Archive for category Berlin

ON THE GO: Train Your Visual Muscle


The Reception © Knut Skjærven

The Reception © Knut Skjærven

A couple of months ago I did not know anything about it. Things sometimes come slowly. This time for a reason.

Turning to neuroscience as a part of this study, it gradually dawned on me. There is even something called neuroaesthetics. The whole area is blooming.

It is not a muscle as you know it from your arms and your tights and your fingers. It is more like a network of capacity that connects different parts of your brain to perform a task. That task could be to register and recognize and evaluate a visual expression, as you find it in a photograph.

This network acts much like a muscle. When you neglect it, it dies away. When you activate it, it starts to work for you. On its own.

You talk about being able to do fast and frugals (See page *). To run on autopilot (See page *). These rely on your visual muscle functioning and being properly trained.

Put it to use, train it, it gets stronger and more reliable. Quite literally you get better at whatever it is you are doing.

If you have but little beforehand, you get something. If you already are well equipped, you get stronger. No matter what activity and process you want to improve. Could be looking at a photograph. Could be even browsing reality itself.

Confronted with a picture there is a chain of actions that is triggered. First the registration of the object (if it is an object), in the retina. Then the signalling to an area at the back of your brain, to pick up the raw data. Then tiny arms reach out to other areas and bring in the full capacity of both you body and brain to get a grip of what the photograph is all about. Perceiving a photograph is a tall order even if it seems so easy.

Did you, by the way, know that the far larger part of you perception of any visual is based on your unconsciousness? Some say 95 percent. Did you also know that about 30 percent of your total brain capacity has been set aside to handle visual stimuli? Not touching, smelling, hearing or tasting. But seeing.

The conscious part of your perception and the unconscious part of it work in tandem. They support each other to make out the whole picture. It is a combination of below the line and above the line perception. With below the line as the locomotive.

That aside. What you need to take away from this knowledge is this: First, be aware that you rely on your unconsciousness to a much larger extent than you could have imagined. Second, as your unconsciousness draws on the whole battery of acquired knowledge, experience and training you will always perceive what you see a little differently from others. Sometimes very differently.

Third, and maybe the most important is you can train your visual muscle to work for you. Even if you are hard wired to a certain disposition, such a hard wiring can be modified.

This will not happen over a weekend even if you set your mind to it. More likely over a lifetime.


Copenhagen, August 20, 2014.

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved

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Itching Images: Plane Integration

The Reader © Knut Skjærven

The Reader © Knut Skjærven


By Plane Integration we understand a photograph in which two or more planes integrate.

In this shot, you will find two planes: a foreground plane and a background plane. The foreground plane is made up of the woman and the black chairs. The background plane is the CD’s covers.

To qualify as Plane Integration the link between the two has to be more than random. It has to be meaningful in a deliberate way. In this shot, the deliberate link is the repetition of the square pattern that you find in the CDs and the the woman’s blouse. Or for that matter, in the two black chair.

Plane Integration is a theme under Gestalt Factor of Similarity.

© Knut Skjærven
Copenhagen. August 10, 2014

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Itching Images: Intro to the New Version


Fernisage © Knut Skjærven

Fernissage © Knut Skjærven

Welcome to the new version of Itching Images.

Things have changed since the first series of Itching Images were launched at Street Photographers’s Toolbox more than two years ago.  Street Photographer’s Toolbox is now an integrated part of New Street Agenda. The two first workshops have been held in 2013 and 2014 and dates for the next are about to be set.

Not that any of the information on Street Photographers’s Toolbox are obsolete. The context has, however, changed. Now we have New Street Agenda, as the overall theme, and a few adjustments need to be made.

Instead of making adjustments to older posts I will develop, expand and renew the series of Itching Images right here.

As I do this definitions will be written to The Wordbook; there will be a special page on Itching Images as a submenu New Street Agenda in the page section above; and Itching Images will be integrated in future workshops; Personal Coach Program; and on the Facebook based New Street Agenda: The Academy.

