The Toolbox As Gestalt Factor

© Knut Skjærven

© Knut Skjærven

© Knut Skjærven

© Knut Skjærven

Yes, it is a good morning.

I just solved a problem that has puzzled me for a very long time. Or someone solved it for me.

Preparing the work slides for the first workshop in June, I had met this challenge:

How could it be that gestalt factors, normally considered innate ideas governing the reading, and the possible making, of street photographs, suddenly could pop up with a factor based on past experience or habit?  I could not get that to fit.

I needed to go back to where Max Wertheimer explains this. He sais: “Unlike the other principles with which we have been dealing, it is characteristic of this one that the contents A, B and C are assumed to be independent of the constellation in which they appear. Their arrangement is on principle determined merely by extrinsic circumstances (e.g. drill).”

He continues: “Often arbitrary material can be arranged in arbitrary form and,  after a sufficient drill, made habitual.”

This was just amazing. All became clear.

I don’t think for a minute that a toolbox ever can be an innate idea automatically passed on from generation to generation, but I do think that this toolbox, as any other toolbox in any field or craft, can be internalised to such an extend that the tools in there execute automatically as a spine competence.

Is that form of learning not what we all strive for? Being competent at something and executing what we are good at with the least of efforts?

I think it is.

Now I know that Street Photographer’s Toolbox can in fact become a gestalt factor for street photography. It is only a questions of drilling. And that is just what we do.

Feel free to engage in the task suggested in the first slide above. And then do the drilling. You have to find out how. Get into the habit.

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. Text and photo.

Copenhagen April 5, 2013.

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