What’s a picture story?

In the heat of trying to photograph an event on deadline, it’s sometimes easy to forget the basics of what constitutes a picture story and what’s required to capture it. I’m reminded by the late Henri Cartier-Bresson, who notes in the book “Photographers on Photography”, that a picture story involves a joint operation of the brain, eye and heart. He put it this way: “The objective of this joint operation is to depict the content of some event which is in the process of unfolding, and to communicate impressions. Sometimes a single event can be so rich in itself and its facets that it is necessary to move all around it in your search for the solution to the problems it poses — for the world is movement, and you cannot be stationary in your attitude toward something that is moving. Sometimes you light upon a picture in seconds; it might also require hours or days. But there is no standard plan, no pattern from which to work. You must be on the alert with the brain, the eye, the heart; and have a suppleness of body.”