The Gift of Collaboration

Ocean Mirage • w/ Julia Mosley • 01 by Sarah Barker

I began working with Julia Mosley one year ago to the month. Our collaboration began on a sunny day in June 2017, in a nearby public garden where she had agreed to model for me. Being a talented musician, she had agreed to participate in my study assignment shoot in exchange for the photographs being used in her promotional activities, which I agreed was more than fair. Julia and I went back a little further than that already. I had previously featured her music a number of times in my online arts magazine and she was aware of my keen interest in photography. Our shoot that day proved to be energetic, inspiring yet also extremely easy. The way we worked together, you’d be mistaken for thinking we had known each other our whole lives.

Now, I don’t mind telling you that my mental health situation wasn’t fantastic that year. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy was a big help, but it can be hard to function when you feel like you’re surrounded by people who do nothing but take. Shutting down was an easy option. However, Julia’s friendship and our new found fondness for collaboration took hibernation off the table and replaced it with a far better idea.

For the past twelve months, we have continued to team up and produce some amazing DIY projects including photography, music videos and graphic designs. I use the term “DIY” because we essentially work either without a budget or on a stupidly small one. Our “studio” is a spare room at the top of Julia’s house. Our setup is usually a free public space or a selection of fabric laid over the floor or draped from a door. Our lighting effects are provided by Julia’s old £15 stage light. Oh, and those headdresses? I made those. That paint dress? We hung it over the washing line and painting it ourselves.

Collaboration has helped our friendship to grow and in doing so, Julia has successfully introduced me to other local musicians who quickly became good friends. I found myself invited to plenty of shows, open mic nights and general hangouts. Allowing someone else to team up with me, share my creativity and allow theirs to seep into mine proved to be the key to unlocking a far more social and fulfilling life.

What do you do when you’re surrounded by people who do nothing but take? Continue to give. Give and give some more. Give your time to a meaningful collaboration. Give your talents to someone else and allow their gifts to influence you too. Find your muse, find your creative equal…..find the willpower to keep on doing what you love.