Confluence: A Tale of Collaboration, Chance and Creativity
Photography thrives on those serendipitous moments when luck and skill fuse to create something truly unique. This type of happy accident reached new heights when three photographers from across the globe collaborated on Confluence.
Ramya (Bangalore), Shayne( Burlington, Vermont) and myself (Olaf, London) may have been separated by three continents but we were united in our passion for the unexpected. Our core idea centred on Triple Exposures. Each of us, in three different locations, shot the same five rolls of film, capturing whatever felt right at the time.
No consultation. No brief. No previsualisation.
Using film was ideal. We couldn’t see what each other had shot.
We had to let go of the normal desire to control everything from exposure to lens choice to framing…etc. It was wonderfully chaotic!
The triple exposures revealed a surprising synergy. Disparate aesthetics, locations, and styles which could so easily have been disappointing, instead offered rich, layered images defying logic and full of mystery.
The beauty of this project lies in it’s purity. Plus the realisation that true creativity lies not in control, but in letting go.
“Uncertainty can be liberating. Proceeding with heightened sensitivity, an appreciative eye, and without judgment are all keys to finding a renewed sense of wonder – and will likely be your best tools for discovering the spirit of this work.
Persist in this perspective and you too may be able to flow and find new confluences of your own.”
– John Paul Caponigro
As humans we are programmed to try to make sense of our surroundings. Unexpected layered elements combine with unusual frames and borders to defy any obvious logic. We can assemble parts of a story but we can’t complete the plot. It is a process so pure and void of any unnecessary judgement. We let the journey take over, waiting to be amazed by the Universe. It puts us back in touch with the innocence of creating. The subconscious makes connections in the photographic collage that we are not aware of. Our sensibilities guided us from picture to picture.
Metaphors abound, as watery reflections become visual dreamscapes, words grafittied over grass and gravestones seem like private conversations from the other side. The subconscious inner worlds which govern us can be blended together to create a oneness which speaks to us all.
Triple exposure was the key element in creating images for the Confluence project. It led us to combine film as the capture medium with digital for output and dictated our process.The idea was for each of us, located on three different continents, to shoot the same five rolls of film, capturing simply what felt right at the time.There was no brief, no previsualization. Film was ideal as we couldn’t see what each other had shot. We had to let go of the normal desire to control everything from exposure to lens choice to framing…etc. It was wonderful anarchy!
Shayne shot five rolls of 35mm film rating each at three times the suggested ISO. He posted the films to Olaf who then repeated the process and passed them on to Ramya who finished of f the process with the final exposures and then had the films processed and scanned in Bangalore. The scans were downloaded by each of us and imported into Adobe Lightroom. At no time were any views exchanged on subjects, locations or equipment but an exchange of thoughts regarding process and selection happened via Skype and Google Hangouts twice a month. It was during these discussions we formulated our artist statements and decided on the use of Haiku poems to complement the images. With their capacity to seemingly zero in and yet wrongfoot the reader they are a foil to the multiple layers of meaning in the images. Although we started travelling without a destination, this process helped us navigate to a conclusion.