photo by Annette Simmons
CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN JONES
I was 15 years old when I discovered a book of photographs in a shopping mall bookstore. It was a collection of “street” photographs taken around the world by a relatively unknown Swiss photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. His photographs seemed to capture people at the precise instant they were uniquely individual and, at the same time, universally human. Cartier-Bresson described his style of shooting as “The Decisive Moment,” made possible by the use of small and unobtrusive 35mm cameras.
My father agreed to buy a Yashica JP, on sale for $75, if I agreed to pay for film and developer with money I earned selling records at a local record shop. I set up a tiny darkroom in small corner of the garage and began developing my film and making prints. By the time I was a senior in high school I was contributing to my high school annual and the local newspaper, the Raleigh Times. By twenty six, I made my living in commercial photography in Raleigh, but moved to Manhattan when I was twenty eight and travelled internationally for magazines and corporations. I have always kept a camera loaded with B&W, looking for images that I connected with. I continue to travel and enjoy storytelling and creating metaphors with my camera.
Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, by Cartier-Bresson, among others, helped to define “The Decisive Moment,” and proved that photography can communicate universal themes across cultural and language barriers.