I’m actually not speaking at all about the moment of which many of you are likely thinking. It’s not that magic moment. The moment the shutter clicks. I’m actually thinking about the moment I transitioned in my photographic approach from amateur to professional.This moment occurred when I decided to never postpone nor pass up an opportunity to photograph. All of those times I’d said to myself, “I’ll just get it next time” came to a head, and I realized that next time, no matter how special and unique, would ever be the same as that moment right then.
This image of a small, unknown monastery in Jerusalem, never would have been captured had my approach not been altered many years ago.
I was walking home from a sunrise shoot of the city, when I passed several nuns entering the grounds to the monastery. I walked past them several feet, intent on returning to my hotel to eat breakfast. I paused, turned around, and walked through the gate. I followed the nuns to the monastery doors, where a short discussion in Italian ensued and they invited me in to observe the service.
Except for the words of the sermon, and the occasional singing from the choir, it was silent. I quickly changed lenses and set up my tripod before entering the chapel itself, as to make as little noise as possible.
I knew, as soon as I entered through the chapel doors that this was a special place, not only in religious terms, but this was a visual gold mine. Warm, diffused light was entering through large windows on the east side. It enveloped the room with promise. Light, lines and story all converged to make for an outstanding and unforgettable scene. This, truly, was a moment.