Hook and Irons

The Decisive Moment April 05 2013, 2 Comments

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.
                                                                                                                                           -Henri Cartier-Bresson

 In photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson used to speak of the decisive moment.  The moment when all things come together within the frame of a viewfinder to make the perfect photo.  That same moment, if not acted upon that passes and is gone.  Afterwards, the geometry, the expressions, the light never come together in the same way again.   The decisive moment refers to the single critical split second in which an event or experience culminates. The term also seems to define photography itself as a medium. It is the pause button to life around us. One frame equals one moment. 

In the fire service, every fireman throughout their career will receive at least one chance to act--one chance to make a life changing difference in someone's life.  The decisive moment will come and no one will be able to say when or where that moment will come.  You can work the slowest truck and pray to be left alone, but over the course of twenty-five years rest assured the decisive moment will find you.

After the moment passes, you will remember it in one of three ways:

First, that you captured the moment because you had spent your whole career preparing for it--that there was nothing more you could have done.  The concepts and the skills required to act in that moment had been rehearsed so many times that you didn't even have to think on that day.

The second way you will remember the decisive moment is to feel fortunate that you were able to guess and choose the appropriate thing to do and luckily everything turned out alright.  Perhaps you were fortunate to be with someone who knew how to act during that moment.

Finally, the way I hope none of you remember their 'decisive moment' is with shame and regret, pushing it to the farthest confines of your mind hoping to forget it because you had not done all you could to prepare for that day.  You dreaded drill time.  You hid from the busy houses and chose to bid the slowest trucks regardless of who the officer was.


 Our Lady of Angels School Fire

In the end though, we can't always control the outcome and sometimes our best preparations and efforts go unrewarded and unnoticed.  But when the decisive moment comes and your mind captures that one image that will live with you forever, what will you think when you look back on it?  

I hope you will say, 'I was there, I was present and I did all I could have done to prepare for that day.'


Bill Noonan - Hook & Irons Featured Photographer July 20 2012, 1 Comment

Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.

-Henri Cartier-Bresson

    When we set about creating Hook & Irons Co., it was always with the thought that we would reach out and collaborate with people in the fire service we admire.  And when the subject of fire photography came up, Bill Noonan was our first choice.  You see, Bill has been the official photographer for the Boston Fire Department for over forty years.  In that time, he has tirelessly chronicled the men and the history of their fine department.   When you visit his site, you will literally find thousands  of photos of the brave men of the Boston Fire Department.  Documented are action shots, candids, portraits of sooty-faced Jakes after some hard fought fire, light-hearted shots that show the brotherhood of the service, and historic shots documenting the old stations and rigs of the BFD.  All the images Bill has compiled over the years are iconic and they tell a thousand stories.
   More importantly, and maybe this is the reason why Bill Noonan's photos strike such an emotional chord with their audience, is that these are not just faces that he happened upon, these are also Bill's friends and brothers--people he has known his whole life.  These are the men and women that he has grown up and alongside with.  Maybe that's why the faces looking back at the camera are so trusting.
    We are honored that Bill allowed us to share a few of his photos.  All the pictures on our home page banner are Bill Noonan's photos and we couldn't have asked for a better way to launch Hook & Irons Co. than by displaying his work.
    If you are interested in seeing more of Bill Noonans photos you can visit his website, or you can like his Facebook page.  He posts almost daily about everything and anything related to the Boston Fire Department and the fire service in general whether it be parades, gatherings, funerals, or anniversaries of line of duty deaths suffered by the men of the BFD.  Bill Noonan is truly an artist and historian of the fire service.  Here are a few more photos from his collection.

     Bill Noonan, thank you for letting us share your work on our site.