Itching Image: Juxtaposition

Footwork. © Knut Skjærven.

Let us  call this itching technique itching by juxtaposition.

Juxtaposition means “the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect: the juxtaposition of these two images”.

Juxtaposition then does not only mean that the two or more elements involved need to be different, they even need to be contrasting and placed together. 

To get the itching effect there must be a number of similarities between the two or more elements, as well. In Footwork above, the elements we talk about are the two women. One standing, one sitting. They must at the same time be held together by being of the same type (women), and separated  by belonging of a recognizable subtype based on styles, ages, bodily positions, footware, dresswise, etcetera.

If one of them were substituted for a man, just to take an example, the elements would surely still be different , but it would no longer be the type of juxtaposition that we speak of here. The elements of similarity needed would lack.

In street photography you can work with juxtapositions. The challenge is that you need to do it unstaged and unposed. You are not supposed to set thing up by bringing in models or extras.  You have to stick to unfolding reality is you observe it on location. Within one and the same shot you can bring together elements that in unfolding reality were never intended to be seen, nor framed, together. By doing just that you force or provoke a situation that in the best of cases might be intriguing or inching. It is such an itching that makes the picture stand out.

Juxtapositions can have many layers. In Footwork, some of the juxtaposed notions might be described like this:

older woman – younger woman//sitting woman – standing woman//light dress – dark dress//longer dress – shorter dress//high heeled shoes – low heeled shoes//mature dress style – less mature dress style// dark hair – blond hair

These things only work because what holds the juxtaposition together is that both people are women, lightly dressed, crossed legs, black shoes, bare legs, and many other things. Fell free to add your own observations.

Thanks for reading. Good luck with it.


© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. (Text and image.)

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