The creative muse comes in different guises; for some she provides a spark or shock that stimulates a radical result or new direction. Sometimes the force is less powerful and requires further input, such as an initial idea to build upon, or another brain to provoke and challenge. A partnership can be very effective, where one party stimulates ideas from the other.
This is quite common in the music world; Leiber & Stoller, Goffin & King, Bacharach & David, Rogers & Hammerstein. Where would Elton be without input from Bernie Taupin? Of course when it comes to songwriting there can be a clear division between music and lyrics.
Visual arts are a different matter of course. In trying to think of successful partnerships I came up with Gilbert & George… and then stopped. There have been many successful collaborations over the years, often involving those from very different artistic backgrounds. A recent programme on the art history of the Cote D’Azur reminded me that the French writer and film maker Jean Cocteau famously collaborated with Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso and Sergei Diaghilev to create the ballet Parade. The creative equivalent of The A Team!
At first I struggled to think of examples of this in the field of photography, but of course I was missing the obvious. In any photograph there is the interplay between photographer and subject, for even a landscape or a still life can generate ideas by the confluence of shapes and light, though of course it is most apparent in portrait photography.
Working with five models on Sunday really highlighted this to me. I definitely fall into the category of a creative who needs that external stimulus, rather than pulling ideas from nowhere. Consequently working with Jemma and Cassie seemed to work best for me; their input and interpretation took me in new directions. Helen, who featured in the blog yesterday, is less experienced I believe and therefore more malleable. Great for those with the fully formed idea in mind, not so good for me.
Amy-Leigh was very popular with many of the others shooting on the day, and it’s easy to see why. She’s clearly beautiful, and takes direction well… from those who are directive. I shot a number of poses with her in two locations and yet didn’t really feel I’d captured many original images. This was confirmed when I came to process them and found that many needed to be cropped in very different ways to the way I had originally envisaged the composition and framing. I wondered if I would have any decent images to share today.
As it happened I did. She’s young and beautiful which are not bad to fall back on!