The Art of Being Concise
September 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
LOBSINGER: Were one to substitute the word “paragraph” for “camera” in the (following) quote, this quote would match the mission of Brevity. Can you tell us a little bit about Brevity, and also say whether or not I’m right?
“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to ‘give a meaning’ to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.” – Bresson
MOORE: We talk a lot about concision, precision, density of language, the importance of intimate detail when choosing the very short essays that we publish, but it never occurred to me until you posed the question how exactly this quote from French photojournalism pioneer Henri Cartier-Bresson fits the bill. In any form of narrative, really, choosing the frame is a crucial step. Picture a photographer holding her fingers to her eyes like a square to see what is contained within the box. Writers do that too, and flash writers (along with poets) do it with a particular intensity, because the frame of their telling is especially small.