Blazej Marczak & Rafał Biernicki

Two photographers from Aberdeen and Sandomierz respectively are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Blazej Marczak and Rafał Biernicki http://theswap.info/bmrb.html.

Andrew Youngson & Valeria Cherchi

Two photographers from London are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Andrew Youngson and Valeria Cherchi http://theswap.info/ayvc.html.

I asked them some questions about their experience:

How do you know each other?

A: We met at London’s Photofusion Gallery as part of the New Creative Markets programme.

Did you discuss the shoot prior to taking the images?

A: Valeria asked me to suggest 3 London locations of which I had childhood memories and, in keeping with my conflict-related work, I wanted to photograph Valeria beside a WWII-era acoustic mirror.

V: Yes. It was a vital part of the process. I asked Andrew to think about three places linked to his memory in London and then I picked up one. Andrew suggested to shoot by a WWII acoustic mirror with his over-exposure technique, I really loved the idea.

How did you feel being the subject of a photograph as opposed to the photographer?

A: I was very open to it, especially as the location had some personal relevance.

V: I took many self-portraits in the past and my friends often take portraits of me, with this project the challenge was to be photographed by some one that I didn’t know very well. I guess that if I am curious to find out more about someone’s personality my approach doesn’t change just because there is a camera between us, it’s more about the relationship between myself (as a human being first and photographer after) and the other person, regardless of the ‘roles’ held in the precise moment of the photo shoot. Obviously when it’s about big projects it’s important to blend this with a method but generally yes, I don’t mind being on the other side of the camera as long as something inspiring is happening.

Did you enjoy the process?

A: Definitely! It was interesting to see another photographer’s working method.

V: I did, all the process was very inspiring.

Did you experiment with a new style of photography or did you reflect your normal approach?

A: Yes and no. I used a multiple [over]exposure technique that I had recently developed for landscape-based work but this was the first time I’d used it to make a portrait.

V: I didn’t experiment much in terms of aesthetic but I did in terms of process. I used to shoot portraits mostly of friends or strangers for commissioned jobs. After a while I felt the need of using my camera as an instrument to get deep into new issues and new relationships I am interested in but I might otherwise not explore. Andrew’s portrait has been one of these first attempts.

How do you think the two portraits relate to each other?

A: Both locations represent a bridge between past and present.

V: They are both somehow linked to the past.

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Chris Harris & Elizabeth Fleming

Two photographers from Bellevue and Maplewood respectively are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Chris Harris and Elizabeth Fleming http://theswap.info/chef.html.

Mikko Takkunen & Veronica Sanchis Bencomo

Two photographers from Brooklyn are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Mikko Takkunen and Veronica Sanchis Bencomo http://theswap.info/mtvb.html.

Carol Dass & Stacy Oborn

Two photographers from Colorado Springs are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Carol Dass and Stacy Oborn http://theswap.info/cdso.html.

Antoine Bruy & Olivier Despicht

Two photographers from Lille are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Antoine Bruy and Olivier Despicht http://theswap.info/abod.html.

Marie Destot & Marilia Destot

Two photographers from France and Brooklyn respectively are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Marie Destot and Marilia Destot http://theswap.info/mdmd.html.

Marilia wrote about her experience “Making a swap with my mum who used to be an amateur photographer and initiated me to photography i was her model when i was a child, and spent a lot of time with her in the dark room as well. Now i am the photographer  ( thank to her) , she’s a clothes designer, and i recently started a portrait project with her called “mum and me” i’m gonna develop in the next years, in which she’s now posing for and with me. When she visited last april, i proposed her to make a special session together for “the swap”. We’re posing together but we take turns with the remote and then each of us decide of the moment and somehow takes its own picture. I don’t remember exactly who took what actually, i guess from arm positions that my mum took the one with eyes closed, and me the one with eyes open, though it doesn’t really matter to me. We liked the idea of symmetry and reversed clothes and eyes position,  evoking the mirror idea of this swap, the reflection of time passing and exchanging roles = the photographer becomes the model and vice versa. Of course this double portrait explores the heritance and the photography transmission between us. The choice of graphic and reversed black and white clothes is also an allusion to the darkroom hours we shared, fascinated by the blank image revealing itself from negative to positive, from invisible to fully revealed.”

Bruce Long & Michael Werner

Two photographers from Hanau and Frankfurt respectively are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Bruce Long and Michael Werner http://theswap.info/blmw.html.

