Decisive Moments

For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

To take a photograph means to recognize – and simultaneously and within a fraction of a second – both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.

        (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

"We fished all the costumes out of the chest again next morning and I made Nadejda dress up in the most resplendent and romantic of them: a wide crimson velvet skirt and a tight green, heavily embroidered bodice stiff with galloons of gold lace and edged with small gold buttons and with slashed sleeves which hung loose from the elbow like tulip petals; then came a belt with huge silver clasps, and all the hanging gold coins and chains we could find; and finally a low, flat-tasseled fez trimmed with red gold askew over the thick, straight-combed mass of her fair hair. Then I arranged her in an odalisque pose, a chibouk held aslant in one hand and the other arm flung negligently along the back of the divan. The sun poured in from the many bright panes behind, and beyond them receded the treetops, the storky roofs, the domes and the mountains: a ravishing hybrid vision, half captured Circassian princess, half Byronic heroine: Mademoiselle Aisse, Haidee or the Maid of Athens."

(Patrick Leigh Fermor)

    In West End Blues, Armstrong tiptoes to a high B-flat, holding it for four shimmering bars before descending majestically from the firmament in what Gunther Schuller describes as “an impassioned, almost stammering repetitive phrase that seems to float, completely unencumbered rhythmically, above the accompaniment.” After such eloquence there is nothing more to be said.

        (Terry Teachout)


     Let those who wish have their respectability – I wanted freedom, freedom to indulge in whatever caprice struck my fancy, freedom to search in the farthermost corners of the earth for the beautiful, the joyous, and the romantic.

(Richard Halliburton)




     All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.                           

(T. E. Lawrence)


    The endless fascination of these people for me lies in what I call their inward power. It is part of the elusive secret that hides in everyone, and it has been my life's work to try to capture it on film. The mask we present to others and, too often, to ourselves may lift for only a second – to reveal that power in an unconscious gesture, a raised brow, a surprised response, a moment of repose. This is the moment to record. Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can.     

(Yousuf Karsh)


Apart from its elusive bouquet and complex aroma, a great wine presents to the eye joy of colour, and through the sense of touch, flatters the palate and throat, not only with a refreshing sense of coolness and grateful feeling of satisfaction, but with the incomparable softness of its velvety texture.

(H. Warner Allen)