If I could explain it, it would not be magic.
Substitute 'mystery' for 'magic', if 'magic' seems too unicornish...:)
I only got through a few of HCB's quotes before I realized this site has about 26 letters of the alphabet worth of photographers...
Just had to inject some levity. I don't think we disagree at all, I was just feeling saucier yesterday... ;)
To explain, so that it doesn't sound like endless bickering:
How I read HCB's quote was that when you coordinate objects in the frame, it sounded as though they were arranged somehow. While he was obviously exceptionally good at it, he didn't re-arrange anything, just simply knew when to release the shutter and where to point the lens (and to Mark's point, from where), thus recording a moment which would have probably gone down in exactly the same way if he hadn't been there.
He managed to get himself into the right position at the right moment, and record it on film. Everything else that happens in this circumstance is by will of the objects in front of the lens, or force of nature. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you can call that 'coordinate' than that's cool with me. I just didn't think you could. That's all.
And Chris, I thought it was 4.475µm.
Lets say you as a good photographer walked upon a scene you would do a better job, with lens choice, lighting and picking which things to include in the frame and how to show them ( depth of field, angle, contrast etc), than someone with no talent that just walks up and tries to take a picture of something.
Isn't that what photography is all about. Isn't that why 10,000 Ansel wanna-bees keep looking for his tripod holes in Yosemite.
How often do we get asked by amateurs to critique their work and we tell them, your composition is a bit off, the lens choice could have been better, you should have cropped more.
Personally I think we do a lot of arranging and coordinating the objects in a picture.
I coordinate peoples bodies in ways that shows them in more flattering ways. I choose what to include. I choose what to accentuate and what to hide. I choose how the background and foreground play into the portrait. I can't change their face but I can perfect it with light and angles.
Anyway I think we do a lot of manipulating of the elements that are in front of us.
Part of the point I'm trying to make is that ,as in the photo below, it is pretty obvious that HCB found a setting and the perspective he wanted to use then either waited for, or arranged for, the bike to zip by. http://overhereplease.wordpress.com/...e-me-think-14/
Similarly Steve McCurry applies the same principle. http://stevemccurry.com/galleries/japan?view=grid
Not everybody sees/catches the relationships of the visual elements.
I have buddies that ave shot with McCurry and my buddies learned from him real quick to find a subject person then drag said person to where you want them for the shot.
We can also do things like grab Chuchill's cigar to manipulate the mood/expression of our subjects.
I think HCB was a master of BS.
The "decisive moment" thing is cute, but we all know he really just went out and shot thousands of frames and edited them. He came up with some very nice photographs, and that, along with the thick layer of 'decisive moment' BS, is why he is famous.
The earlier quote by Vahn, instead of inspiring me, really just makes me laugh.
composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements