collaborativefailure=genius

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This past weekend I was involved with a photo shoot. I wasn’t the one modeling, but boy I had a lot more fun then I thought I would. I had pretty low expectations, and my brother even said before we left that it wouldn’t be zoolander-like. WOW was he wrong.

We walk in the doors at 10am and the techno music is pumping and it’s in this big industrial warehouse location. Vicki our graphic designer was totally fashion-trendy, our photographer John, was totally emo, and his make-up assistant, Heather, had on pink snow boots, white sweatpants with PINK across the butt, a pink hoody and bleached blond hair up in spikes. So awesome.

What I really found interesting from the experience was being part of the process and watching creative collaboration happen in real-time. We’d normally call this “brainstorming” but that seems to aseptic for what I was part of it was really fun to sit back and watch it play out.

The interactions between the model and the photographer. The interactions between the photographer and the graphic designer. The interactions between the graphic designer and the model. Watching the creative process in real-time. Watching ideas spark ideas. It was almost like watching a stream of consciousness. We started at A expected to end up at B, and instead we ended up at N. But that’s not bad, or wrong, just more then we expected. The idea grew between the interactions. This itself isn’t a new idea, it was just neat to be part of.

The takeaway is this:

It comes down to the willingness to fail. John and Vicki tried some different things. The got creative with it. They followed tangential thoughts. If we were shooting 35mm would they have tried, probably not. But in a digital world there is room to fail. We took 18 GB of pictures in 4 hours. Some of them are going to be horrible, maybe the lighting may be a bit off. Or his face may be contorted. But in a digital world, it doesn’t matter. We scrap those and move on, because in that freedom to fail some of the pictures are going to be amazing for what we wanted. We could have been simple and boring, but we pushed the edge, and got some great shots. Josh over at his blog hyku mentions this idea of risk-less digital as well. He says, “You ask questions, you stir up controversy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The beauty of the medium is that you can fail fast and cheap.”

When the cost of failure is low, we normally experiment a bit more. I am a fan of the mantra “Go big or go home” How can you go big or go home? How can you experiment more? How can you fail (and learn) more?

If you want to check out Vicki’s work/company Bullhorn Creative

If you want to see some of John’s work, go to Vicki’s site, he took the picture on the opening page.

Have a great day everyone.

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