In Collaboration with Annamarie Dzendrowskyj
As a photographer it pains me to say it but in a direct comparison to painting, photography will always come out worse as an ‘art form’.
And I can see why.
I used to paint. I wanted to be a painter in a teenage, overly romantic kind of a way. But it didn’t take long for the lure and immediacy of photography to capture me. Looking back it was almost like having a choice between watching a high brow arty film with subtitles or a brain dead blockbuster. Sometimes you just take the easy option.
Painting needs a strong voice, style and, above all, perseverance. Don’t get me wrong, so does photography and, in many ways it’s harder for that voice and style to shine through, but with painting you need an idea to start with and hours of building and developing for that it to thrive. Not a pre-existing landscape, or the Image result for tableau vivant of life playing out before your eyes, ready and waiting to be photographed.
If a photographer gets writer’s block, they can enter the darkroom (or computer) or return to some old negs (or files) to keep busy. A painter and writer can only stare at blank paper or canvass, spiralling into the abyss, waiting to surface for air.
Within minutes of meeting Annamarie I realized she was living through such a struggle.
But, as luck would have it (for both of us), she paints landscapes. Beautiful ethereal, atmospheric and magical landscapes. The sort of paintings I’d like my photographs to bring home for me to meet, in order to announce an impending wedding…
Looking back, it was inevitable really.
As we chatted I discovered that she paints from photographs, snapped at various locations, from out of car windows or from tops of mountains. But she’d run out of images and, for one reason or another, was unable to travel to take more. She needed inspiration.
It was me who made the move. I have no idea how long it would have taken her to ask me, but I offered first. Would she be interested in using my images? As I watched the weight lift from her shoulders, I knew I didn’t need to wait for her answer. My mind had already started planning.
As the months passed and the sketches and rough paintings rolled in, their beauty made it obvious that they too should be included. Very quickly the ideas for the exhibition solidified, the narrative became obvious and the concept and relationship between our work grew and came to life.
Paintings, of course, take time to create and the very nature of the collaboration means my work must exist before Annamarie’s – which it does – so there is little for me to do other than sit back and wait with baited breath for the birth of her work.
Slowly we are getting there.
We have visited some wonderful galleries, looking for that perfect space – all the while talking about and planning the show. And I will happily continue being patient. There is no rush at all. And yet…I – no, we – cannot wait to share it with you, because, put simply, our work will look stunning together.
Get ready because West of the Sun will be performing a duet.