Eye to Eye III
The following interactive series of photographs, monologues and polls is part of a year-long international collaboration that I initially embarked upon with UK-based photographer, Simon Ashmore, in late 2020. Via Twitter, we had invented a speaking game geared at exploring the ever-daunting process of titling photographs and other works of arts. Our ambition was to muse openly about each other’s work and to record the spontaneous monologues on our phones during spirited Zoom calls. “Eye to Eye,” as we came to call the project, was at once a revelatory experience. Not only did our spoken stream-of-consciousness evoke individual artistic processes, and foundational inspirations, we were equally spell-bound to hear each other interpret new imagery upon first glance. Challenged to steer our monologues to culminate in the proposal of two possible titles for each image, we planned to invite readers to decide between the four titles we’d come up with together in online polls.
By spring, we’d become so enthralled with what we’d created together, that Simon and I decided to try the game with additional colleagues. At Simon’s introduction, UK-Based Photographers Valda Bailey and Michela Griffith agreed to join our collaboration. We promptly paired off to explore new perspectival combinations and were wonderfully surprised by how heartfelt and inspiring each recording session proved to be.
In “Eye to Eye” we invite viewers to tour unique galleries, listen to us muse collaboratively about possible titles for our work, and to provide a decisive verdict in the accompanying polls.
– Jeffrey F. Barken
Michela Griffith’s abstract images celebrate the beauty and diversity of water in motion, and its ever changing interaction with light, land and season. An extended dialogue with the River Dove near Michela’s home has led to a dramatically different and highly individual photographic practice. By working locally Michela has developed a clear vision and a distinctive style: she no longer looks to record that which she sees, but to interpret it, to paint an impression that over time brings her a little closer to her own relationship with the land and with nature’s dynamic. Current work explores natural mark-making, with water as canvas, and mixes paint with pixel. “The river has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing,” Michela writes.
Jeffrey F. Barken is an author, photographer, and the creator of Monologging.org. Follow his “open journal” on Twitter and Instagram for a window into his creative process and to join in collaborative ventures. A list of his recent publications is available here.