Visual Conversations

Is it possible to have a conversation without words?

This exhibit is the result of visual conversations between seven photographers. It explores communication via the exchange of images rather than words. As in any meaningful conversation, there is attentiveness and a flow of expression and ideas that connect people to each other.

We chose to create a one-way circular conversation (somewhat like the game of “telephone” or “whisper down the lane”). The conversation was initiated by one photographer sending an image to a second photographer, who “responded” by sending one of her images to the next, and so on. When we received an image we had no context or knowledge of the previous images. As soon as we finished one round of our circle, we began another round, but we changed places in the circle. A conversation was “complete” once each of us had had the opportunity to respond to each of the others (seven intersecting circles).

Individually, it was inspiring and challenging! Did I want to do something similar or change the conversation? What was most significant to me about what I was seeing? Did I respond to the subject, the color palette, a shape, the quality of light, a ripple on the water, a feeling? Would my image convey my emotional response? Should I create a new image or search my files for a good fit?

As photographers, we usually work alone. Visual Conversations was an exciting opportunity to create in community. We were each vital links and felt a strong sense of commitment to each other and to the project. As we didn’t see our images in conversation with each other until the entire sequence of 42 was complete, there was great anticipation about what the finished work would look like. We saw it for the first time as a group, and it was fascinating to observe the visual flow and share reactions and insights.

The work exhibited in Visual Conversations presents one complete conversation and short runs from other conversations. 
We invite the viewer to ask themselves: What do you see? Do you understand our responses? What surprises you? 

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This is one continuous conversation of 42 images. It began with the first image which was sent to the second artist who created her response and sent it to the next person. Everyone sent and received to a different person during the conversation

The Artists

We are a group of photo-based artists living in New England. We gather for retreats several times a year to share work and feedback and encourage each others’ creative growth. Looking for a way to continue these meaningful conversations and stimulate each other between our gatherings, we decided to initiate an ongoing visual conversation, taking turns receiving and then responding to images from each other. The idea was originally just to inspire each other, but once we saw the outcome of our first visual conversation, we realized that we had created a collaborative creative piece, and decided to do more.

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