In Tandem

In Digital, Inspiration, Mobile
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In my post earlier this month, I wrote that I didn’t have specific projects planned.  Well, not exactly true…silly me, I have a very special photography project.  It’s a collaboration that began three years ago with my friend and photographer, Barbara Paulsen.  As we begin 2017, we are embarking on our fourth year of working together.

Our work has shifted over the years, but has always remained a mobile photography endeavor.  At the outset, we shot exclusively in Hipstamatic, and explored various black and white film + lens combinations.  That project was titled 12 of 12 x 2.  We cycled through four main prompts (out, in, up, down);  we shot – and posted a diptych of our shots – on the twelfth of each month.  It was simple, and kept us connected and shooting.

Americana  ||  Rock BW-11  ||  Michelle | Barbara  ||  March 12, 2014  || {up}

Diego |   || AO BW  ||  Michelle | Barbara  ||  October 12, 2014  || {in}

From there, we shifted to our current project, Tandem Echoes, in which we select quotes as the springboard for our visual interpretation; we share our diptychs on the first Friday of each month.  2017 marks the beginning of our third year with Tandem Echoes.  From our site:  Each month we choose a quote.  Each month we make a mobile photograph inspired by that quote.  Across the miles, we shoot in tandem.  Here, we share our visual echoes.

And that third sentence – Across the miles, we shoot in tandem – is the crux of it.  It’s not an ambitious project, but there’s something to each of us thinking about the same quote, each of us making a photograph, and then putting them side by side.  There’s something to doing what we both love…together.  If I had my druthers, I’d meet Barbara for coffee and hikes and you-name-it on a regular basis.  But she’s on the west coast of the U.S. and I’m on the east coast of the U.S.  And so…Across the miles, we shoot in tandem.

I find I always have to write something on a steamed mirror. (Elaine Dundy)
Michelle | Barbara  || July 1, 2016

Anywhere is paradise; it’s up to you. (Author Unknown)
Michelle | Barbara  ||  March 4, 2016

We don’t talk about the quote or what we shoot, so we’re often surprised with the parallels and synchronicities.  Sometimes our photos feel different, but if you look closely, there’s always something that links them visually.  Each time we see our images paired side by side, Barbara and I are delighted.

Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see. (Paul Klee)
Michelle | Barbara  ||  December 4, 2015

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. (W.T. Ellis )
Michelle | Barbara  ||  December 2, 2016

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. (Henry David Thoreau)
Michelle | Barbara  ||  March 27, 3015

Along with our brainstormed lists of quotes and the numerous image files emailed, there is deeper conversation and friendship.  Snippets of our days are told.  There are questions asked and experiences shared, support given and space held.  Though our friendship has always been one of distance, it is a friendship that is close and solid and true.  So much in our online world overwhelms me…but this friendship (and this photography collaboration) would not exist but for the internet.  Within my overwhelm are pockets of immense goodness…Barbara and Tandem Echoes are one of those pockets.

Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. (Paolo Coelho)
Michelle | Barbara  ||  October 2, 2015

It’s a wonderful thing to explore a passion while growing a friendship.  This project, Tandem Echoes, is a gift to me in so many ways.  It’s quite simple in its direction.  But the underlying currents of practice and commitment and friendship linger and bloom with every quote, with every diptych, with every email exchanged.

Do you have any collaborative photography projects – big or small?  Share them with us in the comments so we can have a look!  Do you have photographer friends with whom you share your clicking passion?!  We’d love to hear about it!




  1. Thank you for the introduction to Tandem Echoes, a place that brightened my morning, as I head out for a long day. I don’t have a collaborative project ongoing but I have a photographer friend, Rebecca Lily, who inspired me to begin my 365 Project, as I followed hers. We’ve shared hundreds of emails and messages behind the scenes, growing together. And now, I look forward to the opportunity to participate in a collaborative project, too!

    • oh, that’s wonderful, Donna! it’s really something special to share a passion and grow a friendship, isn’t it?!
      so glad you and Rebecca are doing just this. xo

  2. Oh these are just gorgeous. I do love a collaboration, but haven’t done one myself for a while now. I must work on that.

    • thank you, Kirstin.
      even with just once a month, it’s a collaboration that’s so much fun and one I treasure.

  3. I love, love, love this collaboration! And your project inspired me to start a new one this year with a much younger friend. It’s just starting but it gives me a nice creative boost! (I may write about it in an upcoming post so stay tuned. We’re posting on IG if you want to take a peek.)

    • oh, Leslie, this makes me smile! the boost of working with someone is pretty wonderful.
      I can’t wait to have a look at your project! I’ll look for it on your personal feed, but if you happen to come back here…do leave information about where specifically to find it…for everyone 🙂

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