ON STREET PHOTOGRAPHY and other life changing events


The Factor of Similarity / New Street Agenda

The Tourists © Knut Skjærven

The Tourists © Knut Skjærven

The factor of similarity is easy to understand.

It is also the most important of the gestalt factors.

It tells you that things or people that look alike tend to group in your perception of them.

Seeing a crowd of people in front of Buckingham Palace in London, you don’t say: Oh, I see 47 people waiting to see The Queen.

You say: Oh, I see a group of people waiting to see The Queen.

The difference is the group.

Only if you have special use for it, would you count all 47 individuals.  Maybe you are their guide and want to know if all are there.

Looking at the sky, you don’t start to count the birds flying. You see a flock of geese or sparrows. You don’t register them one by one.

This type of visual economization is good, since it makes perception easy and fast. You save time and you save energy. You count to 1 in stead of 47.

The factor of similarity work innately, which means that your brain does the job for you.  You don’t have to speculate much about it. Gestalt perceptions take, very much so, care of themselves.

This is also how it works in street photography.  Having knowledge about the gestalt factors you can start using them in your photography. In your analysis of your own photographs. And that of others.

The factor of similarity is a good place to start.

French translation (to come).

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. 10/01/14

This is a draft chapter to the workbook New Street Agenda. There is a workshop connected to it: New Street Agenda, Berlin June 12 – 15, 2014. If you are interested, please ask for more information at mail@theuropeans.eu or use the contact form below.

Good luck with it.

This post is in category New Street Agenda.


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This entry was posted on January 10, 2014 by in New Street Agenda, The Workbook and tagged .

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