Coach Session: Come Fly With Me / The Vision/ 01 / Stefanie LePape,

Come Fly With Me. @ Knut Skjærven

Once again welcome to Stefanie.

I hope it is ok that I use your first names since we virtually will see quite a lot of each other in the weeks to come. Not all the time, but some of the time.

As I have suggested several times this toolbox, and the coach process in particular, is not only about taking pictures. We will also dwell upon things like creativity and project handling. So consider yourself being part of a project. Your very own photographic project. You are just about to start it.


The first thing I kindly would ask you to do is to define your project. One way to do that is two develop and write down your vision of it. You may not know that you have such a vision, but you have. Being here as is already a partly execution of such a vision.

I will ask you to do this vision more precise and write it down. Literally on a piece of paper or, better, on this site. Here is the questions you are asked to answer:

What is your vision for your street photography for the next two years?

Having a vision saves you a lot of time, makes it possible for you to focus on your project, and indicates what sources you need to consult to get there. If you have a vision it is also much easier for you to review your images. Are they good executions of your visions are do they fall outside the focus area?

When you state your vision you state your dream. You overcome your first fears of flying. Like the young lady in the photograph above. Her vision was to make a good and interesting figure of herself flying in open air. See, even she had a vision. And she fulfilled it. Lucky I was there to record it.

Here is an maybe a more relevant and specific example of a vision. It is just an example and you have to take/make your own vision.

My Vision:

For the next two years I shall take street photographs from Paris in a style that reminds everybody of pictures shot by Henri Cartier-Bresson. (Example only).

Call your answer: My Vision.

My Mentors:

When you have written down your own vision I will ask you to point to (pointing to is a way of defining) one or two mentors for your project. Related to the vision above it would be natural to pick HCB as a mentor, but you have to find one or two mentors that you will use for the execution of your own vision.

Call your answer: My Mentor(s)

My Favourites: 

From the mentor’s portfolios of photographs, you will point to three to five images totally that are your absolute favourites. Of which you may want to say, hey, that is the type of picture I want to shoot.

Call your answer: My Favourites.

That is it for the first session. You don’t even have to pick up your camera. Just go right ahead with it. Deadline two weeks from today, or whenever you are ready.

Practical Information:

When you are ready, and remember all shooting later will be executions of your project vision, you will post the solution as comments to this post. Use the comment box below when you do. Please gather all the information in one comment: My Vision; My mentor(s), My Favourites and the links for mentor’s website and to favourite photographs.

NB: This post will eventually disappear from the stream of blog posts. Look at the tags and the categories I have used to find it again later.  You will be able to recover all posts by activating the relevant tags in the tag cloud, which you find in the blogroll.

Also, I have made a special page as a subpage to Street Academy where I will link all the posts in this coach event.

Good luck with it.

Copenhagen, August 30, 2012. All rights reserved.

Don’t mind the picture above. It is only a photograph :-).


No, we are not going to make a business plan but only use elements from such a plan. Having a vision is such an element. Here is a story to go with it: Since 2008 I have arranged annual photo summits in Berlin. The first two years I came back with 1500 plus images and when I started editing them I continuously asked myself: why have I taken this photograph? I loaded a few to the internet, printed none, and just let the rest be. In 2010 I said: End of that story and I made a plan (I did not write down a vision, though, but the results were the same). Since  I was in a city I might as well do street photography; since there were people all around, I might as well do people shooting; since street photography historically is in black and white I might as well do black and white. In July 201o I started Berlin Black and White. Is is still running, and when I go to Berlin now I am not spending days shooting roof tops, dead doves, architecture, and other nice but irrelevant stuff (irrelevant to the project, that is). Berlin Black and White was my first photo project ever. For me, having a vision worked really well.

So it will for you. I am very sure :-).


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  1. #1 by 1000 Pixelated words on August 31, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    My vision:
    I have always been a people watcher. Photography in the days of film was not something I could easily pursue. Though I had always used a camera to capture moments I felt inspiring to use as references for paintings.
    Its difficult to define a vision when it comes sort of instinctively. Visual seizures that one feels compelled to capture. However, having this question posed to me, forcing me to reflect consciously of what I am doing, I find there is sans doubt a retrospection of a vision.
    Life is so fleeting. Having a hyper awareness to the fragility of it and our mortality I am senstive towards reflective moments in and of our humanity.
    While I never want to invade another’s privacy…upon seeing what I feel is a moment of introspection…of a shared emotion …I am ever drawn to analyzing it …Or perhaps enter that space and see more.
    I am not sure if I am expressing this accurately or maybe I am being too wordy.
    Ok…with less words;
    If I could have been a a photojournalist documenting the various experiences of humans in a most candid way…if I could incite others to take a look into the face of another and share their shoes…I would have.
    Having failed to pursued that in my youth…my vision has been to capture the impressions of a moment.
    Since being able to define more the impression…expressions of a moment over any perfected tecnicality my vision might lean towards abstractions in being.

    • #2 by Knut Skjaerven on August 31, 2012 - 6:22 pm


      Thank you very much. Your vision is good. However, this is a site for street photography in the more traditional sense and it would not be possible, in this context, to deal with abstract photography, that I can see that you are pretty good at.

