One way to create an itchy image is to make a two of a kind shot. Like the one you see here. It is a very simple version.
You get an image of this type when you frame two (or more) similar object in a shot. It has to be objects that are not intended to be isolated or framed together. Such a strange framing is what can make an image itchy. The famous Henri Cartier -Bresson used this little trick in many of his images. He did it well.
Normally shots like this leave an impression of curiosity or humor. A smile at least.
When I speak of objects I include people, who are normally called subjects. Objects or subjects, in this context, it does not matter. In the shot above we actually have one of each: one live person sitting down, and one kind of similar object in the painting. In addition to have a somewhat similar overall outline of the two. Look at their hands and their faces. Same (roughly) positions of hands and the somewhat same strange expression in their faces. Look at the mouths.
The picture is taken at the Danish National Gallery in Copenhagen. Earlier this year (2012).
You can, of course, also make three of a kind and you can substitute objects with situations or groups of people, which will leave you will more complex images. In this example you get the very simple version. I would say that three of a kind is rather difficult to do. Groups or situations might be easier.
I mentioned that Henri Cartier – Bresson used this technique. His shot from Athens in 1953 is a good example. Here he combines two groups of a kind: two women upstairs (the decoration of the house), and two women downstair (passing on the pavement). Another one is shot in Nepal in 1963 showing a concrete figure with roughly the same outline as a passing woman. Another one yet is taken in Rome in 1951 showing a male hairdresser looking out the window of his shop. He is flanked by a poster of a woman in the other window. There are many more such examples in Cartier – Bresson’s portfolio.
I would say that two of a kind was probably one of Cartier – Bresson’s favorite techniques for creating itchy images.
When you see the shots that I have mentioned you will know what two of a kind is all about. It is that very combination which makes the images mentioned. Two of a kind is an effective way to create an itching image.
Very easy for you to try as well. Good luck with it.
© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. (Text and image.)