Decisive Moments is drawn from the extensive, rich collection of 20th-century and contemporary photographs assembled over 40 years by Jim and Cherye Pierce.
French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote in the preface to his 1952 book Images à la Sauvette (published as Decisive Moments in the U.S.), “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” His well-known “decisive moment” image Behind the Gare St. Lazare, of a man in mid-step over a puddle, opens this exhibition. His capturing that precise moment imbues the image with its visual power and magic.
This exhibition of 80 images from the Pierce collection examines the idea of the decisive moment as it has evolved in photographic practice from the early 20th century to the present—from Cartier-Bresson’s well-timed click of the camera shutter to Sandy Skoglund’s Fresh Hybrid, in which she created an elaborate scene of found materials and real and fake models. Over the last century photographers have had a much more deliberate, manipulative approach, conceptualizing and constructing their own decisive moments, controlling the visual, psychological, and emotional impact of their images through darkroom techniques, the staging of images, the use of new technologies such as computer digital imaging, and the incorporation of non-photographic media and materials.
The exhibition examines these strategies through the works of:
Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Jamie Baldridge, Herbert Bayer, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Dan Burkholder, Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Clift, Binh Danh, Dawn DeDeaux, Robert Doisneau, Andrew and Stuart Douglas, John Patrick Dugdale, William Eggleston, Lalla Essaydi, Dan Estabrook, Joan Fontcuberta, Michael Garlington, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Todd Hido, Kenro Izu, Lotte Jacobi, Bill Jacobson, Krista Jurisich, Yousuf Karsh, Thomas Kellner, André Kertesz, Hyeyoung Kim, Soo Kim, Heinrich Kuhn, Mona Kuhn, Louvière+Vanessa, Deborah Luster, Vera Lutter, Clarence John Laughlin, Danny Lyon, Michal Macku, Robert Mapplethorpe, Maria Martinez-Cañas, Duane Michals, Joseph Mills, Wendell MacRae, Don McCullin, Arno Raffael Minkinnen, Lisette Model, Sarah Moon, Daido Moriyama, Todd Murphy, Jim Naughten, Irving Penn, Doug Prince, Holly Roberts, Meridel Rubenstein, Josephine Sacabo, Aaron Siskind, Sandy Skoglund, Jack Spencer, Doug and Mike Starn, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Dan Tague, Maggie Taylor, Jerry Uelsmann, Theodore Fonville Winans, Michael Wolf.