Posts Tagged A Second Look

ON THE GO: Top Down or Bottom Up?

 

A Second Look © Knut Skjærven

A Second Look © Knut Skjærven

Why New Street Agenda? It is a reasonable question.

Too many times are the word NEW used to create initial attention to an area. It is a term that works well and for that reason it is frequently used.

That said, you often find yourself dealing with minor changes and not anything dramatically new. Often you are disappointed. And with good reason.

In street photography, the idea New Street Agenda really gives you a different and a new view on things. So much that you can rightly speak of an old and now a new street agenda. It is a change of parameter that goes to the bottom of things.

Within science, including psychology, there are two basic ways. There is a Top Down way of doing things, and there is a Bottom Up orientation.

Don’t take these notions as a play with words. There really is a huge difference on the two ways of orientation. Top Down is based on a set of preconceived models. Bottom Up is based on a radical description of what you have in front of you. Like a photograph or a genre within photography.

In street photography Top Down would be the old way. Bottom Up will be the new way.

Top Down tries to explain matters and are modeled over ideals within natural sciences. Bottom Up tries to understand things and are modeled over ideals from human sciences.

New Street Agenda adds to this. We use a bit of both. We might well advocate Top Down orientations, but always suggests that Bottom Up orientations are accompanying them. Explanations have to be accompanied by understanding.

There will be much more about this but just let me make an example on the two different ways of thinking.

If you want to learn how to shoot like HCB or Robert Frank or Rene Burri or Vivian Maier or any other, you could create a checklist based on their ways of doing and shoot according to these checklists. That would be the a Top Down handling.

Or you could study how the same heroes use visual language and techniques to get a feel for and an understanding of how they work. That would be Bottom Up.

For people who want to study and learn street photograph to eventually create their own style, Top Down will not do it. Bottom Up is the way to go.

An eye on both would be even better because that further a dialog between the two.

THE MAIN CATEGORY FOR THIS POST IS ON THE GO. CLICK TO READ MORE POSTS. THE POST IS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR ON THE GO: WORKBOOK FOR NEW STREET AGENDA.

Copenhagen, August 11, 2014.
© Knut Skjærven

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