a conversation about conversations

By Joel Ivan Thomas

Photographers Darja Preuss and Fabian Schwarze are creating an ongoing visual dialogue despite the confines of isolation.

Photography is often a solitary exercise, where artists quietly roam the streets hoping to immortalise a ray of light that will never shine the same way again. It can also be collaborative, especially in the commercial world when you’re working in teams with models, art directors, assistants, makeup artists, stylists, producers. But, it’s not often that photographers work only with each other to create images, to tell a story. conversations is a platform conceptualized by Yana Wernicke & Jonas Feige in response to artists being in isolation. Photographers apply through the website, and if chosen, the creators pair them up with someone who they think will create an interesting visual dialogue. In this sense, it’s an experiment in curation as well as photography.

However, many photographers seem in favour of posting a gem from their archive which works well as a standalone photo but doesn’t seem to communicate with their partner photographer’s work. They talk but they don’t listen.

The conversation between Darja Preuss (@dara.prsz) and Fabian Schwarze (@fschwrze) isn’t like this. The pair have an intrinsic understanding of each other's visual style, blending together patterns, ethereal lights, and careful shapes to create a conversation that truly resonates. They listen to each other and don’t stop pushing the dialogue forwards.

They’re building a world together.

In five words, how would you describe the work of your conversation partner?

Fabian: Unexpected. Directly weird. Beautiful. Flash

Darja: Playful, thought out, beautifully reduced.

And now, in five words, how would you describe your own work?

F: Always anxious for good answers

D: Experimental, playful, documentary, flashy, colourful.

Do you feel like you've had to alter your style to fit the voice of your conversation partner?

F: Not directly. I try to step out of my comfort zone and enjoy trying new things. I’m trying to find a style that works for both of us.

D: No, not at all. I always like to play with different styles and I really like the challenge. I also like the way our conversation is moving through our different moods while isolated.

What do you think is the strongest aspect of this series?

F: I think we both always try to get a good picture in response to the one before that. Sometimes it's the colour, or they fit thematically, but they always fit together pretty good. You can almost make a story out of it.

D: I think, like me, he isn’t afraid to try different or new styles of photography to make our

conversation more exciting and surprising.

What do you think is the weakest aspect of the series?

F: We use our flash too much and sometimes, I think, we have too many details and too few people.

D: I don't think there can be any weaknesses in this kind of creative conversation. The current

situation is so strange and scary, exciting, tiring and difficult for us all. Everyone is fighting with so many things at the same time. And just as our moods are currently very ambivalent. The pictures in the conversations with photographers can also represent a different mood every day.

Would you like to work on something together post-isolation?

F: We have quite different subjects and also different styles. I can imagine that we could create very interesting works together.

D: Yes, very much. I think as a photographer it is sometimes important to work on projects with other photographers in order to have a creative exchange and not to lose sight of other perspectives and ways of thinking.