Natural Tendency

I've thought a lot about one particular thing regarding collaborators I will ultimately do a lot of work with for the Black/White project since the first few experiments. With two exceptions, one being Mary I've gone out of my way to work with people that have never done anything like this before. That has a lot of overlap with the vast majority of all of those early experiments in how I can get out of the way. Specifically my aim is documentation of reactions more than I want results from my own direction.

That one particular thing I've thought about, maybe obsessed about is using collaborators and muses for the project that have a heavy predilection for either the black side of the project or the white side. Early on I believed that anyone's significant propensity one way or the other was something I must avoid. I had a notion that somehow that would just not work with my ultimate aim to photograph the same people on both sides of the project.


I've held on to that notion for months but am at the point where I think it doesn't matter. At least it doesn't seem to matter for any of the people I've worked with so far. It seems like it should be avoided based on where I want to go but looking over what I've made so far that turns out just not to be true at all. At least not yet. If it turns out to be a show-stopper there's a good possibility that's not the significant factor of why a particular person wouldn't work well.

Holly above definitely has a predisposition towards the white side of the project. I didn't have to ask It was pretty obvious about thirty seconds in the first time I worked with her. I really couldn't tell when we made a few frames for the other side of the project.

I saw exactly what I expected to see given we did the black set first. The prop and the wardrobe changed everything real quick. Being extremely curious I asked what setup she liked better when we were chatting for a few hours the next time I saw Holly at a studio social. Turns out my guess was right. Also turns out she enjoyed both setups.

What about the reverse? Lauren absolutely positively is an incarnation of the black side of the project. She told me herself at some point when we were hanging out. She has a super strong preference even though it was the first time she ever made pictures like we made.

Turns out that really didn't seem to make a huge difference in any of the frames we made for the white side of the project at all.


As it turns out every single person that I've worked with so far and every one I plan on working with over the longer-term of this project actually has a strong preference even if they never thought about it before. Most of the collaborators I've made pictures with so far I've experimented with both the black side and the white side of the project.
Each and every one has either told me strait out or I've asked. Every single one has also enjoyed making pictures for both.

As it turns out something I was overly concerned with actually turns out to highlight the whole point of what I'm trying to do with this project in the first place. The ironic and interesting part is that no matter what particular predilection or preference, every collaborator so far tells me the white side is easier. Too bad it seems so much harder for me. So much so that I still haven't gotten to a point where I'm comfortable with approach. I've even turned one particular approach into a side project that I plan on wrapping up in the near term.

End Notes

All images made with the Fuji XT-1 processed in Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM05 applied on import.