The Academy 2017/2018: In a Certain Mood (December)

The Academy 2017/2018: In a Certain Mood (December)

Girl with Bike © Knut Skjærven

I keep coming back to this photograph. I spent about an hour with it the other evening. Trying to get the tones right. Trying to get the crop right. That’s the beauty with photographs that intrigues you: You keep coming back to them.

There is something with this street photograph that I enjoy. I am not sure of what it is. Nor do I have to be sure. There is  a tension in it: The fast car driving by; the girl with the bike seemingly waiting for something. Or someone. Smoking as she stands there. Is she smoking?

It is shot at the entrance to Hackesche Höfe in Berlin with a small Leica X1 in 2011. In early September. Not that the camera matters much.

In visual communication, and that is relevant for us in this context, there is a basic distinction between denotation and connotation.

Denotation is what is physically shown in the photograph. I see a black car at some speed; a young girl holding a bike; facades in the background; several bikes parked on the other side of the street; two people walking. Among other things.

Connotation, on the other hand, is the mood, the feeling of the photograph. There is always as certain mood.

The mood is harder to describe than what is denoted. What it precisely is in Girl With Bike, as hard to say. There is no definite answer to that question.  You could perhaps say that there was a certain tension. A clash between the hardness of a busy city and the softness of a human being.

I am sure you sens it even if it is hard to put into words. There is a certain mood.

That is just what the December challenge is about. You are to shoot street photographs with a certain mood.

Shooting starts December 1st and finishes December 31st, 2017. You need to take the photographs during that period.

Please remember that this is still about street photography. Pictures should be taken in public, cannot be posed or staged and should be handled with a minimum of editing. Human being(s) have to be the bearing element. No minors please.

Post 3 of your best photographs during December. No more than that.

Do your very best. Good luck.

Best regards

November 21, 2017.
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About author

Knut Skjærven

Knut Skjærven is a Norwegian photographer, writer and researcher working out of Copenhagen, Denmark.