This should make it more convenient for you. As well as for me.

This is the first post in the new series. It is the intro. To find all post on Itching Images in the future you could open the page Itching Images or click on category Itching Images.

Good luck with it.

By the way, the Personal Coach Program (PCP) will be ready at the end of August.

© Knut Skjærven
Copenhagen, August 10, 2014

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The Academy: August Challenge 2014

The Playground © Knut Skjærven

The Playground © Knut Skjærven


Even in this summer heat, let’s keep our heads cool and reset the July challenge for the rest of August.

From today (August 7) you need to present a well balanced shot The Erwitt Way. Meaning INCLUDING A DOG.

It has to be shot in August 2014. No oldies please since it is part of the challenge that you shoot anew.

Before you shoot and post, please observe the following:

1) Read the original July briefing which now is here:

2) Make sure that people, and there best friends, are the bearing element.

3) Be ARTICULATE and have good size and clearance on each major element in your image.

4) Don’t crawl in the corners for only yourself to see.

5) Do your very best, please.

6) Make sure that your shot is in visual balance.

7) Read The Wordbook or search the internet if you need to:

Remember that this group can only exist if you engage both in posting fine, relevant images and have an opinion on others.

Good luck with it.

Copenhagen, August 7, 2014.
© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved.

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The Academy July Challenge 2014

The Academy July Challenge 2014 © Knut Skjærven

The Academy July Challenge 2014 © Knut Skjærven



Welcome to July 2014 and the third monthly challenge at The Academy.
Even if we are headed towards high summer, many members have wanted to have a challenge even for July. Here it is.

The first thing I will kindly ask you to do is to read the challenges for May and June to get the general information written there. If you don’t read and understand it your posts might not be accurate for July and might be removed.

Yes, at The Academy you are asked to use some energy to find out things for yourself. Just as in real life .


It is all about working with and creating BALANCE in street photography.
Sometimes a shot does not feel right. Other times is strikes you instantly as being right. Many times this has to do with giving your shot a proper visual balance.

Your shots for July have to be ARTICULATE. Visually, all elements, including people, should be well separated, stand clear of each other, have breathing space and have a good and reasonable size. Don’t creep along the borders of the frame and pretend you are an ant. Speak so Occam will understand you.

You could have a thorough look at the placeholder shot for July before you do anything else. What are the elements used to create (or trying to create) balance in the shot? It will sharpen your visual intelligence to answer questions like these.

Test yourself on other shots as well.

Use The Wordbook to find definitions of words and notions. Start by looking up Occam.

The challenge for July then is training, shooting, posting and discussing balance.

Remember that you should only load ONLY ONE SHOT to July Challenge Album. This album.

You training shots should be posted to the wall for discussion. But only AFTER you have made an effort trying to comply with the July challenge.

The Academy is not a regular group for posting photographs. It is a training forum for monthly challenges. If you can’t live with that you are kindly asked to post to other forums. On Every Street may just be the thing for you.


The Academy is supposed to be a member driven group. Take part in the discussions, help your friends out when they are in trouble. Don’t post images blindly. Do your very best and have an opinion on what you have done BEFORE you post your fine shots.

The code for July is zero, minus 4, plus 3 and the album needs to have at least 15 images from 15 different members for this code to get activated for evaluation.

One last reminder.This is a groups for people who are active street photographers and active members. If you are here by a mistake, please respect this and remove yourself.

None active members will be removed by admin. Even in the summertime.

All images have to be shot from July 1 to July 31, 2014. That goes for image posted to the wall as well as to the challenge album.

That said. Have a great, great July .

Good luck with it.

Knut / Admin

Those who want to participate in the next workshop New Street Agenda, please let me know so in a private message.


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The Scream

The Scream © Knut Skjærven

The Scream © Knut Skjærven

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Young People

Young People © Knut Skjærven

Young People © Knut Skjærven

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