Commission 03: New Combinations

Blind Date © Knut Skjærven

Here comes the third commission.

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.


One of the absolute basics in innovation and creativity is the ability to combine already existing ideas or objects. Put them to new use on the stage that you as a photographer are the sole director of.

Don’t try to invent the wheel once more because it cannot be done. It is already there. But you might come up with a bright idea for a new transport device on four or more wheel. Henry Ford already did some of it when he set the car in mass production. But there is still room for improvement.

The point is that Henry (not Henri) was dependent on something already existing. Without the wheel his first car would still blossom in a museum in Detroit as an invention with a missing link: Four wheels.

Photography is perfect for reinventing the world by  combining already existing ideas. You don’t even have to strain yourself much. Why? Because the space you have at your disposal is not that complicated to handle. All of us can join in. The space you have to play around with is a frame width, a frame hight and a frame depth.

Bland Date above operates within a width, a hight and a depth. The depth is however just an illusion because this image is flat as any pancake. But the illusion that the man in the background is a long way off works fine. I am sure you agree. Different sizes are used for the two main objects: coat and man and helps create the illusion. They are held together by a common floor and supported by others objects placed in the foreground and the background.

The man and the coat are not meant to be seen together. I as the one with the camera decided that they should, as you will decide in your photos. This new combination of already existing ideas gives this image a meaning/impression/idea that could not be had if the combination had not taken place. Based on that combination associations arise: did his wife die recently?; is he on a blind date waiting for his date to turn up?; is he out to buy a new overcoat for his beloved; is he looking at a map to check his way home, etcetera. Impressions could be many.

Now it is your turn to make new combination.

The commission is within one month to identify and make at least two photographs where new combinations are at work. Done so you forward the images so that they can be loaded to this site

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.

How you handle this is entirely up to you. There are no right and no wrong solutions, but some solutions will probably be more convincing than others.

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 New Combinations.

2) You shoot and post two images in the category New Combinations.

3) New Combination has become part of your visual radar, or backbone knowledge, helping you to recognize new combination situations in the future.

Good luck with it.

Time Schedule: 

This commission could take a lifetime, but one month will do as well.

Nota Bene:

This is the third commission in the drill process. Commissions may overlap in time and you can complete them in the sequence that you find best. As already stated, the main point is that you get an eye for new combination. When they turn up in front of you: shoot them.

You should not load old images from your portfolio. You should make new pictures.

Good luck with it.


September 22, 2012

The picture is taken at the art fair, ABC, in Berlin September 16, 2012.

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  1. #1 by elisam75 on November 16, 2012 - 9:59 am

    I found this one pretty hard ! Like all finally I must admit :-).

    I will have a try but am not sure at all it will work.
    here’s one:
    and another try
    Have a good day,

  2. #2 by elisam75 on December 1, 2012 - 10:07 am

    This is a tough one!
    I’ll give it a try with this shot:
    What is your thinking?
    Have a good day,

  3. #3 by elisam75 on December 7, 2012 - 7:19 am

    Hi knut!
    What would you think of this one for new combinations? I found it really funny but don’t know if you would consider it rather as a gig…
    and what about this one? :
    Have a good day,

  4. #4 by elisam75 on December 19, 2012 - 7:39 pm

    Hi Knut,
    Back on this one too :-))).
    I took this one a few days ago and found it so funny. The girl searching for her light just below a coffee sign.
    I called it coffee and cigarette:
    Do you think this can be considered as new combinations?

  5. #5 by Elisabeth on January 7, 2013 - 5:59 pm

    Hello again Knut,
    Here is another try for knew combinations: “New way to ware glasses” :
    Not sure of me there but found it funny.

    • #6 by Knut Skjaerven on January 11, 2013 - 12:21 pm

      Good one. I would like to call it a gig shot :-). Have a good day.

  6. #7 by elisam75 on January 10, 2013 - 6:29 am

    Hi Knut,
    I come back on this one again. I took this one a few days ago and called it an angel passes by :
    Have a good day,
    Would you consider this shot as new combination?

    • #8 by Knut Skjaerven on January 11, 2013 - 12:23 pm

      Nice with the head in the ring. For me this is another gig shot :-). You are getting pretty good.

  7. #9 by elisam75 on January 14, 2013 - 7:33 am

    Thank you so much Knut!
    You’re defintly right those are more gigsI realize I like them a lot for they make me laugh 🙂
    The bad thing is that i’m not improving much on the other commissions ….
    need to work harder 🙂
    Have a good day!

    • #10 by Knut Skjaerven on January 14, 2013 - 4:12 pm

      A photo can of course be a gig shot and then something else on top of that :-). You are doing good. Seems that you are winning all the time, right? First France then December HOF. How do you do it?

  8. #11 by elisam75 on January 14, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Thank you so so much! What a great encouragement you’re giving me!
    To answer your question my best guess is a great mentor teaching me and like Paul McCartney sung “With a little luck we” …. 🙂


  9. #13 by elisam75 on January 14, 2013 - 6:46 pm

    I’m glad he does :-)))))!!! Thanks to you!

  10. #14 by elisam75 on January 17, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    hi Knut,
    Here’s another one that probably is gig for it makes me laugh and maybe a a new combination: i called it the hare and the tortoise

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