Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Decisive Moment

Hanukah, Camun, 2012

This shot just works. It all came together in that 'decisive moment', but I was totally unaware of all the coalescing elements, when I took the shot. Perhaps, I did have an awareness of the balance in the composition, but at a subconscious level.

Overall, the picture has a retro feel to it, primarily due to the fact that I chose to use my venerable 28mm wide-angle lens, now over 30 years in my possession, and whose qualities hark back to a previous era in photographic aesthetic. Nowdays, we are so attuned to the sharpness and immediacy of photographs taken digitally, with automatic focus, automatic exposure, automatic fill-in flash , that the 'feel' of an image taken in available light, with manual focus, and rule of thumb exposure strikes our sensibilities,  as much as listening to an LP record or driving a car with manual shift. 

The shot is not posed, no arrangement or positioning of the kids was really attempted, I think they were barely aware of granddad's camera at this point. They are clearly consumed, besotted, by the presence of the new addition to their generation. There is a symmetry in the position of   Romy and Lotem on the flanks, with their attention focused on Ye'ela, balanced by Talia and Daniel, who are turned to each other in a sibling interaction. The eye of the viewer automatically hones in on baby Ye'ela, at the central point of the composition,  perhaps attracted by her piercing stare upwards to Romy.

To my mind,  it is the body-language of Romy and Lotem that impart a classical  resonance to the picture. Romy extends her hand in tentative exploration, to make contact, but not quite touching Ye'ela (visions of Michaelangelo!), while Lotem is calmly placing his hand on his new little sister, in a calming gesture of affection and wonderment. Talia, who is cradling the baby in a self-conscious grown-up style, is admonishing her brother for his excited over-reaction, and the relatively  slow shutter speed captures the reaction of Daniel, imparting a dynamic to the shot. The picture at this point is not sharp, even blurred , but it works to the composition's advantage.

The next frame I took had them sitting still (even Daniel!), all posing for me, conventionally, smiling towards the camera, except for Lotem who continued to be  insrcutable behind his dummy. A good enough standard shot perhaps, even worthy of our mantelpiece (if we had one!) , but it did not impart any of the excitement and immediacy of the picture here. What makes it a 'decisive moment' is that however many times I could try again, and this grand-dad is quite profligate with his camera, I could not recreate or capture the chemistry of that instant, when it all came together.

Wishing you all a happy, creative, and peaceful New Year and let's continue  sharing with others, what we all love doing.

The image can be viewed in larger resolution at:


  1. Dad- you're a genius!! lovely!

  2. Dad, you are so talented! Thank you for explaining so well the artistic insights. It reminds me of the permanent column in Haaretz Saturday supplement, where the writer chooses a picture and describes it just like you did.
    I would add that another thing that pulls the attention is the duality of Talia's appearence - you did metion it, but I think the person looking at the picture is also trying to figure out what Talia's status is. On the one hand she is clearly physically bigger than the rest, her legs as though "holding" the composition, it is clear that she is "in charge" of the baby, but has a child's face.
    Anyway, a great picture and a great text!
    Happy New Year