The Decisive Moment


I am once again honored to be recognized with not one, but two images which are now exhibited on the online gallery of The PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont for their January 2018 exhibit The Decisive Moment, juror Sam Abell.

The Meeting was taken during a week-long trip to Oaxaca. Each day I would walk this street to and from the central areas of town. Invariably, I would pass this group of young men with their pit bulls. I was intrigued by the relationships and obvious friendships. Each day I would work on getting a few photographs of the dogs playing. The image always alluded me. This evening, however, the scene all came together.

Congratulations to @George Nobechi and @Gene Nemeth who were also honored with acceptance into the exhibit

Sam Abell Juror’s Statement for The Decisive Moment

Henri Cartier-Bresson was the shadow juror for this exhibit. And why not? ‘The Decisive Moment’ is the comprehensive phrase used to describe Bresson’s process, aspirations and results. It is also the title of the influential book he published in 1952–a book, and a body of work, so timeless it became the theme of this exhibit 65 years later.

As juror I tried to bring Bresson and his work to bear on my selections. ‘What would Henri say about this picture?’ was a recurring thought of mine. That question presented a daunting challenge for any one image to live up to. For Bresson’s work is known not just for moments but also for the setting which surrounds those moments. It is the elegant choreography between fleeting moment and enduring setting that has made his images so celebrated.

Therefore please take time to appreciate how the photographers whose images are included in this exhibit actually worked. They worked like Bresson. That is, they saw the whole scene within which a moment–a decisive moment–could occur. Their work is honored because it lives up to Bresson’s succinct definition of the act, and the art, of photography:

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

Sam Abell


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