In the midst of Winter few things feel as good as a warm fire, tea and a good conversation with friends. All are good for the soul and a necessity, the way I see it.
If we were in the Southern hemisphere, we would be soaking our feet in fresh ocean water over a cup or two of lemonade. So, dear friends of Summer, close your eyes for a moment, breathe deeply and then come with us on a journey of friendship, good tea and the crackling sound of wood burning.
I am here with Elke and Corinna, the fantastic duo behind the Photography project ‘Deuxpieces’, and I absolutely adore their catch phrase “both could stand alone, but sometimes it takes two”.
As the weather outside becomes white and cold, inside we are safe and smiling, ready for a good conversation, laughter and the birth of memories.
Because, before we were friends, we were strangers.
There is always something that draws our attention to a person. In real life, it could be something as simple as a smile, a lock of eyes or the right hat. You know, the visual atraction that sometimes is needed to get the eyes in the direction the soul already is.
But what if we meet in the big world of the internet? There, we must trust the words and the emotions, the unknow, give that leap of faith. Find the things in common, find the others.
Elke and Corinna met online, they tell me, “In 2012 through photography courses on the web. The very first was Xanthe Berkeley`s „Creating time capsules“ followed by „Picture black & white“ with Tracey Clark at Big Picture Classes.
And it was in this class where we started following each others work more closely and became Instagram friends. One day I asked about Corinna`s favourite lens and an email exchange started. We chatted about our love for photography, what it meant to us, what we were aiming for….and discovered that in many ways we were on the same path.
To both of us photography is a way to connect with our surroundings, a practice in which we find and try to express a sense of tranquility. The more we talked the more similarities popped up: we both strive for harmony (not only in our photographic composition) are more happy with observing from the sidelines and tend to be a bit too strict with ourselves when it comes to perfectionism.
Currently both our sons are living abroad for several months and we share mutual mixed mother-feelings. To keep our private life to what it is – private – is crucial to us. Accordingly we rarely post images of our family members.”
Corinna explains that “Photography is a wonderful medium to express your feelings at a given moment and to learn more about and getting to know someone better. Through platforms like Instagram you are able to witness a person`s work on a daily basis. For me Instagram on one hand means meeting and interacting with a big family of like minded people (I would not want to miss this part in the future!), on the other hand it is like a psychogram of my own– looking through my own stream I can clearly sense my mood or my preferences on a given day.”
Don’t you just love that?
On Elke’s point of view “Photography is like an indivual language. With some people you „just get“ what they say, their images really speak to you. And that`s where connection starts. I often see one of Corinna`s images and before recognizing her profile icon or reading a caption i know it`s her.”
This happens to me a lot, and I am sure, to you as well, isn’t it interesting how our brain gathers information and instantly recognizes a pattern?
Back in February the theme at MM was ‘collaboration’. It was then that the sparkles started making their presence known, “Ideas flew back and forth.” Elke smiles, “Should we have themes like „black & white“, „juxtapositions“ where each of us would do her thing and we simply put our work together side by side in a diptych?”
You can feel the excitement in the air as if it were today.
“After a while of brainstorming we decided to just give it a go and let the project evolve organically from there on. We found the name „deux-pièces“ by serendipity, talking about something completely different. We soon figured out it`s perfect for what we wanted for our project: two single pieces, each of them could stand alone but together they tell a story and complement each other.”
Just like that. Beautiful.
Aren’t you inspired to grab a friend and head out to shoot some twin images?
But what if you like the work of someone because they shoot exactly the opposite of what you do?
Both Elke and Corinna share the love for everyday beauty, found in their homes, suroundings and especially in nature.
Elke is drawn to details, steam rising from cups, branches casting a shadow on the wall, the texture of a tea towel… that`s what she notices and what comes easily. But she has a harder time capturing landscapes or buildings as a whole…
Which often get deleted because she didn`t „get“ them.
And Corinna likes capturing what spontaneously arises before her eyes.
What makes her stop. Staged photography is not her preference.
They are basically on the same path and kindred spirits in their way of shooting but each has her own unique expression – Corinna often goes for a more monochromatic approach where Elke tends to capture bold colours. Corinna`s view is often a bit more „wide-angled“ for she loves to shoot people in relation with their surroundings.
Elke is often moved to fill the frame and gets in really close…
“It`s funny, sometimes we try (unintentially or on purpose) to shoot like the other one but always end up realizing it`s not working. And that`s not a problem at all, it`s helpful in finding and acknowledging our own voice.”
Write that down. We will wait until you get back.
