The Academy: September Challenge 2014

The Reader © Knut Skjærven

The Reader © Knut Skjærven

Welcome to the September Challenge on New Street Agenda: The Academy.

The theme for September is Plane Integration. It is an Itching Theme that I first found in some of the early pictures from Henri Carrier- Bresson. Apart from being a trail blazer for hand held, candid photography, Cartier-Bresson was also something of a trick artist. Some of his well knows photographs are actually executions of Plane Integration as we have baptised it on New Street Agenda.

Remember his shot from Greece with two ladies walking in front of a house with likewise two ladies made in concrete on the second floor of the house? That would be an example of a Soft Plane Integration (Athens 1961). Here are a few others photograph they might suggest the same technique: Tokio 1965 and shot from Leningrad 1973.  You will them all on this site.

I use the term Soft Plane Integretion, because Cartier-Bresson, as far as I know, never developed it as a specific theme but he had elements of it in some of his photographs. And so have many other of the old masters.

In this challenge you want to strive for a Hard Plane Integration. That means that you have to be very specific about it. The Reader, that you see above is a hard integration as is specific and cropped to the point. So it is meant to be, anyway.

It is an extremely good idea if you prior to shooting for this challenge spend time detecting photographs of this type in Cartier-Bresson portfolio. Or in those of other masters of street photography.  We have, in other words, added a bit of research to this challenge. Use the internet or ask around. That is part of the September challenge.

For the short definition of Plane Integration, please see The Wordbook that are there for that reason.

Plane Integration means the integration of planes.

Some additional information before you run to the streets: In street street photography you can talk about flat images and deep images. In flat images you only have one plane. In deep images you have more planes. An other word for plane is ground.  You can talk about foreground, middle ground and background. An image operating on all three grounds have three planes in it. Other would say that a photograph has different layers. As we use them here, these are the terms for the same phenomenon.

In the September Challenge you are asked to operate with two planes only. A foreground and a background. Like in the photograph above.

The two black chairs and the woman constitutes the first plane, and in some distance behind if you find the second plane, which is the shelf with CDs. There is a repeated pattern integrating the two planes. This repeated pattern is the squares that you find a) in the woman’s blouse; b) the two black chair and first and foremost in c) the CDs on the back wall.

You may not have noticed this repeated pattern but let that scare you. Integration of this type mostly works below the threshold of consciousness. Meaning, it effects your unconscious mind. Now that we make a point of it, I am am sure that you see it.

The integrating element don’t have to be squares. That can have any form or shape that you like. Could be colours, could be circles, could be direction, could be almost anything. In your challenge solution for September the integrating elements have to be articulate. For all to see and for Occam to agree on.

Here are the challenge specifics. Take a picture that

a) consist of two distinct planes and two planes only.

b) has both planes in a right angle from the camera perspective. Don’t try to do more fancy work than that.

c) has a clear separation of the two planes.

d) has an articulate and sharp handling of the theme.

e) is cropped so that it only contain the basic theme.

Please remember that The Academy is a training ground. You are meant to deliver a photograph according to this briefing and nothing else. It is the execution of the briefing that is important and not the usual race for best picture. If you can deliver both that would indeed be brilliant but luck comes later.

Also: This group is supposed to be member driven. You should only participate in the challenge if you also take an interest in what others do. Don’t post a photograph and sit back to have other do the job. Comment on their work as you expect them to send words on your photograph.

Admins will comment on some images. Not all.

The takeaway from the September Challenge is this: Plane Integration, as a shooting theme, for street photography will stay with you in the future. You will know what it is and how to shoot for it.

All pictures have to be shot in the challenge period. That is from you read this briefing to the last day of September. If needed, precisions will be made to this description along the way.

Have a good day. Good luck with September.

Copenhagen, August 22, 2014.
© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved.

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