ON STREET PHOTOGRAPHY and other life changing events


December Academy Challenge Up Running

Twin Sisters © Knut Skjærven

Twin Sisters © Knut Skjærven

Welcome to the second challenge in On Every Street: The Academy.  I have been looking forward to this.

The December challenge will last from December 1 till December 31, 2013. During that period you are encouraged to shoot and load from 1 to 3 photographs to the December Album at On Every Street: The Academy on Facebook.

All shots need to have been taken in December 2013.

If you want to test some of your solutions, you are welcome to post them to The Wall of the same group.

The Wall is also the place where you initiate relevant discussions to the monthly challenge.

You should qualify all your posts and tell people why you think they fit to the briefing. Images posted “blindly” might be removed.

The Briefing

A couple or years ago I had the idea that I should do a content analysis of all Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs. Maybe I could get a notion of why he was so successful and highly acclaimed. Yes, I am indeed a fan of HCB.

The task was too big so I dropped it, but I continued studying his photographs for my own pleasure’s sake.

HCB engages in a variety of themes and styles. What struck me, among other things, was HCB’s sense of humour. Many of his shots were Itching Images.

One of the techniques he used was Visual Repetition. He simply repeated a theme or an object within a shot, and thereby got a humorous and sometimes absurd effect.

In this context we will a call a certain type of Visual Repetition for Two Of A Kind.

Two Of A Kind is the first and main theme for the December challenge.

Look at the photo above. Look at the Twin Sisters. They are two of a kind. So are their cellos. They even work in synchrony.

The red text on the photo says:  Factor Of Similarity: Two Of A Kind / Synchronous Movement. And it says, Vector.

Two Of A Kind is a subcategory if what is know as Factor of Similarity. It is a part of Gestalt Psychology, which is at the heart of Street Photographer’s Toolbox.

It is not necessary for you to dig deep into Gestalt Psychology for this challenge, but it is good to know the context. Gestalt factors are suggested to work subconsciously. They are innate. That goes for real life perception as is does for perception related to photography / street photography. They are useful both for reading pictures and for making them. With this challenge you will start using them :-).

Did HCB know about Gestalt Psychology? I have found no evidence they he did and my best guess is that he handled some of it instinctively. That is more than possible. Other major street photographers do the same, and there are plenty of examples on their use of The Factor of Similarity.

The second theme for this challenge is Vector.

While shooting Two Of A Kind you will install a main Vector in your photo. Makes it even more challenging, right? Don’t worry there are Vectors all over, but here you need to identify One Major and have it for all to recognise in your photograph.

Also, your Two Of A Kind need to be the First Figure in your shot. It needs to be loud and clear and visually well separated from the Ground.

The Challenge

That is it, ladies and gentlemen: Make a picture that has: 1) A Synchronous Two Of A Kind; 2)  that also has a clear and distinct First Figure, and 3) contains a major Vector that we all will recognise.

Please use The Wordbook for definitions to these terms. If that is not enough, use the internet to elaborate on terms used.

That done, you are welcome to load up to three photographs to the December album.

Please note that The Academy, at this stage has 40 plus members, and if all load three photographs, there will be lots of fine photographs for you to admire and to comment on.

Good luck with it.


As said, for the more precise understanding of the terms in use in this session, please use the internet. Or use The Wordbook.

There are brief definitions given above, but you may want to expand on them.  Some of the terms used you will, however, not find on the internet, since we invent and bends terms to fit the area of street photography as we go along. Use your imagination in stead.

If you are in doubt ask other members to help you out.

The OES tradition

Please remember that the guidelines from On Every Street  are the ones we use here.

All images posted to the challenge should a) have people as the district and bearing element; b) be shot in a public area; c) be un-staged and not posed; d) and be straight photography. You can make minor global changed, but that is about all.

Also, images need to be compliant with national and international laws and regulations. Do not post images of minors unless your have parents permission to do so. All of this is solely your responsibility

When you comment

Commenting on other members’ fine trials are expected.

Please note that the monthly challenges are NOT competitions. We are not looking for best or second best photo. What we are looking for is how well the photographer handles the challenges in question.

That is what your comments, first and foremost, need to reflect on.

Do your very best

Good work will reveal itself, but those who try the hardest are the ones who deserve the accolades.

The images you submit to the challenge should all be distinct in answering the challenge. Don’t post anything else.

How you handle the challenge should be visually self evident. After all photography is all about seeing, and not about explaining. Even so, you are welcome to explain what you have done, but don’t write an essay.


Shoot and post 1 to 3 photographs in which you have a) a Synchronous Two Of A Kind; b) a clear and distinct Vector, and make sure c) that your Two Of I Kind is the First Figure.

As this is the second challenge you should build your solution on what you already know from the November Challenge.


Please keep a copy of your photographs.  Working with albums in Facebook Groups can be a hazard.

Terms and expressions for the December Challenge:

Gestalt psychology, Gestalt factors, Factor of Similarity, Factor of  Proximity, First Figure, vector.

Terms from former challenges:
 second frame, node, conscious, unconscious, subcenter, microcenter, segregation.

Berlin, November 28, 2013

© Knut Skjærven 2013. All rights reserved.


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This entry was posted on November 28, 2013 by in The Academy, The Challenge and tagged , , .

barebones communication

Berlin Black And White

Street Photographer’s Toolbox

At The Gallery © Knut Skjærven

The Europeans

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Phenomenology And Photography

© Knut Skjærven


© Knut Skjærven

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