I had the pleasure of meeting today’s guest muse in 2011 at an informal ladies “flickr meetup” in New York City. Although our time together that day was brief, I could tell right away that she was a wonderful, creative spirit. She is an amazing, soulful self-portrait artist, and as today’s post will show, much more. I turn it over to Debbie Rabinowitz. Thank you so much for joining us here today Debbie!  ~Christy

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When Christy invited me to be a guest muse this month, I was excited and very flattered, and I have to confess, more than a bit nervous. The theme this month is “collaboration”, and truthfully I wasn’t sure if my photography would fit the bill. So I headed for the dictionary. And I read that the definition of collaboration is “an intriguing endeavor that is creative in nature, fueled by a deep collective determination to reach an identical goal”.

And then it made sense to me. We all, as photographers, endeavor to fulfill that vision in our head, to create, to capture, to tell a story, and we all reach out at times to share with others what we see and to take them with us on our journey, and share with them our inspirations.

One of the joys I have discovered with my camera is watching my youngest daughter Sara join with me in my love of light. She is my companion when I walk in the woods, and together we seek out those places where the light is most glorious.

all that glitters is gold

We frequently wander around the house, see the way the light falls, where it shines the most warmth, and because she is with me, I am able to discover it in the most beautiful of places.

in the darkness there must come out to light

Watching my daughter arrange some flowers for me on a table. And telling her that she did a great job. And seeing her beam up at me with happiness, well, that shared smile might just be the sweetest collaboration there is.

just a simple rose

There are some images that just wouldn’t be as special if we worked alone, if we didn’t pull someone else into the moment, and share the creative process. Sometimes it can be to lose the seriousness of our daily lives and experience the pure joy of just being silly. It may not at first seem like much of a collaboration, but getting three kids to jump with you in public is definitely it’s own brand of creative energy! I could have jumped alone, when I saw the mural on the boardwalk, I knew it was crying out for a jump shot, but it was my birthday, the sun was shining warm and bright and I was blessed to have all three children with me on such a beautiful day. And so I asked them to jump. With me. And the result is a photo that makes me happy every time I see it.

forever young

Companionship can also be collaboration, two people sharing their passion for photography together. Sharing the time together, yet having the opportunity to express the moment differently. Taking photo walks with my husband, planning trips around where we would love to shoot, and our more than occassional trespassing, we are spurred on by the other’s excitement and energy, and we love that we share a common objective, while at the same time, throughly enjoying that the results are usually vastly different. Walking together through an abandoned munitions battery, our eyes may go to different areas, but the sense of companionship is warm, and there amongst all the ruin and stones, I found a spot of color, red berries on a rainy day.

berries and bokeh

Joining with someone else to help them realize the vision they see in their head, can be yet another way to view a collaboration. When my husband turned to me one morning and said to grab my wedding dress and come to the beach with him, I was ready and willing to join him in his adventure. The shoot was his, the ideas were his, the photos from the day belonged to him, but what we shared that day was completely “ours”. Getting tossed about in the waves, laughing, freezing, and laughing some more, it was a wonderful, fantastic day. To be part of a collaboration, you don’t have to be the one holding the camera, you can be in front of it instead. I did take one photo that day though, of the bouquet of flowers that he had picked for me from our garden. A compliment to the rest of the day and my vision of our partnership.


An interesting thing happened when I sat down and really thought about collaboration and allowed myself to expand the definition and to widen my interpretation of what it means to me. I realized that my images contain many more collaborations than I initially thought they did. And I discovered that to me, collaboration means family. And that in using my photography not only as a way to take photos, I’m also using it as a way to make memories. Happy, joyous, loving memories.

So maybe the next time you set out with your camera, grab someone you love, take them with you, and make them a part of your vision. And when you look back at the photo, you won’t just see a picture, you’ll see the smiles, hear the laughter, and feel the love that went along with it.


Debbie is a native New Yorker, and mom to three beautiful children, Danielle, Jonah and Sara. Since picking up the camera three years ago to embark on a self-portrait 365 she has fallen in love with many diverse areas of photography, including nature, wildlife (which at times means her two huge dogs!), still life and portraits. Most recently she has added film to her list of photography loves. You can find more of her work on flickr.

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If you would like to be considered as a future guest muse, please email us at mortalmuses9@gmail.com or contact us here.