Commission 01: Visual Gig

Incognito. © Knut Skjærven.

We are ready to go then.

Two brave people, and members on On Every Street, have been kind enough to volunteer for the coach test program. Test program means that a program is not yet finally fixed and that a general evaluation will be done at the end of the process.

The brave ones are Elisabeth Maurice, Paris and Stefanie LePape, New York. Both have stated their vision, their mentor and some of their favorites in a separate post on Street Photographer’s Toolbox.

Here is Elisabeth’s My Choices. Here is Stefanie’s My Choices.


Even if this probably takes a lifetime to learn (for all of us) it very good to be able to identify possible visual gigs.

The commission is within one month to identify and make at least two visual gig photographs and get them loaded to this blog. The commission should be handled within the vision stated, the mentor chosen and with reference to the favorites pointed to.

For Elisabeth that means a reference to Willy Ronis and for Stefanie  it will mean a reference to Vivian Maier.

You may get an idea of what is meant by a visual gig by reading the post Visual Gigs. The interpretation of it is entirely up to you.

Who Can Participate?

This post is directed to Elisabeth and Stefanie, who have volunteered for the coach test program. They will load their photographic result to this site and take comments on their solutions. All are welcome to comment.

All others can participate in this commission, as well. Secretly and without anyone knowing. 

Success Criteria:

The success criteria for this commission is that

1) You learn to recognize the concept called Visual Gigs.

2) You shoot and post two images in the category Visual Gigs

3) Visual Gigs has become part of your visual radar or backbone knowledge helping you to recognize visual gig situations in the future.

Good luck with it.

Time Schedule: 

This commission will take a lifetime, but one month will do as well. Today is September 5, 2012.

Nota Bene:

This is the first commission in the drill process. You will get more commissions during this period. Commissions will overlap. You should not load old images from your portfolio. You should make new pictures.




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  1. #1 by Elisabeth on September 5, 2012 - 7:17 pm

    Lots going on on my mind!!! I just love to take those kind of shots but I wonder sometimes if it’s just me thinking it can be fun. I’m wondering if my look is too personal or can be shared with people. Sometimes you think a situation can be odd but that can be very personal. I often need to explain the things I saw in the when I took the shot. And something I need to work on is that I often make the story taking a serie of shots. just like a 2 bounces joke… So… thinking as you see 🙂

    • #2 by Knut Skjaerven on September 5, 2012 - 9:02 pm

      I can feel it. Don’t overdue the brain work. It can be too serious.

      Just move out and take some gig shots like the ones who made your countryman so famous. I will give you two clues as to who he is: His first name starts with an E. On the other hand his last name starts with an E too.

      Got it :-)?

    • #3 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 6, 2012 - 3:58 am

      Hi Elisabeth…I can relate to what you are saying. However, I think it is important to not compromise what you are attracted to visually. For whatever reason you pointed your camera at a vision…that is your inspiration. Some might share it…others not. The only thing we can hope to do is improve in communicating our vision so others can see what we do.
      At least …that is what I hope to accomplish via this ‘gig’.

  2. #4 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 6, 2012 - 4:08 am

    me scared…so scared. I hope I do not disappoint.
    BUT…I am looking forward to this with earnest.
    Did u get my reference photo?
    in anycase…here is a link

  3. #5 by Elisabeth on September 6, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    Thanks a lot for your answers!!! I’ll try to keep your advice in mind. Don’t overthink and act or shoot :-))). You never know what could come out. And you’re so right Stephanie when you say we’ll to improve in communicating our vision.
    It’s funny for i’ve been thinking that one of the photos of Ronis i’ve pointed to could fit into the visual gig genre. The one he took at the Châtelet station ( That in mind, your photograph appears to me like a kind of follow-up. Outside the station and then in train :-). That’s so good!
    I’ve been searching for the clue you gave me but I can’t figure out who he might be…except Elliott Erwitt but this idea was pinched me by a kind person 🙂 and that would fit! But I didn’t know he was French :-)))

    • #6 by Knut Skjaerven on September 6, 2012 - 4:31 pm

      Hmm, well you might try to goggle Mr. EE :-). He was born i Paris. Does that count?

  4. #7 by Elisabeth on September 6, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    If i search Mr EE on google here’s what i get :….

  5. #8 by Elisabeth on September 12, 2012 - 7:47 am

    I need a piece of advice :-). I take my camera with everytime I go out and try to figure out such a situation but it’s not coming… Maybe i don’t know how to visualize this. I guess my eye is not trained enough. Your advice would be very helpful.

  6. #9 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 20, 2012 - 5:53 am

    Knut…tell me what u think. I am happy with one. and will continue to be on the look out until i am satisfied.

    • #10 by Knut Skjaerven on September 24, 2012 - 9:33 am

      Stefanie, thanks for your enthusiasm.

      It is not my role here to evaluate the overall quality of the shots. I only look for the gig elements and what is important for this particular commission. One tool at the time. That is the main idea of the toolbox.

      These are no final definition as to what a gig shot is, but I have tried with one in another post. It goes like this: “They serve (gigs) their mission as smaller photographic teasers that strike you as being funny, itching or compelling.”

      So the key words would be funny, itching or compelling. It is a visual oddity, or in some cases it even could be a visual joke.

      I feel you are getting close in the second shot you present, and the oddity that I find, is simply the similarity of the blouse pattern between father and son. Continue on that road.

      I would suggest (as I would suggest quite generally) that you study photographers who are famous for the “gig ability” and take up inspiration from them. One could be Vivian Maier. Another one could be Elliot Erwitt.

