got away. Most photographers consider that their most famous photos were taken on a whim – an arresting frame that caught their eye momentarily. Such a thing happened to me. I was in a small fishing village in Hong Kong, a wizened man – reminiscent of trees’ roots, sat in the doorway of a workshop cloaked by a background of darkness – making the colour of his clothes sing. Alas I had no camera. This is common – when you see an image that holds you in real life you often see it and then it is gone.
With the advent of iPhones and their editing abilities real, raw photography is a rarey skill and should be prized.