Young Catalan Patriot - Doug Johnson

In his book "The Decisive Moment," the quintessential street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson described his approach: “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

This is hard to do. It requires patience, skill, quick reflexes, a heightened awareness of everything around you and a LOT of luck.

This week's photo is one of my attempts to record some of Barcelona's decisive moments.


Young Catalan Patriot

Barcelona; May, 2017

First, a little background. Catalonia (an autonomous region of Spain of which Barcelona is the largest city) is fiercely nationalistic and recently announced a binding referendum on independence to be held this October -- which the central government in Madrid has banned and declared unconstitutional.

Recently, as I was standing near the entrance of Barcelona's Olympic Stadium (built for the 1992 Summer Olympics) looking for interesting compositions of the colorful flags, geometric shapes and repeating patterns, I noticed the boy in this photo making a beeline across the track and realized he was about to grab the Catalan flag. I had just seconds to grasp the significance of the budding patriot waving the flag in front of the Olympic victory podiums, and quickly "organize the forms," before his parents intervened.

All things considered, this is about as close as I've come to capturing a "decisive moment" as described by my idol Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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