Coming together as a collective group often results in not only great beauty, but also great friendships. Last year it was through discovering a new collaboration, The Treehouse (with Mustard) Club, that I met muse Vanessa Snow, and the theme also brought my friend Claudia Lommel and I together to share our worlds through photos. The popular female photography collaboration Shutter Sisters introduced me to many of my current photo friends online and in person. In fact, it was through a series of classes from Tracey Clark, the blog’s founder, where I originally met many of our muse alumni and current muse Jenny Graver.
As you will see below, collaborative efforts can be created out of friendships or often create them. They can grow communities and inspire us to experiment shooting new things. This year I am involved in another collaboration called The Hours where along with several of my first contacts on flickr, I am shooting 12 photos at a certain time of day across “the hours” pushing me to capture moments like this one, taken between 7-8am, before my day began…a big challenge for this night owl!
Today, allow me to introduce you to four unique collaborations, each one created out of friendship and many creating new ones along the way. Hopefully they will inspire you to consider joining forces in your own collaborative efforts! You might even decide to reach out to one that currently exists like Muse Nikki Gardner did by reaching out to Mortal Muses and subsequently writing a guest post here! We also have a special giveaway that might provide you with the motivation to find a photo friend and design your own unique project.
YOU ARE MY WILD
The evolution of our friendships is perhaps the most important and lasting result of this adventure. – Meaghan Curry
Many collaborations grow from the seed of a few into a beautiful reality of many as was the case of You Are My Wild, a weekly portrait project between 14 photographers who documented their children throughout 2013. Meaghan Curry shares how the endeavor blossomed out of the desire to reconnect with inspiration.
Meaghan Curry: Right after the new year, and in sort of a creative lull, myself, along with a few photographer friends (Kelsey Gerhard, and Becky Zeller) were brainstorming about starting a project to force ourselves to put down our phone cameras and pick up our ‘real’ cameras more regularly. Inspired by the fact that our children are our favorite subjects, we settled on a weekly plan documenting our little one’s progress over the course of a year. In conceptualizing the project, it was important to us that all the images be shared together, in one space, rather than on each photographer’s individual site. Apart from having a strong visual impact, we felt that this format would make it easier to appreciate the similarities along with the differences between each of the images.
The project’s 14 participants were: Anje Bridge, Becky Zeller, Brooke Schwab, Dera Frances, Isabel Furie, Jessica Kraus, Kati Dimoff, Kelsey Gerhard, Klodjana Dervishi, Meaghan Curry, Rebecca Conway, Ryan Marshall, Shelby Brakken, and Tara Whitney. Ironically, Instagram was the common thread between us. It is originally where we found other people documenting their children in loving, beautiful and respectful ways. Fortunately, those IG photographers were also interested in using their higher quality cameras to ‘see’ the same way that we were using our phone cameras – in that more real, and authentic manner.
You Are My Wild concluded at the end of 2013 and maybe even beyond the compilation of all of those treasured little moments, the best part of this project for us was getting to really know each other. The evolution of our friendships is perhaps the most important and lasting result of this adventure. In fact, we all hope to meet face-to-face this year for a reunion in Marfa, TX where our little ones can run wild under the desert sun.
…the result was a friendship that grew the more we learned about one another. – Lisa Epp
A collaboration needn’t be amongst a large group of participants. After all, it only takes two to create collaborative magic! This next partnership between Lisa Epp and Sam Wesselhoft was born out of their admiration for one another’s work ultimately drawing them together to create the 52 Words project sharing their view of 52 words across many miles.
Lisa Epp: I’d fallen in love with Sam’s unique and beautiful style over two years ago on Flickr. Finally I could no longer be just a spectator to her work, I wanted to know more! I reached out on Flickr inquiring about her gorgeous processing and the result was a friendship that grew the more we learned about one another. What started as a mutual love for shooting our favorite subjects, leaves, nature and our dogs, has settled into the 52 Words project. I am loving this one and think it’s going to be a great year!
Sam Wesselhoft: We started as Flickr friends…brought together by a mutual love of leaves and our dogs. The idea to collaborate together began after completing dual 365’s in 2012. We knew that we wanted to join forces for a project in 2013 and were inspired by other collaborations, specifically 3191:a year of mornings, but nothing materialized. When Lisa suggested we get together again earlier this year, we put together a list of words to shoot over 52 weeks, thus our 52 words project was born!
