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Week 3: Collaboration & Working Independently in my Practice

This week we were discussing participatory, collective, cooperative, and collaborative practices that are often used interchangeably.

I looked up the definitions and this is how I understand the differences between each practice.

Collaborative: A team of people working together to achieve a shared goal. All collaborators share ownership of the project.

Cooperative: Individuals in a network exchange their experience or information in order to support each other’s goal. The key point is that there is no shared vision. Each individual takes ownership of their own project.

Collective: A group of people working towards the same goal, however through independent projects. Each person takes ownership of their own work.

Participatory: People involved in a project of somebody else, fulfilling their vision. They are just components of the work. The ownership belongs to the author of the project.

This is my experience with these practices:

It’s always great to meet like-minded people with similar motivations to do nude photography - enjoy being nude, do something liberating, be part of art.

These photos were created through a collaboration with my friend Jan. I found her profile on a platform for models. What drew my attention was her statement that she would like to collaborate on something meaningful because she doesn’t want to be just a pretty subject in the photographer’s portfolio.

Lucie Nechanicka, Jan Farn Chi, 2019 Our vision was to represent the body as a part of the environment. Body that matches with the elements in the photograph and completes it like a final piece of puzzle.

We also wanted to take the advantage of Jan’s flexibility. The aim was to point out the capability of the body – it can bend and stretch on an incredible level. The body is not just about beauty, it’s also a reflection of her skills and hard work.

I enjoy collaborating with others, however I work mainly independently. In my case it means that I take photos of myself. Starting out with self-portraits was purely a matter of convenience as it gives me the ability to shoot anytime and (almost) anywhere I want. Although practicing it for many years made it become more special. Now it is like a ritual for me – part of my lifestyle that is indispensable.

For me standing in front of my camera is a full experience of doing photography because it gives me a perspective from both sides. By being in a total charge not just of the camera but also the poses I have the advantage to push them to the limits. I’m the one to strain the body when carrying out a difficult pose. The one to climb trees, to get scratched cold and dirty in order to get a photograph I want. I know the pain and costs of a good pose/photograph and in my opinion it is a valuable lesson.

However, it’s not always about pain. Most of the time when I do self-portraits at home I make coffee, get biscuits out, play music and simply enjoy a good quality time with myself.

Do I consider myself a model?

No. I’m a photographer who uses own body. These are some of my self-portraits:

Lucie Nechanicka, 2019 All these photos were taken in October. It was incredibly cold (even though it doesn't look like it) and I was struggling to hold still in the poses. Similarly to the photos with Jan, my goal was to make myself fit in the environment by shaping, blurring or positioning the body so it complements to other elements in the photograph. Another weekly task we have to complete is creating a zine. We can choose whether to work in a team or independently. I decided to work on my own because I would like to improve my editorial skills by doing every single part of the whole production process. But mainly it’s a great opportunity to put my work in order and present it in a way I think it is the best. An update on the zine will follow soon. :)

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