2. Anthony Luvera & Vincen Beeckman - (Un)Making Images Together: Photography and Collaboration

Making photographs has always been a collaborative act. A myriad of creative decisions, social interactions, divisions of labour, and many other forms of contribution are usually buried in service to the photographer’s ‘unique vision’. But what takes place when these processes of collaboration, co-production or social encounter are positioned as an integral part of the work presented to an audience? When the ‘subjects’ are recast as ‘participants’ taking part in a socially-engaged, community, collaborative, or participatory photography practice?

(Un)Making Images Together will bring together a community of practitioners invested in photography and collaboration. Together we will explore some of the practical, theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues that can arise when working in this way. This workshop is an invitation to experiment with ways of engaging individuals, groups of people, and communities, as active participants in the process of creating work about their lives, experiences, and points of view about the world around them. At the heart of this workshop is a focus on the dynamic between the photographer and subject. To view this relationship as a scale of interaction marked by degrees of collaboration, ranging from fleeting and short-term interactions, sustained strategies of facilitation, co-production and pedagogy, through to longer-term relationships and collective action. Who stands to benefit from collaboration? Who determines the parameters of an invitation to participate? Whose needs, intentions or ambitions can be fulfilled, and to what ends?

We will begin by spending time discussing and sharing feedback on each other’s work. Collectively we will determine ways to learn from each other throughout the workshop – tutors, participants and collaborators alike. We may create work in collaboration with the local community of Zaļenieki. Together we will find ways to chart our process of working alongside one another, and the questions, observations and experiences we exchange throughout the workshop. Themes of authorship, agency, consent, and representation will be considered. Strategies of dialogue, play, chance, and failure will be explored and discussed. In this workshop we will seek to expand our understanding of the implications of photography and collaboration, and to experiment with new ways of working.

Technical and prior requirements
There are no specific technical requirements for taking part in this workshop. Participants are asked to bring examples of socially-engaged work they have made with individuals or communities, created through strategies of participation, collaboration or co-production. Examples need not involve photography only. They are invited to bring along any kind of equipment (photographic or other) - such as disposable cameras, phone cameras, digital sound recorders, digital SLRs, collage materials, or instant film cameras. Most importantly, participants should be open to meeting new people from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life, including the people living in Zaļenieki whom we may encounter and get to know.

Anthony Luvera is a socially engaged artist, writer and educator who has collaborated with people who have experienced homelessness in cities and towns across the United Kingdom for over fifteen years. The long-term collaborative projects he creates with homeless people and other community groups have been exhibited widely in galleries, museums and public spaces, including Tate Liverpool, London Underground’s Art on the Underground, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Belfast Exposed Photography, Australian Centre for Photography, PhotoIreland, Malmö Fotobiennal, Goa International Photography Festival, and Les Recontres D’Arles Photographie. Anthony is an Associate Professor and Course Director of MA Photography and Collaboration at Coventry University. He also contributes to the public education programmes for the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Royal Academy of Arts, The Photographers’ Gallery, Barbican Art Gallery, Magnum, and community photography projects across the UK.

Vincen Beeckman (1973, Brussels) – Artist, photographer and curator at Recyclart Art Centre, Brussels. Vincen Beeckman works with still images and people to create intimate stories. By exploring the notions of identity and society, Beeckman discovers new dimensions and opens up new definitions. Through analogue media and conversation, he investigates what it means to exist, to just be in the everyday, without being exceptional or beautiful, or complex. Paradoxically, he finds what is special in the ordinary; normality - on the borderline. His work has been shown at Fondation A, Fomu Antwerpen, WIELS, Centrale Electrique, Bozar, Le Botanique, Photo España, Les Recontres d'Arles, Pavlov's Dog Berlin. He is also responsible for the programming for the Recyclart association in Brussels, a dynamic laboratory and art center generating socio-artistic experimentations, meetings and urban initiatives.