Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.
book spreads from Soft Place to Land by Paula McCartney & Jason Vaughn

Collaboration

Jan 19, 2019 - Paula McCartney

I wanted to make more books, experiment more, make work that doesn’t take years to finish…all of this led me to begin collaborating with another photographer. How I see the world communicates with how another person sees it.

 

I met Jason Vaughn at a book fair two years ago and soon after we began a photo correspondence. I mailed him an image and he responded with an image that related in some way (color, composition, subject, etc.).  We saw how long the conversation could keep going without becoming predictable or too obscure, and when it did, we started over-began a new chapter.  We are now in our third chapter.  We both love getting mail, but the real benefit of this exercise for me has been the opportunity to practice a new way of looking.  To not only think of my own work, my interests, my aesthetic, but to push and expand the conversation making room for another person.

 

Book spreads from Sparkle and Fade by Paula McCartney & Jason Vaughn

 

Working with another artist also offers the opportunity to be responsible, to keep things moving in the same way that exhibition or publication deadlines do.  It is nice to know that someone is waiting for what I’m making. We are still doing the photo conversation but have expanded it to making books together.  The end goal is to make something that will go out into the world, but right now we are making smaller books where about a dozen photographs by each of us are interspersed throughout the sequence and in dialog with each other.  We’ve also begun to add photographs to a single found book, so that our work not only speaks to each other’s, but our photographs engage with the pre-existing content of the book.  The books feel like practice: seeing, editing, and sequencing. They give me permission to play – experimenting with images and making short books that I wouldn’t be making if I was working on my own – finishing work within a month’s time.

 

Please also check out Jason Vaughn and Brad Zeller’s recently published collaboration, Driftless, (TBW books, 2018).