Audio Video Class, and The Decisive Moment

AMotD (Awesome Moment of the Day) Hearing my voice being recorded through a decent microphone. Or maybe it was the first bite of a great Chipotle burrito. IMG_5221.jpg
Current main project: Trying to keep my head above water.
Reading: The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson

I am getting the feeling that the classes I most feared and/or thought were not what I wanted to be doing are going to be my favorite courses this quarter. As I’ve probably said, when I saw “Audio / Video” on my schedule I was… nonplussed. Their reasoning is that it will teach skills every visual communicator needs to have is certainly valid, and may even be so in my case, but what I’m currently vibrating with excitement about is just being able to do it, just for my own edification. Or maybe the vibrations are from the coffee I chugged before going into the lab.

We got our hands on some recording gear and started to learn how to use it. Cardioid mics and Marantz recorders and sample rates and tracks and all that. Seems like it should be fun and easy. Then I tried to record something – and only that thing – fun? yes; easy? no way.


Oh, as an aside, at some point I got a shotgun mic and started pointing it at absolutely everything. Had it pointing at my camera and recorded some of the clicks and shutters and stuff, and when I turned the camera off I could hear the automatic sensor cleaning! Weird! (In the clip above, listen veeeeeery carefully for some squeaking after the first two louder clicks.)

A tomato, fresh from the farmer’s market, inspired me to grab my roommate’s macro
lens and take a few shots.

During the summer I was worried I wouldn’t have any ideas for projects. In three days of classes I’ve filled a page with projects I want to do, and I’ve ordered a Moleskine notebook so I can easily carry it with me at all times to jot down the next idea. Executing may still be an issue – I am still fairly terrified of being in a studio with assistants and models and makeup artists and whatnot for my Fashion class – but for ideas I am not lacking. (Still, if you have ideas, send me an email!)

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In an effort to get something – anything – off of my ever-growing to-do list I stopped in the library during a break to read Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment. (I had planned to go on to and buy a copy for myself, only to find that it is out of print and unless I wanted to cough up $700 I’d have to make do with the library’s copy – missing several plates – from their non-circulating section – kept under lock and key.)

Already within the first few pages (of his text, before the photos) are a dozen things that resonate, and even a couple that I disagree with… am I inexperienced and naive, or is it ok to disagree with the Master?

In whatever picture-story we try to do, we are bound to arrive as intruders. It is essential, therefore, to approach the subject on tiptoe – even if the subject is a still-life. A velvet hand, a hawk’s eye – these we should all have. It’s no good jostling and elbowing.

So far so good.

And no photographs taken with the aid of flash light either, if only out of respect for the natural light – even when there isn’t any of it.


Unless a photographer observes conditions such as these, he may become an intolerably aggressive character.

That I can certainly agree with, though. But one of my fears here at school is that I am too timid, not agressive enough. I’m trying to decide if that is my nature and I will leave the in-your-face stuff to others, if I need to learn to be less shy, or most likely some of both. Anyhow, there were many more “yes! I understand!” or “hmm, not sure I agree” moments, but I ran out of time to make notes before running off to the next meeting.

First page of Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive moment

Later he says that all the complicated gear and lights and reflectors prevent the “birdie from coming out”. I wonder if I can cite that as an excuse when our Fashion class heads over to the studio?

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