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It's my opinion that shadows are a very overlooked and unappreciated 

property of light, i.e., not only do they possess the innate ability to give form

and shape to lit objects, but they can also provide surprisingly entertaining

graphic shapes and textures all their own when combined with other elements.

I hope these images will also cause you to notice shadows more, as well as the stories they sometimes have to tell....that is, if you take the time to consider them.

Consider both my Decisive Moment and Viewing Angel Island images. "The

Decisive Moment" is a term coined by documentary/street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson who was a French humanist "street" photographer, considered to

be master of candid photography and an early user of 35 mm film.  In 1952, Cartier-Bresson published his book Images à la sauvette, whose English-language edition was titled The Decisive Moment. For his 4,500-word philosophical preface, Cartier-Bresson took his keynote text from the 17th century Cardinal de Retz which read,

"Il n'y a rien dans ce monde qui n'ait un moment decisif" ("There is nothing in this

world that does not have a decisive moment"). Cartier-Bresson applied this

to his photographic style. He said: "To me, photography is the simultaneous

recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of

a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression."

"Photography is not like painting," Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post 

in 1957. "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 photo- grapher is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."

My Decisive Moment image is the epitome of that theory, with the obvious

timing of capturing the heel of the person's foot making contact with  the pavement...which in fact is very similar to one of Cartier-Bresson's own

images, thus the attribute. However, the graphics produced by both the

shadows themselves, combined with the way I've cropped it gives this

image an added tension and mystery that adds to that Decisive Moment. 

With the Viewing Angel Island image, the decisive moment is the way that

the graphic elements of the shadows of the three tourists who're viewing

angel island, the long stairs, the vertical iron locating structure and me with

my camera to my eye capturing it all come together in a cleverly, esoteric

way to tell a story. The interesting part about this image is actually the

double- entendre of the title, Viewing Angel Island, but unless

you're familiar with the area it needs a bit of explanation. 

The long stairs in the foreground are on the edge of a parking

lot near the Golden Gate Bridge and, to help tourists know what

they're seeing, the city has commissioned a number of waist high, upright, iron structures at the top edge of the stairs that not only have the

name of each particular point of interest cut into their vertical bases, but

also have little brass pointers, with faux gun-site type locators, attached their tops that point to different landmarks in the S.F. Bay. These include sites

like Alcatraz, some of the old, civil war ammunition bunkers that still exist

along the coast, Fort Baker on the Marin County side and Angel Island

located to the Northwest of Alcatraz. Therefore, the Viewing Angel Island

 title refers to both the shadows of the tourists who are viewing it...though

without using the gun site well as the shadow of me viewing

them, the stairs and the upright Angel Island locating structure, while

making a photo of it all.....right at The Decisive Moment.

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