When Cara announced this month’s theme, I immediately thought to myself, what a wonderful way to get acquainted with another photographer, to share in her world, to experience her life. What better way to seek inspiration than by exploring my work through the eyes of another? I wondered how our photos would look side-by-side. Would our shots live together in perfect harmony? Or would our worlds collide? I would soon find out.
I contacted my German friend and brilliant photographer Claudia Lommel, who many of you know as pictress on flickr and instagram, to jump on the experience together. Claudia and I first met online while taking an e-course and later met in person in Frankfurt where we discovered our artistic souls were traveling the same path. From the moment I saw her, I knew it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. After all, she showed up at the cafe wearing a green tulle skirt. “Perfect, she said, for shooting a bench Monday shot!” And it was!
I contacted Claudia with a few ideas and she responded with more of her own. For our first collaboration, we thought we’d start close to home. We decided we’d take a series of pictures of our personal environments, share them with one another and afterwards shoot the equivalent in our own homes. In other words, she’d give me a group of shots that I was to match, and vice versa. This evolved into sharing a collective day together which extended into special details we also chose to highlight.
I’ll be honest; I had a vision of my work that I didn’t quite equal. Perhaps I’d idealized the final product too deeply in my head ignoring the fact that an artistic process takes place to get there. So when Claudia’s first group of shots arrived, beautifully presented along with coordinating text, my heart sank. “Crap, I thought. I can’t shoot like that. How will I ever make my world look as beautiful as hers”? In fact, I would love to emulate Claudia’s style of shooting, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I told her this almost immediately, and she responded that she’d thought the same thing about me! How funny! We WERE perfectly matched for this project! Now it was time to begin.
I enjoyed seeking out the counterpart in my own home while wondering what she would find to share with me. And although I promised to treat the printouts of her photos as a shot list, somehow I seemed to head off course. Every time I looked into the viewfinder to see if I’d matched up a shot, I found it looked lifeless and lacking. And then it dawned on me; we’d never set the parameters around reproducing one another’s style, just subject matter. After this freedom ensued. I tracked down my keychain to join with her ring. I snapped my world the way I see it and enjoyed looking at Claudia’s work while shooting mine. As you can see throughout this post, in some ways we are very similar, and in others perhaps not different, but instead distinctive to our personal styles and certainly complimentary to one another.
Throughout the month, you’ve seen collaborations from all over the world. One of the beautiful things about collaboration is that it challenges us to branch out into new possibilities opening our eyes to new styles, new ways of shooting and hopefully taking our work to places bigger than we could have imagined. We can pair up our skills to emphasize them, or we can challenge one another to try something new. You never know what might happen. Perhaps by jumping into a collaborative endeavor and combining your ideas with another’s, you can leap across the line of your capability into something extraordinarily exciting.
So I challenge you to do something similar. Pair up with a friend, open your hearts and share your worlds. Jump out of your comfort zone and explore your potential. You never know what could happen! Be sure to share your work with us in our flickr group or if you’ve already embarked on a collaborative journey, share with us in comments today so we know where to find you!
You can learn more about Claudia by visiting her website, facebook page, on flickr or saying hello on Instagram.
Until next time!
Holly ~ Soupatraveler
Two friends, two continents, two lives, three tax declarations, hundreds of shutter releases, (felt) 58 messages, conversations at laaaate Eastern Standard Time and eaaarly Central European Time … What a fun collaboration! And thank you, Holly, for adding your perfectly wonderful words to our pictures! xxx
thanks so much Claudia! when life slows down, let’s keep it going!
When life slows down … LOL! We’re keeping it going!
Love love love this post. It represents everything that Mortal Muses is about photography, friendships, community, and collaboration. Perfect!
Thank you Tammy! Yes it is 🙂
Thank you, Tammy!
Amazing post, Holly! And nice to meet you, Claudia! These pictures are so wonderful and your story so warming. I love that you guys found each other over the miles!
thanks Kendra! appreciate your kind words!
Thank you, Kendra!
