When you look at a photograph, you execute a tacit content analysis. When you regard a real life scene, you perform a content analysis, as well.
In ordinary looking and seeing, be it a real life situation or a photograph, content analysis is already at play. How else would you know and appreciate what you are looking at?
Science is more specific. There is a distinction between a quantitative and a qualitative method.
If you have a series of photographs in front of you can count the number or people in each and come up with an average of people per photograph. That would be a quantitative analysis.
If you look for attitudes of the people involved, as an example, that would be part of a qualitative analysis.
In describing photographs in New Street Agenda we will go a step further: we will introduce a Likert Scale.
A Likert scale is a simple way of detecting attitudes or opinions. You simply mark a scale when you answer.
The opinion you want to investigate could be this: Do you think that street photographs should have people as the bearing element?
The scale you are asked to mark, could be like the one below:
High agreement Average Agreement Low Agreement
* – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – * – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – * – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – * – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -*
Mark the scale and you have your answer.
There are at least three critical areas using such a scale. You need to know them all:
The first is formulating the case you want to investigate. The second is your ability to read images. The third is the truthfulness in giving the answer.
A Likert Scale can be used to detect your strength and weaknesses as a (street) photographer. It is possible to suggest a road ahead and set up a customised training program. As you like it.
Obviously, this will not only improve your street photography but you visual instinct as a whole.
The Likert Scale, by the way, is called so because if was first put to use by an American psychologist named Rensis Likert (1903 – 1981).
© Knut Skjærven.
Link to the original post at ON THE GO: Workbook for New Street Agenda.