My great-grandfather served in the Navy during the Second World War. He sent letters home to his daughter, and for a long time, they were kept in a box at her house. They were hard to decipher because so much of what he’d written was censored. I remember trying to read the blacked-out lines—which I’m sure was impossible to do. I always put the letters away thinking I’d come back to them later when I had more time, but the box went missing.
My grandmother was able to accept this disappearance with a shrug, reminding me that for her, those letters represented a period of fear and uncertainty. For the rest of us, it was devastating to have lost them. But all we ever had of his words were fragments to piece together. All we ever have of the past is fragmented. Memory flickers and fades. The stories we hand down are always changing. Dark Water Lavender pieces some of these fragments together to tell the story of a father and daughter, how their lives were shaped by one another, and by the time they spent separated by forces far outside of their control.
I'm fascinated by the way art projects evolve through creative collaboration. It takes enormous trust between two artists to focus their collective energy on an idea, knowing it could lead in all sorts of directions.
I've had a few inspiring collaborations over the years and always feel they lead to new insights and perspectives. During my podcast days, I would often ask other photographers about their creative collaborations, and nearly every one of them talked passionately about how important it is to find collaborators you vibe with artistically.
However, with my own work, I don't feel I'm at the right juncture to pursue deeper collaborations at this point because I don't feel prepared enough. I need a bit more time but I do keep in touch with a few artists and those conversations always feel very collaborative in nature, even if we're just sharing ideas and opinions.
One of those artists is photographer Kyle Worthy. We connected at the end of 2021 when I was experimenting with offering consulting services. He was looking for some input on a road trip project he was pursuing in his home state of North Carolina.
Over a few conversations, we dug into this project, discussing different themes while looking at his edit of black and white landscape photos. It was a well thought out project with some wonderfully observant landscape photographs.
I became even more intrigued when he mentioned he was also working on a project that involved family photos, and a potential collaboration with his sibling Leah Worthy, a writer.
During these conversations, we talked about how different ideas for projects have a tendency of merging and influencing each other. It's something I've noticed in my work and it's common for artists to combine different ideas and threaded them together into one larger projects.
It's one of those mysterious aspects about creativity and art. When you get deep into the process, you often don't know how everything will connect together. It's why a common piece of art wisdom that gets passed down is to work on several different projects and ideas at once. In short, make a lot of art and see how it connects.
Our conversations were a different type of collaboration as I was consulting, but over time I felt more connected to the projects. It scratched that editor itch and made me wonder about getting into indie publishing, despite the odds of success. But what does that matter really when you can produce interesting and inspiring art?
Kyle and Lead started working on a new zine and as the months passed by Kyle would periodically check in and share the status of the project. Then one day I finally received word that they'd made the first zine. Kyle put one in the mail for me, and a few weeks later it arrived.
It's an exquisitely crafted little zine, with great photos, collages, storytelling and design. Sometimes zines can have a flimsy feel to them which is part of the aesthetic, but not in this case. Kyle and Leah's zine is more like a small book. It feels like a chapter in a much larger story, which is where the project seems to be heading. It's a great format for the story they want to tell.
It was inspirational to see the project evolve and come to fruition, culminating in a great printed piece of art. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about it. I think Kyle and Leah have a wonderful sense of storytelling and a great eye for visual detail so I am excited to see the collaboration flourish.
I especially enjoy how each spread contains it's own ideas on how the information is organized. I could see each spead framed on a wall as an individual art piece. I absolutely love that approach to bookmaking!
"Memory Vistas is a collaboration between photographer Kyle Worthy and writer Leah Worthy that examines our relationship with memory through image and text. We hope you’ll join us for the ride."
15 Tipped-in Prints