This week we looked at ideas of collaboration. Photography has always been thought of as an individualistic discipline. We often think that there is one person that operates the camera frames the subject and processes the final image. Whilst that might be true for some practitioners, most are collaborating with other people at some point or other. Within my practice as a commercial and a wedding photographer I work along make up artists, hair stylists, art directors, models and more. From our discussions we’ve had it’s become more apparent that we have lots of collaborative relationships as photographers.
Over the last few years I have been trying to network with other photographers and start a few experimental projects. I’ve never been successful and found that it was particularly hard to get people organised and onboard. I have always been interested in the way in which we interact with each other and how that collaborative process effects and produces the subsequent work.
It’s also interesting to me with regards to a previous post of the interdisciplinary nature of photography how that could be explored with collaboration and potentially from non photography sources . As I have mentioned I heavily call upon music as research and inspiration within my own practice. I'm fascinated with the visual elements within music, like how album art is produced and the journey both artists take to arrive to that point and the signified attached to it after listening to the music.
Some Inspirational album art to me....
Bicycle Thieves EP
Boston Manor, Saudade
Joyce Manor, Joyce Manor
Pkew Pkew Pkew, Pkew Pkew Pkew
We were asked to team up in groups to undertake a micro project to experiment with the collaborative process. I had no idea what to expect and had a sense of optimism and excitement with the thoughts of working in a new way. I paired up with a fellow student, Justin. We decided that we could try not to overthink anything too much and try to work as spontaneouslyand reactively as possible. As a starting point we looked at ideas we’d had on interdisciplinary research from the previous week. After talking about a few points we decided that we would use the Church St in Ruins song from Bangers that I had referenced as a starting point. We had a little talk about some shared themes we’ve been thinking about, these included ideas of mortality and existentialism, and the difference between being alone and loneliness. After a few messages back and forth we came up with the following plan.
We would both shoot 2 images
Both images are to be taking landscape (for merging purposes)
One of our images would be overplayed with the other
The two remaining images would be displayed next to each other as a diptych.
We would edit each other's submitted work
We would shoot our work before viewing the others
I decided to shoot my images along the route that I run everyday. I’ve been running 5 kilometres everyday to cope with anxiety, I have always found a strange solace in being out in the dark in the night. I dont find it scary, I actually find it calming and peaceful especially if it's near the sea. It also allows me a good space to reflect on things.
Here are my two images that I shot, both edited by Justin.
I then sent my images to Justin who keeps them unseen before he went out to shoot his images.
Justin then shot and delivered his images all via dropbox for me. I did some basic editing and then went about putting them together.
Justin's images edited by me
Merging the images
I choose these two images to overlay as I felt they worked better with their composition and the placement of highlights ect. I experimented with how to overlay them. I ended up with placing Justin’s over mine at 50% opacity. I liked how the image of the figure is barely visible as it emphasises the feeling of isolation amongst the busy lights.
The alternative dyptech
I instantly felt that the overlay image was the stronger of the two. After speaking to Justin he was surprised that I had choosen the two images I did for the overlay but told me he was glad with the choice. It just goes to show that going out of our comfort zone and working in new and different ways can shine light onto new ways of thinking and working.
Working in a collaboration was defiantly a good experience. Although I work constantly in collaboration with others on other areas of my practice I really want to pursue working with other images makers more. I feel it would be a good journey to take and would help me grow as an image maker. As for my research project I think I will not be collaborating with other images makers in this way mainly because of the accessibility and practically of it. Since this micro project I have been in touch with some of the people I’ve already reached out to for my project. Many of them are song writers and I have set up another micro project to look at how I can combine their lyrics with my images. I look forward to seeing how that works out.