I love all the friends I have made flickr and this post really shows how wonderful a collaboration using these new friendships can be. Brilliant!
i know! it’s so cool how many friends I’ve made this way.
Holly and Claudia, what an amazing idea for a collaborative project. I love the way this came together. So beautiful!!
Holly, Claudia, this is fantastic!! I love the way these shots come together. What a beautiful collaboration. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thank you Deba!
these are indeed wonderful! love seeing your different view points. and Holly — I can totally see the shift in your approach!
(and most of I love hearing another friendship fostered by Bench Monday! wasn’t that a fun time! and look how much we’ve all grown)
THanks Amy! I know, those were awesome days!
Thank you, Amy!
Oh, fabulous – two of the most inspiring ladies I’ve come across on flickr joining forces, the result just had to be awesome 🙂
awwww, thanks jenny! that’s so sweet! xo
Awwww … thank you!
You guys!!! I’m thinking this is spectacular. Like so good and it makes me so very happy. I love things like this and they look so GREAT together, I almost can’t imagine it any other way. love, love love and ….more love even. xo
Thanks Tracie! I appreciate your kind words!
are you kidding me? all those doubts and they all match SO beautifully!
I love this idea. What a great collaboration and wonderful images from both of you. All of you at Mortal Muses inspired me to get a collaboration going too. I connected with a few Shutter SIsters as well as a few photographers who have been featured on my blog and we are now doing a 10 on 10 project. Our first post was this month. It has been so fun connecting with the wonderful photographers from TN, GA, NC, CA, ID, CO & TX. My first post is here: http://kristinarustphotography.com/blog/2013/2/10-on-10-february. Thanks for inspiring me to take that leap and reach out to people to form this type of project. xoxo
Thanks Kristina! I can’t wait to check out your collaboration! I’m off to check it out 🙂
Love these!!! A friend and I are already doing a 52 weeks collaboration over on flickr. You can find my set here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisaboo/sets/72157632098413410/
And heres here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/miss_tree/sets/72157632094926033/with/8217996670/
We’re having a blast.
Thanks Lisa! I love hearing that you’re in the midst of a collaboration too! Good luck with the rest of the year!
THanks Meghan 🙂
I have been following Claudia for a long time and never got to know the back story about where she lived and what she likes to shoot, so hello Claudia (waving) I love your work, you have an incredible eye and I like your strong focal points. I know you ladies must have put in countless hours in the project. Holly, this is a beautiful example of what a collaborative can give birth to, art that becomes bigger than one’s self. Congrats on its success! I know you worked hard to pull all these images together.
Thank you Lindsey! I appreciate your kind words. And yes, I agree, art does become bigger than one’s self 🙂
Excellent, Holly and Claudia! I love the way you’ve put these together and the glimpses into your homes. Funny that you had your doubts, because they work so well together. I hope you keep this up!
Thank you Deirdre! I loved getting to see into Claudia’s world 🙂
Thank you, Deirdre!
What a wonderful collaboration! Thanks for sharing, Holly!
Thank you Anna!
I have to echo what others have already said. Your images complement each others so well, it’s hard to imagine that either of you had the slightest bit of angst about meeting the challenge of being paired with the other photographer. It just looks like a beautiful, simpatico friendship from where I sit.
Thank you Debbie! I know, isn’t it funny how the inner gremlin can get to us?!!!
What a beautiful collaboration, imagery and words. Thanks to this months’ theme I’m now in the second week of one collaboration and in the midst of planning the setup of another. Thanks for inspiring us everyday!
Thanks Caro! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve got some collaborations in the works! good luck with all the planning 🙂
So lovely! What an inspiring idea–thanks for sharing.
Thanks Lee Ann!
Thank you so much!
What a wonderful idea and execution! I especially love those pairs that are very similar, yet different. I have a question: did you have a theme for each day or something to focus on?
Thank you! Yes, we had rough ideas of which themes to photograph 🙂
thank you! yes, we decided to keep our initial shots to sharing details of our immediate worlds 🙂