In street photography you should pay attention to the phenomenon of levelling and sharpening.
It is what happens naturally when you look at a photo. You innately twist the information to make it fit. You level and you sharpen.
The two also come in handy when you make street photography. You may want some control over how your viewer sees and understand your photograph.
Again, this has to do with the brain wanting to make it easy on itself. It will tend to reduce or level matters that do not fit. Make them almost go away. This is levelling.
On the other hand, if matters definitely do not fit, the brain will push a non-fitting element in it own direction and thus try to minimize a possible discomforting ambiguity. This we call sharpening.
Both levelling and sharpening are there to make a clearer picture. In street photography this should be taken literally: To make a cleared picture.
The important issue is to how to find out when levelling is likely to occur, and when sharpening is likely to occur. What it the benchmark for shifting from one to the other?
I am not sure we need an accurate answer to this question beyond knowing that these triggers do exist and can be calculated with.
Obviously, both levelling and sharpening have to do with what overall value or strength an ambiguous element has in a photograph.
By value or strength I mean size, placement, visibility, integration, composition and the lot that have to do with the perception of the element.
The photo shown, Press Conference, could be used as an example when it comes to both levelling and sharpening. Both can be found and are at work.
Levelling happens within the crowd of journalist in the background. Sharpening happens in relation to the gentleman standing on the platform.
You want to level the crowd. You want to sharpen the gentleman standing.
You want to make it easy on yourself.
French translation (to come).
© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. 14/01/14
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.
Good luck with it.
This post is in category New Street Agenda.