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Positions & Practice - Collaboration


So this week was all about collaboration and gave us chance to work with a group of our peers on a joint project. I'm not going to lie when I opened up the module, my heart sank a little. 'I'm a photographer... I work alone... this isn't how I do things' was perhaps the best way of summing up my immediate reaction.


However I quickly removed these negative thoughts and had a proper read through the task and associated links and quickly realised there was a lot more to collaboration than simply losing control and not producing images that I wanted to make.


First job was to establish an idea for a project and attract like minded people that would be interested in it. So the call was made 'What has happened to all the music ?' as I was keen to promote how the music industry was literally shut down in March at the start of the pandemic. Musicians and bands having their dreams put on hold and I guess even more importantly their source of income stopped overnight. The knock on effect is felt by the thousands of people connected to the music industry, not least a whole group of band & gig photographers.


This idea resonated with Mark Tipping, Antonia Chick and Simon Denis, who are all accomplished band photographers and an initial online meeting was quickly set up to discuss how we could produce a single piece of work that emphasised the issue and raised everyone's awareness. A number of ideas were discussed but we all latched on to one suggestion from Mark about putting instruments into unusual locations or put to different uses to highlight their lack of use and the fact they were redundant at present... in much the same way as their musical owners.


Two days later and we had fifteen images to choose from and a top five quickly formed. These five effectively became the image and in keeping with the band concept represented the five key instruments in a typical rock band.


Feedback from our peers has been really positive and we are all really pleased with the result. We had established at the outset to go with a black and white theme and this really helped ensure that despite the images being taken by four different photographers they look relatively similar. The final key was to place the images in an order which took the darkest to lightest across from left to right.


As I said at the outset I had some real concerns at the start that this may be a challenging week for me, as I do tend to work alone. However I can honestly say that it has been an enjoyable and rewarding week, in which four new 'bandmates' have produced an image that does exactly what we set out to do.


Hopefully live music will return very soon... life is so much better with the sound turned up.


For information the band are:

Steve Rabone Vocals & Rhythm Guitar

Mark Tipping Lead Guitar

Simon Denis Bass Guitar

Antonia Chick Drums

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