Week 3 – Strategies of Sharing – Working with Others

Jim Goldberg

During the third week the discussion was about how others are involved in the creation of photographs. Is there someone else always involved? I supposed photographs are made to share something with others and if we consider the viewer, even if it is an image of an inanimate object, there always going to be someone else.

On how I usually collaborate

I often collaborate with others. I have an idea and theme, for an example, last term when working with identity, I talk about the subject first and discuss ideas. Usually the person comes with ideas and connects, suggesting clothes and strategies. I am open to listen to their ideas and executing them. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, just as it would normally happen to me; I offer images back and ask them to bring something if they want something that differs from my subject of study. I see photography as a shared experience, and I let my subjects have a voice. This also created trust and a good atmosphere.

When offering this exchange concept, most of the people understand and accept it. There was just one occasion that it didn’t: a musician needed images to advertise herself. I offered an exchange; she would collaborate with my ideas on one photo-shoot and I would collaborate with hers. It turned out she had several photo shoots in mind, including different locations etc. I realized that there was an imbalance and mentioned that I could do some but would have to charge for others. As a result, she withdrew and made an excuse.

I think that for future reference I will create a written statement mentioning the intention of the project to make it sound more professional (informed consent in writing). The problem is that some people don’t seem to see photography as something serious, such as in the previous case I mentioned, she thought only about herself and was not willing to collaborate, just to take. On the other side, I have to make sure I don’t do the same, always offering something back and letting them to be part of it as well.

On how to proceed

I would like to develop my project to be more inclusive and to give more voice to the people taking part of the theme. As initially I had a plan to represent the underrepresented, and withdrew as I was afraid of not being in fit position to do so, but now that I am more equipped with the knowledge of representation and strategies, one of the progressions towards the final project could be to help them represent themselves, finding strategies and a ways to do that.

As referenced in this week’s material, I encountered he project https://photovoice.org/ for the first time. They use photography as a “participatory medium”, and work either with workshops or gathering material from various photographers to organise exhibitions. They mentioned the use of cameras, text and visual literacy with participants, and work with themes that offer social impact, such as HIV and disability.

Conclusion

To finish this week, one of the questions made were: what is more interesting to you, the subject or the view of the subject?

When I first started photography some years ago what was interesting was the subject and my view of it. This was because of the experience that I had and the images that influenced me, such as the magazine National Geographic and photographers Sebastiao Salgado. Along my journey, I am involving people and their views more every time, and I really like the idea to guide them so that we create images together. At this time, learning these strategies are going to be crucial for the development of the work that I have ahead of me.

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