"The Decisive Moment"

That Moment - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Those who may be reading this blog that consider themselves to be Street Photographers are probably familiar with the term "The Decisive Moment" because that is the title of one of the definitive works of Street Photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson.  In a previous post which I called My Definition of Street Photography I alluded to this concept or element.  Looking back now, I don't think I gave it the emphasis that it deserved.

Sadly, as I look through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and so on, I see way too many photos that simply do not have anything that makes them stand out.  They are not what I would call "Scroll Stoppers".  In other words you might glance at them, but there is nothing to stop you from just scrolling on past to see if you can find some interest in the next one.

Of course, "The Decisive Moment" is not the only thing that creates a "Scroll Stopper", but it is certainly one of the favorites.  

I have discovered that one of my favorite "Scroll Stoppers" is that moment when the subject notices you and you capture their reaction in a way that gives you the opportunity to read their mind.

When I tried to read this young man's mind all I got was:  "Tại sao bạn chỉ điều đó vào tôi?"

Your comments and questions are always read and appreciated. Let me hear from you.


  1. I love the term ‘scroll stopper’. That describes good photography to a tea in our modern world of social media. When I talk about this in the classes I have taught I tell the class to think of a sunset photo contest and imagine the judges looking at thousands of sunsets. They are all full of brilliant colors and reflections on water or mountains. After scrolling through 500 of these, what would make your photo unique and stand out as a ‘scroll stopper’ as you perfectly put it!!!

    1. It's only been a little over a year since you posted this, and somehow I missed it until now. Your analogy of the judges at the Sunset photo contest is SPOT ON! I so appreciate your cyber friendship and photography and wisdom.


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