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John Suler on Photography, Psychology, and Henri Cartier-Bresson

Date Jun 13, 2018
Type Lecture

In this digital age when we are flooded all day long with many types of images created via many different methods, what makes photography unique? Many will agree that the answer to this question can be found in The Decisive Moment, the classic book by Henri Cartier-Bresson that set the stage for one of the most controversial, mythic, and even mystical concepts in the history of photography.

In this lecture, Professor John Suler will describe how his research has identified the essential ingredients of a decisive moment photograph, including the capture of a unique fleeting moment, the sensing of visual coalescence, the anticipation of closure, losing and creating oneself, and the portrayal of “little human moments” that point to the universal struggles and triumphs of the human condition.


Dr. John Suler is professor of psychology in the Science and Technology Center at Rider University. For 35 years he has published widely on the role of images in creativity, personal identity, psychotherapy, and interpersonal perception. As a longstanding member of online photo sharing groups, a founder of the new discipline known as cyberpsychology, and author of the groundbreaking book Psychology of the Digital Age, he specializes in research on the experience of images in social media. His most recent book, with the late Richard Zakia, is the fifth edition of Perception and Imaging: Photography as a Way of Seeing (Focal Press).