Design Basics Used to Create Balance

Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered the father of modern photojournalism and was a founding member of the legendary Magnum photo agency (Magnum Photos). His photographs are celebrated for their precise balance of forms in compositions that are revealed at what he termed “the decisive moment.” This term refers to that moment when action and composition are delicately poised in the split second of their greatest significance. In this paper, you analyze how motion is harnessed to create balance in a Cartier-Bresson photograph.

To prepare:

  • Review Chapter 7 in the course text, The Photographer’s Eye.
  • Review Henri Cartier-Bresson, Place de I’Europe, Gare Saint Lazare, 1932. Retrieved from
  • Review the articles and documentary from this week’s Learning Resources for more inspiration and examples of photographs.
  • Select one of the three design basics that create motion in photographs.
  • Considering the following questions about the Cartier-Bresson photograph:
    • Where is the leaping man going and how fast is he traveling? What clues did Cartier-Bresson give you to determine this?
    • How does the photograph demonstrate contrast, dynamic tension, rhythm, and/or depth?
    • How does the balance of shadow and light contribute to the dynamic action of the picture?
    • What role does stillness play in the picture?
    • If you were shooting this type of picture, what shutter speed would you use?

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

Post an analysis of your selected design basic that helps to create motion in the Cartier-Bresson photograph, Place de I’Europe, Gare Saint Lazare, 1932. Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to this week’s Learning Resources, or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced. (Approximately 250 words).

In your post, be sure to:

  • Refer to cite at least one example from your course reading.

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources, or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced.


Freeman, M. (2013). The photographer’s eye: Graphic guide: Instantly understand composition & design for better digital photos. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

  • Chapter 7, “Motion” (pp. 122–137)

Rowse, D. (n.d.). A beginner’s guide to capturing motion in your photography. Retrieved from
In this article, the author explains not only how to capture motion, but why a photographer might strive to capture motion in photography.

Suler, J. (n.d.). The psychology of the “decisive moment.” Retrieved from
In this article, Suler explains the impact of Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” theory on photography.

The following websites comprise galleries that allow you to experience the fundamental elements of photographic art.

Rigal, J. (2012). André Kertész, Meudon, 1928. Retrieved from

Cartier-Bresson, H. (1932).Gare Saint Lazare.[Photograph]. Retrieved from

Required Media

Cartier-Bresson, H. (2014, March 13). Pen, brush and camera [Video file]. Retrieved from
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 50 minutes.

Optional Resources

Whelan, R. (2002). Robert Capa in love and war. Retrieved from

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