Friendship happens when two people find things in common.
– Xanthe Berkeley
Sometimes a collaboration between two participants becomes an open invitation to be shared by all. In order to beat the winter blues, photographers Xanthe Berkley and Andrea Jenkins teamed up to create color//colour, a 7-week, rainbow-inspired scavenger hunt seeking out color in the weeks leading up to Spring.
As Xanthe Berkeley describes even the straightforward concept encourages community spirit. “Our project is simple… one colour for one week… all the colours of the rainbow. To play, have fun and shoot that colour and then share in our online colour treasure trove. Color because Andrea is American. Colour because Xanthe is British.” By extending an open invitation on Instagram to their communities, they’ve created a wealth of color seekers around the globe shooting and sharing by hashtagging their images #colorcolourlovers. Andrea shares more about the evolution of her friendship with Xanthe which lead to color//colour.
Andrea Jenkins: I don’t know when I first found lovely Xanthe online but I’ve been in love with her work for years now. Somewhere along the way, we became friends. And then we were Shutter Sisters together and (magically) got to meet in real life– in one of the most color-drenched places I can think of– Palm springs, California. We were there together for the Shutters Sisters Oasis retreat at the Ace Hotel and I believe it was during one of our late night hot tub dips that the word ‘collaboration’ first popped up. We didn’t necessarily know what it would be, just that it should happen, at some point, in some way. We bonded instantly over a mutual love (obsession) for color but didn’t connect those dots right away. At least, I didn’t.
Fast forward to this time last year, both of us living in cities known for their relentless grey and rain (Portland, Oregon//London, England). Fed up with the weather, I went looking for color. Around the same time, I noticed Xanthe was out looking and shooting too. Both of us were pursuing color in a way that felt more intentional, pointedly seeking it out and photographing it as a way to survive the grey, to keep the creative juices running fresh. I’d see Xanthe’s posts on instagram and on her blog and feel instantly connected, instantly inspired. So when autumn hit and the grey rolled back around again this year, I thought about color. And I thought about Xanthe, about our offhand remarks regarding a collaboration and it all just sort of clicked into place. Of course! A color collaboration. It was time. We’d been talking about something like it for a while but now was the time.
Certainly, we’re not the first to collaborate on a color project together (and I hope we won’t be the last) but it feels like something special– because of our friendship, perhaps, and the way the cities we live in effect the way we work, the way we see the world (and all the color in it). It’s this sort of collaboration that really gives me life, really pushes me as artist. And for that, I am thankful. For Xanthe, I am thankful.
10 on 10
A shining example of how one small project amongst friends can become a catalyst for BIG change. – Lindsey Garrett
As with Xanthe and Andrea, being involved in a larger collaboration can create the opportunity to come together on a more intimate level and also create a new source for inspiration. Last fall, former muse Lindsey Garrett met up with muses Meghan Davidson and Debra Cowie and some other friends for a photo retreat. Out of this special gathering, a new collaboration was born: 10 photos taken on one day and shared on the 10th day of the month open to interpretation as the project progresses.
Lindsey Garrett: When I travelled to British Columbia with my friends last fall they all asked me the $64,000 question. “So what’s next for you?” All of them, muses or not, were aware that I wasn’t active in an any photography channel any more. I surprised myself by saying, “I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to shoot anymore” And that was the God’s honest truth. I could hardly find joy in anything I was doing. Weeks following the trip it was decided that waiting another 12 months was just not going to cut it and the birth of our 10 on 10 project happened. It was just the right amount of creative work for me and two months into it, I felt like I wanted to expand from just one day to one week and *poof* just like that a new series, Life In Session begun. A shining example of how one small project can become a catalyst for BIG change.
As you can see collaborations can be created by big groups or small ones, can invite others into the project and can create a catalyst for personal change. Creative growth shared amongst a partnership of friends might just be the best experience of all. The long-lasting friendships that have grown out of my personal involvement with various projects have not only strengthened my skills as a photographer, but have given me some of my fondest memories as well.
How about you? Are you currently involved in any collaborations? Are you looking for the inspiration to create one? Today we have a special giveaway from Alex Cave, who you might remember from our conversation a few months ago. Alex will be giving away a spot in her new class, Finding Your Photo Style, at Big Picture Classes where she will be helping you to create your own unique photo style. Just leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win! Kirstin will announce our winner on Friday’s post.
Holly ~ Soupatraveler