Already Week 4 and collaboration is underway.
Looking For Derges
I joined a group just in time. The other two members had established a framework for exchanging images of place and other places with the intent of creating an imaginary third place from these.
The lead for the idea had been impressed by the camera-less work of artist Susan Derges. Moreover, it was necessary to catch up with the artist’s work. Fortunately, the group had done the artist research, and so we settled and watched two feature videos.
We met online as a collaboration group and soon after the practical work was started outside in dappled sunlight. Soon a set of images were created and contributed to the group.
In a broader introductory exercise, everyone had contributed a single image with accompanying text/sentence. I’d chosen loneliness, an epidemic of the current age in which the lonely and the rest of society seem destined to drive themselves apart.
So back in the dappled light, I picked single petals of a daisy, buttercup and violet along with a single strand of grass and tip of a fern frond. Somehow I felt I’d managed to incorporate the loneliness theme. I took my version of a petri dish, in this case, an inverted cake tin lid, from Betty’s, the contents of which had been rather good I recall. I’d wanted to include water and pick up surface tension effects on edges, reflections and texture from the tin and shadow in the water. Ultimately I flooded the dish and watched for the natural elements to group together. I tried to force this I suppose and only served to start to clean the canvas as it were, so ultimately images homed in on single elements.
So I had set up a macro lens and was soon photographing. Initially, I started with single water droplets on the tin and looked for the observer in the reflection (from Derges the observer observed) but the droplets soon dried out. Another droplet was placed almost directly on top of the water stain. As I worked in the outdoors, dust and pollen fell onto the miniature set. A couple of reasonably deep themes emerged, signs of things past, now replaced and dust as a metaphor for our mortality and pollen as a metaphor for renewal and replacement.
At this stage, I was shooting images with layering in mind. All contributors did this. We then layered the layers where each image was two layers in its own right.
Probably the effect was busier than the more simplified images captured by Derges, but with a more extended project, we could have worked to simplify.
Here is an image from the collaboration in which I was mindful of Derges work, e.g. of Gibbous Moon and Ash (trees). In the following, one photographer’s image with marigolds, a more subtle background from another photographer’s image of rock texture, layered with my photograph based on water droplets.
The collaboration had been seamless as we synchronised our efforts, and as a postgraduate group, we adapted easily to the need to cooperate and help each other. We recognised and adhered to deadlines. We attended three webinar meetings, including the final presentation with other groups and our module tutor. We received a reasonably warm reception for the final work, which was viewed as an ultimate collaboration in stills photography.