Our fascination with the singular moment

"I was determined to see myself as a sort of literary Cartier-Bresson going SNAP, like that.
It was supposed to be a take each time. Stay longer and the picture would fog"
- Bruce Chatwin

The writer Bruce Chatwin certainly did just that. He was a master of distilling a story down to a snapshot - a particular moment in time. If you read 'In Patagonia' the book has lots of small, concise chapters in it, all of them short and to the point. Economical with words, Chatwin was in pursuit of trying to convey an image, of conveying a romanticised view of a single moment in time. In this regard, Chatwin was a literary-photographer. He attempted to do with his words, what we photographers are attempting to do each time we make a photograph: to isolate one moment above all others and to say 'look, this moment was special, this moment really counted'.

 Tightrope walking in Jaisamler, India. For some unknown reason to me, this moment felt more special than the others I witnessed while watching this girl on a tightrope.

Tightrope walking in Jaisamler, India. For some unknown reason to me, this moment felt more special than the others I witnessed while watching this girl on a tightrope.

Good images 'stick', not just in our memories once we view them, but also during the point of capture. They distill for us what we felt was important at that moment. I think this is why I love photography so much. It's not just about creating a beautiful image, and it's not just about capturing something to remember a place or a trip by. Instead, it's more about the recognition that one moment stood out above the others, that everything seemed to conspire to bring one moment to fruition.