ON STREET PHOTOGRAPHY and other life changing events


Difference Is Everything / New Street Agenda

The Musicians © Knut Skjærven

The Musicians © Knut Skjærven

Difference is everything.

Difference is a fundamental condition for perception. Remember what happened to the white pearl on the white forehead? It turned invisible as it did not stand out to be perceived. You cannot see something that is visually not there. Even if it is actually there.  You would never know.

From micro worlds to larger cultural movements.

If there is no difference, there is nothing.

Two black pixels side by side cannot be seen, as there are nothing to set them apart.  Fill a frame with pixels the same colour and you have nothing but colour.

Difference works well in street photography too. Surprise, surprise. If you know how to work differences you can make your photographs stronger.

Take the photograph: THE MUSICIANS.

THE MUSICIANS holds two sets of distinctive figures: Three guys sitting on a bench. They are obviously the musicians. One contrabass laying in the grass behind them. The two sets are different and the photo would not be the same without them.

Yes, you could remove the contrabass and have the three sitting there on their own. Yes, you could remove the three people and have the contrabass on its own. That would be two very different pictures. Now they are there in the shot and they are there together.

That means two things for this photo. First it becomes a referential shot. The two figures, three people and the contrabass, reflect on each other.  Secondly, and even more curious: the two do not wear each other out. Quite the opposite: they give each other strength. Being different they push each other to stand out.

It is a case of visual sharpening.

Want to make a visual point of something, then make sure that you include an element that is different from the others. That is what difference is about in street photography.  From the tiny pixels to the larger relations.

You can take any photograph in the workbook as an example. The reason why you can see something at all, is that elements are different. That goes for the whole pictures as they stand out from the background, to even the tiniest elements.

© Knut Skjærven

Link to the original post at  ON THE GO: Wordbook for New Street Agenda.


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