      Thanks you very much for the approach. Have a good evening (CET).


      • #3 by 1000 Pixelated words on August 31, 2012 - 6:54 pm

        Hi Knut…
        I answered u in coMments. Still trying to get around WordPress. I am stefanie… I started this blog to share poetry and visuals with a friend.
        I will change it according,y to isolate my street photography.
        When I say ,’-abstraction of being’. I mean that in an abstract rather then concrete way.
        No worries…

  2. #4 by 1000 Pixelated words on August 31, 2012 - 6:27 pm

    My vision:
    To incite a closer look into the face of another via more the impression rather then the perfection of a moment seized. To focus on the shared human experience in a dignified manner. To see beyond the obvious and see more.
    Because my life is in between NYC and the southern part of it , also known as Florida, the dichtomy of life is ever present.
    To document My north and south in all reflective metaphors, the journey from vitality and endless energy from a city that never sleeps…to the retired state of winters fall.

    My mentors:
    Very difficult to answer since I havent developed enough references to point to. I am very ignorant of any photographers portfolio to isolate any particular favorites that have influenced me.
    However, of what I do know…and again, there are so many of whom I really appreciate their work and which I would attribute attention towards, but I couldn’t for the life of me name,
    Two names that come to mind are Saul Leiter and Vivian Maiers.
    In particularly Saul Leiter because…in coming across his work I felt a kinship to now he sees.
    Upon noting some similarities I felt more encouraged to continue shooting street as I see fit. I had often felt I lacked the elements that most street photographers possess. But when someone introduced me to Saul Leiters work… I received an encouraging pat on the back. More then likely to the irritation of some street photographers. 🙂
    With regards to Vivian Maiers… Perhaps she would be the one I would most like to learn from.
    I think with emulation of her vision in accord with how I already approach the streets, would make round me out without losing my eye sensitivity.

    My favorites:
    In going through their portfolios it’s difficult to choose. Is it possible you can assign me four photos to aspire towards?
    I think that would be more beneficial ? perhaps even from others I can learn from.
    I am stuck in Florida until October. Therefore the images afforded me are limited. Although giving an assignment will force me to find them!!! Also…I lean towards color here so if u know of another possible mentor I can emulate

  3. #5 by 1000 Pixelated words on August 31, 2012 - 6:37 pm

    O no…I think I did not explain myself good. I use that word freely.(abstraction)
    I don’t mean it in abstract photography but in the ways us humans can be sooooo confliction and not always definable. Despite our shared humanity.
    The photos here on WordPress were posted to share with a friend and her poetry.
    I do not use WordPress often. Therefore…it is random. Although I can use it to isolate my street work? Also….I started a domain here…which I time is hope to work on.
    I have ADD. Attention deficient disorder. It makes it very challenging to stay focused …although I can be prolific in whatever I fancy.
    I resubmitted a comment focused on answers accordingly.
    As u might be able to tell…I write too much!!!!

  4. #6 by Knut Skjaerven on September 1, 2012 - 8:54 pm

    Stefanie, thanks for the many words :-).

    I think that you are one your good way but you definitely need to make the decisions yourself.

    That said, I find Vivian Maier to be an interesting choice as well as Saul Leiter. They are very different to me. You could of course be inspired by both and thus have two mentors, but you need to include them in the same vision.

    Maier maybe more of a street photographer.

    I think that from what you have said already you should have no trouble with formulating a brief visions statement for your project here, and be able to pick both photographer and images without much trouble :-).

    Good luck with it.

  5. #7 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 5, 2012 - 2:34 am

    My vision:

    With my life in between NYC and the southern part of it , also known as Florida, the dichtomy of life is ever present.
    Witnessing in all reflective metaphors, the journey from vitality and endless energy from a city that never sleeps…to the retired state of winters fall, my vision would reflect the north and south of our human experience.
    To hopefully incite a closer look into the face of another. To focus on shared experiences ( or bring attention to what is not) in a dignified manner.

    My Mentors:
    I am ignorant to the world of photographers. Two who do stand out as those I best relate to would be; Saul Leiter and Vivian Maier.
    You mention that if I were to choose both of them I would have to include both in my vision. I find that would be a productive assignment. ( challenge)
    The differences between Saul and Vivian in many ways reflect how I approach and hope to accomplish my vision. To meld those two perspectives would serve or rather round out my street vision. Without aiming to, I find myself leaning towards a less conventional approach to street. While I would not want to compromise how I see for acceptance in any field of photography, I am aware of the need for growth/discipline so as to be able to speak to a larger audience with regards to my vision. Vivian Maier included as a mentor would serve that goal.

    My favorites:
    Vivian Mair
    For me this image I find a good example for emulation because it provides enough of an impression to invite us to formulate a story. It captures the weight of their time frame in life. I really like this image. It provides the basis for many stories. A NY moment. 🙂 To isolate the focus in a reflective shot is not easy. Since this is a quest I am constantly aiming for…this image is a good reference for a clean shot.
    There are so so many favorites I best stop here.

    For Saul Leiter: brings this multiple exposure to life. although there are only hints of each person–each id has enough of an impression for us to see. so cool because u can catch the energy in this. the composition like a collage !!!

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