From the blog

How-to create a successful collaboration

Collaboration sparks your creativity and productivity like nothing else.  That is, at least, when a collaboration works well. Jordan Oram, who explained last week how every photographer is unique, explains the why and how-to successfully create these connections.

'Around the bend' - Dutch Creek Bridge, British Columbia

‘Around the bend’ – Dutch Creek Bridge, British Columbia

Let’s look at the flow of history

What is the reason we as a western society went to a place with such a heavy emphasis on intellect and reason? It’s because before we had them, we believed many superstitions that weren’t true.

We are along the edge of an unprecedented age of collaboration, combining the heart and the head, where we can share lives and experiences. The key is to be able to communicate healthy boundaries and invite relationships as a preferred method of moving ourselves forward.

Religion, cultural customs, all were beliefs and behaviours intended to keep us connected to the group, and many of our superstitions were intended to manipulate. Shame, guilt, and fear, are good tools for keeping people in line in the community when you all have to depend on each other. Then people pushed away the shame and guilt and began to rely on the Self. Reason freed us from these old belief systems, yet we also lost the benefits of living as part of a collective and the creativity that can often be found in superstition. Heart vs mind.

Independence, however, isn’t the end of this journey. Now, we’re on the cusp of  a time during which heart and mind fuse together. What does it look like? We’re in a place of grappling and figuring it out. We can look around. We can look at what has worked in the past; what the consequences and opportunities have been. We can try out different models and look for better ways.

We are along the edge of an unprecedented age of collaboration, combining the heart and the head, where we can share lives and experiences. The key is to be able to communicate healthy boundaries and invite relationships as a preferred method of moving ourselves forward.

I think of some micro-communities as an example of places where people are independent but invite others to share in the community. Each person brings in their strengths.  This also forces us to question the nature of our relationships. What does it meant to love one another? What is harmony and balance?

What’s a micro-community?

It could be a number of roommates sharing co-housing and hosting a monthly house concert as a way to share expression. I know a pastor and his wife that choose to live in a house with another two people from their community. They share common areas but each couple also has their own space. They host community events as they desire.

The beauty of the model is that no one is telling you how to set up your communities. You find and articulate guidelines and then people have to negotiate, work it out, live it out, and develop and grow relationships as they develop their dynamic. And it is dynamic. Not static. Things are constantly changing in the world and in our relationships.

Who are you and what do you do?

Many people think of me as a photographer or a writer.  But that’s not who I am, it’s just what most people see. Those are tangential. What is my primary passion? What is my primary purpose? They are my desire to encourage people to find out what their gifts are and help them their potential. To help us all find better ways to be healthy and amazing. That’s what inspires and motivates me. So on my trip, the thing i love most are the conversations I have with the people I meet. I appreciate the way we share our existences and bump together and grow, teach, and learn from each other.

They are my desire to encourage people to find out what their gifts are and help them their potential. To help us all find better ways to be healthy and amazing. That’s what inspires and motivates me.

I’m walking the road to figure out what I’m doing. The ultimate resulting product is not something that becomes photos or books. It is the change that will happen in the lives of the people i’ve met and how they change because of our interactions. That is what I want my legacy to be.

Example: In Nanaimo, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, there’s a guy named Ryan Jobson whom I stayed with at the second city on my cross-Canada trip last year. He’s been writing ambient music in his bedroom. I was the zany fellow sleeping on his couch, and he asked me if I’d like to listen to his music. He has huge big ass speakers and a fancy recording microphone. He made music in his spare time. It wasn’t his job, and his music was great. I listened and invited him to compose background music for a video made of images I’d taken on a recent rainforest beach ramble. He wasn’t sure he was good enough. But I thought it was great. I haven’t worked at it. He’s sunk hours doing it. So I invited him to think about it, and then we collaborated on a video.

Next I connected him with Wandering Educators and he did a some work for them. Things were rolling along. A few months later I contacted him to enquire about doing another collaborative video and, apologizing, he  said he’d love to but he was quite busy working on his own album! How exciting to see how far he’d come in confidence in those few months. He released his own album of ambient music right around the day I finished my trip across Canada and back.

He’s recently enrolled in a program to become a music recording engineer. To me, being able to be a part of that, is the most rewarding and amazing thing I can do.

How is my photography connected to my philosophy?

I see connections. Photography is the balance of subjects in a picture. Looking at all the elements and finding that sweet spot, that harmony within them.

Want to add your voice to this discussion? Let us know what you do, where you come from and how you’d like to collaborate with others?

 

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