Karen Turner PHD | The Defining Moment
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The Defining Moment

The Defining Moment

By Barbara Stitzer for Boomeryearbook.com

You know what really drives me crazy? When you’re at an event, a family reunion, as company picnic, whatever, and some guy starts taking pictures of every little insignificant thing. Like me eating corn on the cob. Corn on the cob in one of my favorite foods in the world, but there is nothing beautiful, funny or interesting about me eating it. Yet, every single time I bring that golden sheaf to my lips, lips stretched back, gums all exposed, tiny yellow gunk in between my teeth, someone is taking a picture of it. Or at weddings. People take pictures of the stupidest things at weddings. Remember about 15 years ago, when the big rage was to eschew hiring a professional wedding photographer in favor of littering fling cameras all over the tables so that your closest friends could capture your most intimate, personal, one-of-a-kind memories? An entire generation of people ended up spending money to develop thousands of pictures of crotches and nose hairs, and nothing to remember the most important day of their lives with.

The diehards call it taking “candids”. I call that kind of photography Kamikaze photography. It’s totally meaningless. What do people do with these pictures? Line their liter boxes? Ick.

In 1948, Photographer Philippe Halsman set off to find the defining moment in a photograph. “Dali Atomicus” featured a crazy looking painter, his easel and chair, all jumping in the air while three cats and a bucket full of water flew toward them. You can check it out right here if you’re not familiar with it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyc/95165918/ . There was obviously no Photoshop during those times, so every single element had to be coordinated perfectly to time with everything else, creating a “defining moment”, where everything comes together into a moment that is like no other. This is what you’re looking for in every picture that you take.

How do you capture the defining moment? The easiest way is to keep shooting after your subjects think you’re done taking the picture. Most of the time when you take a picture, the only thing on your subject’s mind is “Just take the %$#&^&* picture, already.” And that’s what they look like. They are usually talking, pulling at themselves or looking away from the camera. But after you take the picture, people relax, and you get the true life that lurks behind the pose.

This picture of Courtnie and Perrie is a nice, clean shot. The lighting is nice and you can see how strong their sisterly bond is. If that’s all you get, well, ok, that’s great, but immediately after I took that shot, I pretended that I was done, gave them “the nod”, and then ramming speed hefted the camera back up to my eye right away. I took this shot: Ooh, aah. Yes, Courtnie’s eyes are closed, but SO WHAT? This is the shot! This is the moment. There is something special here, and when you get something special, it’s time to celebrate. And when I celebrate, I eat corn on the cob.



www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

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