The Academy 2017/2018: Your Very Best Shots, Please. (January).

The Academy 2017/2018: Your Very Best Shots, Please. (January).


Woman with Umbrella, Paris © Knut Skjærven.

January will soon be here. A new year will start. Soon it is slowly getting lighter and in a while also warmer. In Europe that is. 

Time for setting standards high and do the best you can. Are you ready for that?

There are certain photographs that I have taken that like better than others. I have a good feeling about them and even if I may make minor changes there are not many pixels I will would seriously move around. 

I just did a makeover of this picture that was shot in Paris in July 2013. The last time I was in Paris. Thinking I will soon have to go back again.

I am happy with this photograph. 

It is what I call a Small Coin photograph. It does not go for high drama or what I call Big Bill photography. Big Drama in street photography does not interest me the least.

I would rather have it that John Szarkowski was right when he said the following:

The first thing a photographer learned was that photography dealt with the actual; he had not only to accept this fact, but to treasure it: unless he did, photography would defeat him. He learned that the world itself is an artist of incomparable inventiveness, and to recognize its best works and moments, to anticipate them, to clarify them and make them permanent, requires intelligence both acute and supply.

John Szarkowski: The Photographers Eye, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2009.

Here is the deal for January: 

1. You need to shoot in black and white. 
2. You should be visibly inspired by classical European street photography. (That is a slight modification of the October Challenge).
3. You should have a distinct visualisation of the Figure/Ground principles. (That is the content of the November Challenge).
4. You should capture a picture with a certain mood. (That is the content of the December Challenge).
5. You should post one, two or up to three street photographs, that in your own opinion are so good that you afterwards would not want to change ‘a single pixel’ in them.

To do that you need, of course, to take good photographs. Photographs you are happy with and that objectively also works for others.

As nothing comes from nothing you need to prepare for this. Good idea to start early. And there is Christmas that will take your attention elsewhere. That is why you get the briefing already today. 

January is not the month you want to post ‘trials’ as in October, November and December. You need to post finished works. If you don’t think you have finished work, don’t post.

Please read and understand: a) how street photography is understood on New Street Agenda; then read and understand this briefing. Please do not post photographs that in your own eyes come short of any of the above; do not post half solutions because you read only half of the above.

A street photograph, as it is understood on The Academy,  is a photograph taken anymous and respectfully of people in a social setting preferably in an urban setting. Meaning it cannot be a street portrait. There should be more than one person in your photograph.

The photograph must not be staged or posed by the photographer or other person. Postproduction should be kept at a minimum but conversion from colour to black and white is allowed. Photos posted must be in accordance with national and internationed laws andregulations. You need to avoid minors in your photographs unless you have a written concent from parents. 

Ask questions before you post, please. There might be things you find inadequately explained. 

The January Challenge is indeed a tall task.

Shooting period is from December 11, 2017 to January 31, 2018. You should not post any photographs before January 1 since the December challenge will run in that period.

Please accept that this site can only work if people engage. Do not post any photographs in January if you are not willing to engage in what others do.  You need to comment to help make the site interesting, encouraging and lively :-).

January is only for members of The Academy, who have been active both in submitting photographs and commenting during the period The Academy has been running. Non-active members will be removed from the member list before the end of December.

I may make minor changes to this briefing but not much. Only if clarifications are needed. Here is the link to the workspace on Facebook. 

Good luck and even if it is early: Merry Christmas.

© Knut Skjærven.
Update December 21, 2017.

#knutskjaerven #knutskjærven #newstreetagenda #oneverystreet #theacademy #leicastreetphotography


About author

Knut Skjærven

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

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