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An image from a recent collaboration with Claudia Phares
For someone like myself who is something of a self-confessed control freak, who enjoys self-portraiture specifically for the fact I have total artistic control over all aspects of the image, you would think I'd consider "collaboration" to be a dirty word.
Not so, however.
Though until recently it's been something of a haphazard happening for me, it is fast becoming an experience I embrace and relish the fruits of.
Obviously in portraiture there is always at least some element of collaboration. Even where the concept and intention is primarily formulated and directed by the photographer, few models are totally malleable blank canvases and will undoubtedly always give some direction to a shoot through their actions, expressions, and reactions, both verbal and non-verbal. This includes what I refer to as "cameos" by friends within my 365 Days series.
Other portraiture shoots I've done have been very much collaborative and free-form, with myself and the model improvising off each other, props, locations, etc.
Outside of portraiture, I've also undertaken indirect collaborations with artists working in other mediums, whether it be creating images for Vignette Press' first Mini Shots series and The Big Issue's fiction editions; or becoming the subject of an illustrator's interpretation of montaged versions of my self-portraiture and travel images.
In other instances I've created a series or single images as part of collaborative projects based on a theme, such as the series I produced with Aline Smithson for issue #34 of F-Stop Magazine.
However, it's only in the past twelve months or so that my collaborations with others have involved me taking on a modeling role directed by another artist, or a two-way dialogue with another self-portrait artist, the first of these being as a model for Paul Louis Villani's "Born from this earth..." series.
Over the next few posts I'll showcase some of the collaborations (or modeling roles, in two instances) I've recently undertaken with three Melbourne artists I admire, and I look forward to the collaborations planned as part of my overseas travels in 2010.
As much as I tend to be quite insular in my work and enjoy the ultimate control that comes with self-portraiture, there is something amazingly freeing and inspiring about being directed by another artist you trust and admire; and working with other artists you admire is a fantastic way to learn more about the way they think and work, and the creative ideas and impulses they have.