A Fraction Of A Second

http://100photos.time.com/photos/hs-wong-bloody-saturday    |H.S Wong 1937

In the summer of 1937, Japanese troops sailed into Shanghai and the bombing caused widespread death and panic. Wong, a journalist, came to the bombed station and saw the crying child. He quickly took pictures and carried the child to safety. The photo, known as “bloody Saturday,” is one of the most powerful news photographs ever taken, and the pain of the baby is thought to represent the plight of China and the bloodiness of Japan.

At that time, Wong saw a man helping two children near the railway track. He first lifted one child off the rail and put it on the platform, and then went to hold another injured child. Acting on instinct as a photographer, wang immediately captured the scene and ran to save the child. Due to the film is not much, finally presented only a dozen seconds. On September 15 in that year, the photo was shown in the United States, causing huge repercussions. At the same time, the major newspapers used “Bloody Saturday” to report the Japanese bombing of civilians. It was said 136 million people had viewed the image. Of those, at least 50 million were viewed through newspapers and 80 million through newsreels. There were only a couple of billion people in the world at that time, and a lot of places still lived primitive life style. We can say that anyone who could read a newspaper or a newsreel had seen this picture.

The response was unprecedented, shocking not only the United States, but the world. Western countries, previously indifferent to Japan’s invasion of China, suddenly changed their attitude, condemning the Japanese army and expressing sympathy for the Chinese people.

To this extent, this photo shows the power of truth and misery.  It is a scene “just ‘out there’ waiting to be taken, captured from nature, or simply a ‘quotation from reality’ requiring nothing but pointing and shooting in the right direction.” (Irvine). The truth value of the picture was displayed in the war. A small picture could arouse such a big social impact. In Bresson’s own words, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”

In my opinion, the theory of decisive moment can be described in another way: the photographer should be involved in the happening events and summarize the essence of the whole event. For a complete event to occur, there must be an event that can fully represent the center of the overall event. What I do as a photographer is to forget my own existence and integrate myself into the whole event to find this event and shoot it, so as to achieve the expression I need.

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2013/04/margaret-thatcher-beyond-caring.html  |Paul Graham 1984-1985

First of all, many people must feel that this kind of picture is just like a random shot, who can change who. But all of his pictures were taken in large format. And a lot of people have known how troublesome is to shoot a large picture. It can be said that the photographer will be very cautious when shooting. So every single picture of the big picture was taken with a lot of thought. One of the most striking points of this picture is the sight of adults looking to the right and children looking to the left. Adults sat there with dull faces and numbness, while the child in the pram in front and the child on the bench behind seemed to be full of vitality and curious about the world. From the perspective of clothes, it is also like a metaphor. Adults are dark colors, while children are lively colors, like a contradiction of The Times. Back then, the thatcher government used economic measures to rein in wage demands, leading to rising unemployment across England. As a result, there will be a lot of job seekers waiting anxiously. Graham recorded what was happening in the moment.

To this extent, we can say that the picture was made. Graham intended to use the contrastive tension to depict the that period: the Thatcher Government took economic measures to control people’s demand for wages, which led to the increase of unemployment in England. As a result, there were a lot of job seekers waiting anxiously. The photo not only provides a kind of testimony, but also a kind of material for people to imagine. The original country was like this, and the audience would inject their own interpretation into it.

The real life that lens faces is the marble collision of numerous and various events, presenting the appearance of despicable and accidental in every instant. Therefore, it must be a fantasy to assume that there exists a moment that can decisively present the whole event. It is impossible for everything and people in the moment to present the complete meaning. However, some immediate associations can be organized by pressing the shutter and the moment of composition. At the same time, such associations can also present the structure of forms.

This photo was took in this spring break. My friend use an app called NOMO to record that moment. This app can make the digital photo have the film sense. These days, film sense is a kind of nostalgia. People can simply using apps instead of real film camera to create such a photo with graininess. And we do not need to add an additional filter to this picture. And then I posted the photo on my social account to record my spring break.

Nowadays, more and more people love taking pictures whatever technology they use. Some are using cameras, some are using phones. Photography is now the most popular, the most healthy, the most widely involved medium. It is easy to use, to spread and with high viscosity.

It makes the art become public art. People can just use their phone to create a piece of art.

First of all, the economic cost is low. After photography enters the digital age, as a photography lover, you no longer need a special darkroom and do not need to buy a large amount of film and photographic paper. The substantial reduction of consumable investment makes the economic cost of photography reach a very low level.

Secondly, the time cost is low. If I am a painting lover, I need to sit somewhere for an afternoon for a painting. Although this problem also exists in some subjects of photography, most of the time it is very efficient. Furthermore, the technical threshold is low, you do not need to learn any skill at first. You can just press the shutter. And with the fast development of different picture-enhancing apps, people can adjust their pictures easily.

Finally, the threshold for sharing is low, nowadays, I took a favorite photo which can be uploaded to weibo and ins, and then within a few hours, all my friends have seen it, sent to some picture websites to a wider audience.

Besides, one of the most important aspects of photography is the breakdown of concepts. People hate abstract concepts, which are relatively abstract when expressed in words. Picture is a more advanced information carrier than text. It can express the delicate and vivid side, such as people’s eyes. Text is less direct than a picture.

From my perspective, photography expresses an attitude: I am alive at the moment, I love the life in front of me. With taking photos more frequently, people will experience beauty in three levels: ignorant perception of beauty, clear discovery of beauty and skillful creation of beauty.


Alan Buckingham, Photography. New York: DK, 2004. Excerpts.

Cartier-Bresson, Henri and Michael L. Sand. 1999. The Mind’s Eye : Writings on Photography and Photographers. 1st ed. New York, N.Y: Aperture.

Martin Irvine, “Introduction to Photography and the Optical Image