I am sure you have heard the expression picking someone’s brain. It is a fast and clever way to get new knowledge sitting on the shoulders of others. And perfectly legitime, by the way. It simply means that you share someone else’s good knowledge.
Without picking other people’s brain the human race would not go far. Think of the first hunters, who learned to kill from their forefathers other in order to get meat on the table.
What about starting by picking your own brain? Most of us have a second brain and even more brains to chose from. I try to use mine as best I can. Sometimes it works.
Picking your second brain means that you deliberately use information from one area, in another area. You take tips and tricks and solid knowledge, that you have from one area and apply them to street photography.
One such piece of information I have from phenomenology. In phenomenology they use an expression, epoché, that originally comes from Greek. It means suspension.
When suspending you try to set aside all your practical knowledge of the world and dive into the phenomenon in question. Another word for it is brackets. When you bracket you freeze a moment to investigate it.
To me there are many similarities between bracketing and photography. Freezing a moment is one. Having taken a photo you have all the chance in the world to investigate it. It does not run away like the rest of the living world around you.
In photography you suspend the world to hold on to particular moments. When you do black and white photography, as opposed to colour photography, you already start suspending. You suspend colour information to better concentrate on aesthetic aspects of your visual. It is easier to see form, when you discard colour. Just as an example.
For me this technique works well. I am in no doubt that it will for you too. But you have to find it first. Your second brain.
© Knut Skjærven.
Link to the original post at ON THE GO: Workbook for New Street Agenda.