Collaboration: Working Together Is Great!

Week 4 Position And Practice

“I Want to Swing” Work done during collaboration By Andre Nagel

Jessie in introduction lecture to this highlighted solitary pursuit of the photographer in ” the act of taking a photograph and the intimacy and exclusivity of the viewfinder, which usually allows just one person at a time to make judgments about framing and timing, that leads us to associate photography with a strongly singular point of view in terms of authorship.” or the freelance photographers “indeed work for themselves and conduct their business as sole traders, operating as a single entity.”

In my practice as a wedding photographer this may seem the case but it is not true. Even a sole proprietor my work requires me to collaborate with other service providers (videographers, DJ, etc) and our customers and to be able to record the event fully I require a second shooter and an assistant. This process lead to choreographed dance of interaction, shared creativity , timing and provisioning of space. Although I do my own post production work at this time a number of my peers make use of Photoshop specialists and graphic designers to finalize their vision with great effect.

This collaboration is required even in journalism where as in the Case of the Bang bang Club journalist hunt together for the story. In Fashion the collaboration occur between the photographer, stylist and creative director. and even as a amateur, it is better to collaborate with others to go out and find the perfect picture, even join photographic clubs.

I find that these collaboration brings about some competition and creative tension that lead, in my case to better work. In their Video tutorial ” ” Rocco Ancora and Ryan collaborate to teach and on occasion do work together. They formed a social media group with a number of wedding photographers to send each shared photos taken with cellphones on the back of their cameras to compete at who can get the best in Camera shot. According to them this resulted in them improving their skill to such a level that reduced their post production work immensely.

This week we were challenged to find a collaborator and deliver a presentation. I posted a group to participate in discovering “alternative portraits” and unfortunately did not manage to invite someone specific to join After 1 day I realized that I was not going to get someone and I contemplated joining one of the other teams. I fortunately decided not to do so and I advertised for participants to join by sending out a proper brief. This turned out to be a success when “Buzz” Christopher Matthews Joined me. It was a start of a pleasant journey and we managed to complete the task in one day. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties I could only submit our work two days after the webinar. I do feel that we both achieved our brief and each of can list at least one failed attempt. Our work was diverse with creativity being our only link.

Looking at the work done by some of our peers I came away with the impression that they all experienced the process positively and those that participated grew in trust and respect for each other.

On the question of authorship, it became less of an I and turned into a we as all parties influenced each other in one way or another.

In practical terms,it is best to consider signing agreements up front around copyright, intellectual property (ideas) and distribution rights. Beth and Thom Atkinson even illustrated what can be done if a shared authorship model is undertaken. As Beth said, it sometimes become impossible to remember who shot which photograph, something I experience regularly with my second shooter as we align in style and purpose. Fortunate the meta data on the photograph allows us to manage it.

Husband and wife and family teams abound the industry such as the Dianne and Olivier Follmi (French Travel Photographers), Bernhard “Bernd” Becher, and Hilla Becher (Famous for their water tower photographs) and the Van Den Berg’s (Heinrich van Den Berg and his family:South African wildlife Photographers ), to mention a few. In some cases no differentiation or separate accreditation are given for their work.

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