David Hurn and Bill Jay argue that time is embodied in one of the fundamental principles of photography: ‘The exposure is made, and the image is frozen in time, at exactly the right moment’ (Looking at Photographs, 2000). Time is critical in most photographs and its influences have shaped the medium from its very beginnings, from that era when exposures were long and there was no such thing as an instantaneous image. Since then photographers have come to delight in ‘freezing thin slices of time’, perhaps reaching its apogee in the work of Cartier Bresson and the ‘decisive moment’. Catching a subject at precisely the right moment is one of the essential differences between a snapshot and a fine picture, Hurn and Jay claim.
Photo: Clock, QM3, December 2011