I asked them the usual questions about taking part in the project:

How do you know each other?

We have been married for 10 years.

Did you enjoy the process?

Bruce:  I hate being photographed, but have complete trust in Michael so was happy to go with his ideas.  I don’t like being in that position, which might be a bit unfair since my main artistic subject area is other people.  The process of collaborating and working together was very enjoyable, more than the fact of ending up in a photograph.

Michael: I have to admit that I prefer being behind the camera instead of being the subject. But as Bruce already said, I too trust Bruce completely and I know that whatever he comes up with I will do it and I know the results will be great.

Did you experiment with a new style of photography or did you reflect your normal approach?

Bruce: We chatted about the project a lot, but didn’t talk about the exact photos we wanted to take. As so often happens, the images we’ve actually submitted evolved spontaneously from playing with the ideas we originally started playing with.  For me, this is how I usually work with a model in the studio, so it was a pretty typical representation of my work.

Michael For me it was a bit different, since I usually don’t do so much portrait work. But it was a challenge and I love the idea behind The Swap. I knew what I wanted to achieve with Bruce’s portrait. I had different ideas, some were very close to what my typical style or approach is, some were further away. But when it came to the actual shoot, I was more spontaneous and tried different things. In the end the result is not my typical approach or style (although in terms of the colour scheme it comes very close) but perfectly shows Bruce’s personality and history.

How do you think the two portraits relate to each other?

Bruce:  I think the portraits both actually have a lot of intimate detail if the viewer knows what to look for. I guess at first glance they seem slightly whimsical but both actually have elements that reflect parts of each of our backgrounds and stories that are fairly core to our ways of being. Its fair to say that both portraits have ended up being more about the subject than the photographer, which is probably not what our first ideas would have been. On the other hand, that is a really exciting thing because the very trust involved for that to occur becomes itself the representation of the relationship between photographer and subject.

Nathan Pearce & Steve Matzker

Two photographers from Carbondale, Illinois are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Nathan Pearce and Steve Matzker http://theswap.info/npsm.html.

I asked them the usual questions about their experience:

How do you know each other?

Steve: We met at Southern Illinois University, in a photojournalism class.  That was several years ago now.

How did you feel being the subject of a photograph as opposed to the photographer?

Nathan: I actually enjoy it. A portrait is really a collaborative effort between subject and photographer and I would say I enjoy being on the other side just as much. That may be because it happens so rarely.

Did you discuss the shoot prior to taking the images?

Nathan: A little bit but mostly we waited and saw what worked best when shooting. there wasn’t much of a plan but I would say that both of us had ideas that we brought to the shoot.

Did you enjoy the process?

Steve: I did enjoy the process.  It was a learning experience in the sense of wondering how Nathan was taking my portrait.  It was difficult not to try and add my two cents to his approach, which I failed at by the way (my apologies Nathan). But, for me, enjoying the process of photography is relative…having gone through the photojournalism school my approach is very much documentary and I try to stylize what is in front of me to the best of my ability, and in order for me to give myself of the situation and make the best image I can I have to be present.  That’s the relative part of enjoying the process: I enjoy it when I’m in that state of mind and I don’t when I’m not because then I am just going through the motions and hoping for the best.  But the act itself is a joy and nothing else.

Did you experiment with a new style of photography or did you reflect your normal approach?

Steve: Even though I will always strive to improve as a photographer, portraits seem to be the hardest for me to break through creatively.  I’m a deconstructionist in the sense of walking blindly into a situation and picking out elements that would make a good composition. I think portraiture on the other hand requires construction of elements…especially light, and that has been a challenge for me. So with that said, my approach to Nathan’s portrait, and portraiture is fairly straightforward. What you see is what you get.

How do you think the two portraits relate to each other?

Nathan: Well for the obvious both of the portraits were shot at the same place but on different days. The feeling of each of those days was different so I think the portraits ended up with different moods as well. As for the style of the pictures although Steve and I have different shooting styles I think the resulting portraits both ended up in a place where our styles sort of overlap so while they are not the same I think they compliment each other well.

Olivier Despicht & Paul Rousteau

Two photographers from Lille and Paris respectively are taking part in today’s ‘The Swap’ by the name of Olivier Despicht and Paul Rousteau http://theswap.info/odpr.html.