Photo of the week No.15: Leap of Faith by J A Hampton

Here’s a photo that you may not know. The photograph is ‘Leap of Faith’ by J A Hampton on a rainy day in Hyde Park in 1939. It’s reviewed in detail by Ashleigh Mahoney in Camera Historica.

The photograph captures the tension of the moment when a pedestrian attempts to jump over a large puddle. It has all of the will he, or won’t he succeed. As as it’s a still photo, the viewer is left wondering about the outcome. I particularly like the movement of the man’s raincoat, and that you can’t see he face.

It’s a striking image that follows Henri Cartier-Bresson’s philosophy, in which he aimed to capture the immediacy of the moment, which he called The Decisive Moment. Cartier-Bresson was the pioneer of street photography, now recogonsied as photo-journalism. Some years earlier, in 1932, Cartier-Bresson captured a similar image of a man jumping over a puddle in his famous photo Behind the Gare St Lazare.

I much prefer J A Hampton’s version for it’s sharpness, dramatic movement, and composition. You decide which you prefer. J A Hampton’s photo is on the left [click to enlarge], while Cartier-Bresson’s is on the right [again click to enlarge].

the-leap-by-j-a-hampton behind-the-gare-st-lazare-1932

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