Week 3 – Strategies of Sharing

In week three our focus has been on collaboration of works.

I have long held the idea that that photography is an ongoing collaborative process, with the lead role passing from one to another as the production process evolves. The focus for me is not always the photographer, but with the subject matter and the viewer.

You could go so far as to say the collaboration doesn’t stop there.

The people who designed, developed and constructed the camera you’re using are also involved. The shipment and packaging of the equipment and even the postman who delivered the equipment to you are – to me – also part of a collaborative process – that is arguably capable of spanning time.

Could it not be that, every-time you pick up your camera, you are actually in a shared collaboration with the original founders of photography and every other photographer since?

This week we looked at producing a Zine. Sadly I was unable to take part, but instead I looked at my own practice in terms of collaboration.

From the publication Chalfen, R. ‘Differentiating Practices of Participatory Visual Media Production’ in Pauwels, L. & Margolis, E. (2011) The SAGE handbook of visual research methods. (Los Angeles: Sage), pp.186–200 we are invited to view the creation of imagery as either projects or studies.

Projects – being those that are developed by individuals with a emotional connection with their work. Often leading to workshops, exhibitions and displays, they seek connection with a wider collaborative community.

Studies –  are much more academic and more objectively focus on the cognitive and strategic intent of works and seek to view such works as an opportunity to achieve a higher understanding of image making.

Both are collaborative processes, but use differing methods of collaboration.

My work fits very much into projects and it is this element that has proven to be a challenge so far on this MA.

Shifting my focus from just project based to also be academic has been a great challenge.

As a dyslexic and one with a minor hatred of books (the idea of reading for hours (or indeed writing this CRJ) brings me out in cold sweats) I find such a transition (from the Projects to Study approach) to be one of the most toughest roads of my photographic career, but one that could be the most rewarding, if I find a collaborative balance within the two principles.

For collaboration to be effective for me I have to look to change the direction of my practice. I have long been a wildlife / aviation photography lover and spend many hours alone in the wilds waiting for that ‘one shot’. Often to go home disappointed,  the addictive nature of the practice gets me out doing the same the very next day.

For my practice to evolve and for my main research project to work, I have to learn to be more open to working with others. Not just photographers and the community, but with others who are experts in various conservation and historical subjects – who could then help build the concept of the river project to reach its full potential.

Over the coming weeks I shall investigate how I can be more collaborative and how I can reach out to meet and work with others more effectivly.


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