Deuxpieces exists in the big world of Instagram so its no surprise that the tools of choice are the DSLR and mobile devices.
They both own a Polaroid but haven`t done it justice in using it enough so far.
Humm, thats something that needs a good change, yes?
Corinna says “It feels like „two souls in my chest“: I value the instant creative opportunities that apps provide and, wish for more time to creatively explore and play with them. On the other hand I love the clear, straightforward style. My most used apps are snapseed and VSCO. I’m very much drawn to b/w photography and I would love to learn more about street photography. Rui Palha from Lisbon (kuddos!) is one of my favourite street photographers these days.”
And Elke tells me she tends to use apps less and less these days, something I understand as I solely use VSCO.
“It`s not that I go for a strict „no edit“ approach but a bit of basic editing like tweaking exposure or contrast is often enough for me. Most often I want my images to express exactly what I have seen when i raised the camera. But if I`m up for some creative play, VSCO and PicTapGo are my apps of choice. What I love to explore further is black&white photography.”
Me too, where is that “2014 resolution list” thing?
So far, as you can read, the three of us are sharing the same love for black and white, details and people, staged and non staged, and all in all we seem to be like a river flowing in the same direction. Which is essential for a project to be born, but does that mean that it becomes harder to create a challenge?
Excatly how does one get the other out of the comfort zone?
Elke knows exactly what I am talking about.
“It`s true that our shared passions and being on the same wavelength on many levels help us to work together. We seem to have the same rhythm and the same pace. And we can perfectly rely on each other. And still it is possible to challenge each other – in a good way. To receive an image is always exciting, it starts the creative process. We try to understand what it was that moved the other one to choose this specific image and try to answer accordingly. It`s an inspiration and a challenge at the same time!
One of us shoots an image with a possible deux-pièces in mind (we learned that not every picture works for a diptych) and sends it over to the other one who goes out hunting for the complement and than creates the diptych. Currently we are posting twice a week and always have a few in store. Though we are open to any kind of topics and try to vary our themes we find ourselves especially drawn to the art of „contemplative photography“.”
And guess who brought this up in the first place? Another great post here on MM – Kirstin’s review on „The practice of contemplative photography“.
The book led to another online class they did together: „Seeing drala“ with Julie Einstein.
This is one of my favorites, how they created magic with two images that fit so perfectly together.
There are things each of us favour, something that happens every day, or every season that never fails to astonish the soul.
“To shoot daily has definitely brought me a big step forward. In some way my values have shifted.” Corinna explains, “on days when I feel that I captured someting with my camera that`s completely aligned with the core of my being, I`m happy, balanced and content. A captured moment like this is something that can`t be taken away from me anymore. And of course taking images every day has taught me to walk through this world openly, literally and metaphorically speaking, to look at the world from different points of view. Photography to me is a visual diary, a wonderful path towards self-awareness when I look at my images in hindsight.”
Yes to that!
“I want to be present, alive, awake. I don`t want to miss a single day because I`m functioning on auto-pilot.” Elke continues, “I want to witness it all: the beauty, the mundane and the ugly, the full spectrum. And I know, with a camera as my companion it`s so much easier to be there, to really be present. To carry it with me opens up my eyes. And that really makes me happy and grateful.
Because it`s so worth it.”
This is fantastic. Their words are much like their photography and where one ends the other begins but you can’t really tell exactly where that happens.
It just does.
“To do this collaborative work together really deepened our connection: It`s funny (or as we started to say „magical“) how often in our not-deux-pièces related photography we are taking pictures of the same things or within a similar theme at the same time and we only realize it when these images show up independently on our personal IG streams. Also by serendipity it has happened not only once that our images were featured side by side on this very blog and created a deux-pièces even without our intention. So cool!”
We call it MortalMuses magic!
“In 2014 we are taking our connection to a whole new level, we are planning on starting a deux-pièces blog and we are going to attend a workshop in contemplative photography together. To say we are excited is a complete understatement!
We are truly happy to call each other friends! Magic, don`t you think? And for all this, a big thank you is in order: to all the muses doing a fantastic work here (we wouldn`t have started deux-pièces without your inspiration), to Kirstin in particular for introducing us to contemplative photography and to you, Vanessa, for giving us the opportunity to reflect upon our project and to deepen our understanding of a collaboration that started quite spontaneously and now brings us so much joy and fills us with gratitude.”
Magical, I like that. Very much.
Thank you so much for joining us today, right here, in the comfort of friendship through photography.
Now go outside, find a friend and click.