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Portraits in Collaboration
Summer 2018

Photography Claudine Boeglin

Portraits in Collaboration is a visual conversation where one agrees to set to lights and the other to tame the lights. It’s a furtive exchange dipped in mutual respect. A series of images emerges, either through a shared edit or a freestyle composition.

Summer 2018. I met Devin at Playground Coffee Shop, a social activist community space founded by Zenat Begum on Bedford and Quincy in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. A month later, Devin and I agreed to meet in his atelier on Flushing Avenue. Devin was shy in front of the lens, shading under his hat. An angel passed. Art has blank page vertigo. And photography cannot deal with empty. Our mutual shyness got us to stare at the wall. I started to photograph Devin's art and artefacts realising how many layers it unfolds We are always so dramatically focused on a face when ‘portraits in absence’ are often revealing much more. Now I had set him free to compose his own piece of work, jamming from print to screen to an improvised canvas on the floor. We now were busy beasts spinning without frictions around scattered and textured material to make something out of it. When I left Devin’s atelier, Brooklyn itself wore layered textures that people were filling up as if a canvas. It was a Perfect Day. Devin B. Johnson.
© Dandy Vagabonds 2019