on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Collaborative Photographer

The long chain of the photographic process

Rafael Rojas

Following a career as an engineer, researcher and university lecturer he made a dramatic change of career as a nature and landscape photographer, his true passion and vocation. Today, he travels extensively in search of those fleeting moments when light and land combine to create something very special. His work has been awarded in many international photography competitions, including the prestigious Master Hasselblad Award, several First Prizes in the International Photography Awards (USA), Px3 Prix de la Photographie de Paris and Px3 People's Choice (France), Nature’s Best (USA), International Conservation Awards (USA),

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When it comes to the idea of the photographer, there is something glamorous about the idea of the solitary individual, lost in the wilderness or submerged into the action of a war, working his way through adversity and challenges, bringing to the rest of mortals images most of us cannot expect to see with our own eyes. The reality, more often than not, is exactly like this. Photography, at least in the way I practice is, is a complete solitary endeavour, and in fact, that is one of the things that attract me the most about it.

However, it is interesting to see that this is not the case for all photographers, artists, or creative individuals. In fact, even for the most solitary photographers, there are frequent moments where collaboration with other individuals related to the long chain of the photographic process.

A good example of this is the common collaborations between photographers and printers. Some are the photographers who print their own work, but many are those who have a person of confidence in charge of printing their work, either in the darkroom or in the digital lab with inkjet printers. These collaborations, based not only on technical aspects but also on creative and expressive issues, can foster in the photographer a feeling of belonging to a community, bringing something together with the help of other people and creating something physical that exists by means of a team collaborative effort. In the same way having a child as an act of love and collaboration taking place within a couple, working together with a master printer in the creation of a portfolio or a print can prove a very rewarding experience.

Putting together a book with the help of a publisher will mean having to work and collaborate with an editor, who will help us decide which photos, where and how they will appear in our book. Printing that book will also open the door to more collaboration, this time with the printer, preparing the files, making tests, validating and correcting the press as the sheets fly away. What in theory could be understood as a merely technical and barren collaboration that has to be done in order to obtain a final goal, can indeed be planned and approached in a creative way, taking advantage to think out of the box and analyze what we are doing from other perspectives. It might also shake our own convictions of how we want things done, and get to know other possibilities that we might now have considered in the first place. 



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