Archive for Exercise 13

A Standard View

Posted in Project work with tags on April 7, 2010 by Judy Bach


Henri Cartier-Bresson is well know for his documentary style photography using a 50mm standard lens. “the sheer normality of a   standard focal length keeps the attention firmly on what is happening on the scene, without distraction” pg 30 OCA Photography 1 People and place .However there is certainly nothing ordinary about his work “Cartier-Bresson has said that Surrealism was a formative influence on him. The surrealists understood and went to great lengths to convince others of the density and magic of everyday life; in this sense , his debt to them is clearIntroduction by Michael Brenson in “Henri Cartier-Bresson” Thames & Hudson, London, 1989.

What I find amazing about his work is how he managed to compose and frame, in an instant, such compelling images. My efforts seem rather pathetic compared to such mastery. My previous course, The Art of Photography, taught me to consider graphic details such as lines , curves, and diagonals, that create movement within the frame. Its difficult to react quickly and also consider the artistic aesthetic  at the same time, Henri Cartier-Bresson is the master of ” the decisive moment

I took the following three images below as I felt the subjects’ were quite interesting and were quirky enough to use a standard focal length.

All three images below  F6.3             1/125           ISO 200              @35mm

This lady’s choice of hat made me smile, she certainly stood out in a crowd. The sheer normality of the surrounding scene makes her even more conspicuous.


Pig roast @ a street market. Not an everyday occurrence, again the focal length does not distract from what is happening in the frame.

I have never really used this focal length when out and about. I think it really helps to keep the direction on the subject without the  distortion that wide or longer focal lengths can sometimes create. Great for capturing a truly representative image of somebody in their immediate surroundings.

Another unsuspecting passer-by, I was able to take this without her taking any notice of me. A real advantage of using a lens at this focal length is that it is far less conspicuous than my longer 70-200 Canon L lens. This certainly helped me feel more comfortable when taking these images.

F10              1/125              ISO 400    @35mm