To me the expressive moment is simply the moment captured through the lens by the photographer when there is a clear expression of mood, emotion and feeling. It is different to Henri Cartier Bresson's 'decisive moment' which revolves around a visual harmony and balance in the frame rather than being about emotion and expression.
The ideal is to achieve both the perfect visual balance across the frame, the decisive moment, and capture the expressive moment. Of the two I would choose the expressive moment as the most important because the essence of photography is to communicate an idea or emotion to your audience. Of course the aesthetic elements of an image play a vital role, but they support the message rather than being the message - just as in architecture, form should follow function. This is the realm of photojournalism, editorial photography, advertising, street and fashion photography.
Here we use the expressive moment to get the audience to:
- really see
- and when possible act (change their behaviour)
Naturally in certain genres, like graphic or landscape photography the aesthetic side is the message, it's purely about enjoying the visual and there is not necessarily a deeper message.
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