      Please look for more gig situations when you are out there, shoot them, and link the photographs to this post :-).

      Good luck with it.

      Have a good day.


  7. #11 by Elisabeth on September 20, 2012 - 7:50 pm

    I’ve been trying to follow your advice and been taking photographs everytime I could. I created an album on flickr that would represent a kind of diary since we started:
    I’ve put only the shots I love the most and and marked those I thought could be considered as a visual gig. I think my eye is getting sharper for for what I notice as a student. The greatest for me is that some people laughed or were moved by those photographs. So a thousand thanks for your advice and support put me on tracks for making my plan a concrete thing. I’m quite eager for your feedback.

    • #12 by Knut Skjaerven on September 24, 2012 - 9:05 am

      Elisabeth, I have looked at the flickr folder that I overall like a lot. Good work. There are, however, too many shots for me to comment on individually.

      Could I ask you please to direct me to two shots only, that have been taken as a response to the gig commission. I know which I would choose, but let’s see if we pick the same.

      I am looking forward to it :-).


  8. #13 by Knut Skjaerven on September 24, 2012 - 9:55 am

    Stefanie and Elisabeth, when you are ready with your best gig shots of all times :-), we will post them and make a GIG GALLERY on Street Photographer’s Toolbox. So just say when :-).

    Have a good day.


    • #14 by Elisabeth on September 26, 2012 - 4:31 am

      I’m so happy you like the shots !!! The 2 I would pick for gigs are “Point Hit and … ” and “Run for shelter”
      I wish I could come up with some better but those 2 make me laugh. I’m quite eager to have your feedbacks 🙂
      I’ve been thinking a lot about how those shot came along and you were right they just happen.
      I just can say that I had the session in mind everytime i was going out, hoping to see something,
      But they can not be planned at all! 🙂 I took so many shots and only a few might match visual gigs .
      I think I learned it’s more about awareness and be prepared 🙂
      Have a great day!

      • #15 by Knut Skjaerven on September 26, 2012 - 8:18 am

        Tell you what. I could not agree with you more.

        Definitely, I would consider both of these gig shots and well executed. They are also, if I remember correctly, the two shots that have gotten the most attention in On Every Street. So that is a good indication that you have done well.

        I would say the same that I remarked to Stefanie. Just continue the good work.

        Have a great day.

        NB: With your permission I would load these into our new GIG Gallery for future generation to see :-). That would mean that you give me permission to copy them and link/load them internally on this site.

  9. #16 by Elisabeth on September 26, 2012 - 4:50 am

    I added this one I like also ( not being it would work. So pick the one you want for that would make three.. I hope those are the shots you would have chosen 🙂

    • #17 by Knut Skjaerven on September 26, 2012 - 8:25 am

      On the other hand I would not be inclined to see this as a gig shot. I miss the gig element in it, unless you want to say you play on the similarity between man/boy and man/trash can in the sign up right. If so, I would say that the concentration and crop of the image should been done differently.

      Have a great day :-).

  10. #18 by Elisabeth on September 27, 2012 - 9:25 pm

    I’m so glad you found those two worked! You can share them as much as you wish. It’s more than a pleasure and honor! Don’t know for next generation but so happy to share and be part of this project :-)!
    Have a good evening :-)!

  11. #19 by Knut Skjaerven on November 9, 2012 - 12:59 pm

    Kim, I will give you the same commission as Elisabeth and Stefanie.

    Please read the brief above and start shooting :-). When done, post the two best pictures to your site, or somewhere on the internet, and link to the images as a comment to this post.

    Good luck with it 🙂 Good weekend too.

    NB! Here is a bit of background:

  12. #20 by Elisabeth on November 25, 2012 - 9:36 am

    Hello again,
    Would you consider this one a visual gig? :
    Have a good day.

    • #21 by Knut Skjaerven on November 25, 2012 - 9:53 pm

      Yes, I would say it could be considered such :-). Good day to you as well. And thanks.

  13. #22 by Elisabeth on November 27, 2012 - 6:46 am

    thank you! I’m glad for i love those 2 :-)!
    Have a good day!

  14. #23 by Kim Landgraf on December 6, 2012 - 6:49 am

    Hi there Knut!

    After running about with a wider lense for a couple of weeks I decided that these two pictures may count as my trials at “Visual Gig”.

    Many thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!


    • #24 by Knut Skjaerven on December 6, 2012 - 7:54 am

      Hi Kim

      I thought that I had lost you, but I can see that is not the case. I am glad.

      You have delivered two excellent solutions to the gig challenge. Congratulation on both shots. I will comment more extensively on each when I load them to the site and link to them from our gig gallery.

      I am sure that Elisabeth Maurice will be quite satisfied with not sitting in that gallery so alone.

      I need you permission to download a copy of each image and to load them to this site.

      Many thanks and have a good day :-). Well done indeed.


      By the way, what is your next commission going to be? Do you know?

  15. #25 by elisam75 on December 7, 2012 - 6:39 am

    Kim your shots are just great! Congrats!
    Knut you’re right it’s pretty motivating! here is another for this comission too 🙂 :

    • #26 by Knut Skjaerven on December 12, 2012 - 10:34 am

      Elisabeth are you ready to respond to a new commission jointly with Kim? If so, let me know. It could be fun :-).


      • #27 by Elisabeth on December 13, 2012 - 7:41 am

        Of course I’m in!!!!

      • #28 by Knut Skjaerven on December 13, 2012 - 8:28 am

        Got you reply thanks :-).

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