• Collaboration + Creativity = A Beautifully Connected World

      Concept CollaborationIt is no secret that I love a strong community of like-minded trail blazers motivating one another to achieve a goal or accomplish a righteous task. It is that love that introduced me to a collaboration that a good friend of mine recently created. It is a community built for photographers from across the globe to come together and create art by inspiring one another through personal experiences and by sharing methods derived from all walks of life.

      By Jake Vita

      I was immediately captivated by the amount of passion and love found within this initiative. David Talley has already done a fantastic job at explaining what his concept is all about through a very rich video found on his Kickstarter page. After viewing the groundwork he has so tenaciously laid out, I wanted to dig deeper and find the roots to what lead up to the creation of such an influential collaboration.

      I had the opportunity to speak with David the night before Thanksgiving and discuss his passions, inspirations, and what he hopes for Concept Collaborations’ bright future.

      A man wearing a striped shirt sitting

      David Talley (Photo – davidtalleyphoto.com)

      Where did you grow up? What inspired you to enter the world of photography, and did you ever imagine it would lead you to where you are at now?

      I grew up in La Verne, CA. I had a fairly normal childhood, was constantly creating, and consequently, taking things apart that I admittedly couldn’t put back together. I heard it from my mom quite often… I was always trying to make new things – K’nex, Legos; anything I could get my hands on, I was creating with. At the core of who I am, I am a creator, and my creativity extends far beyond the scope of photography. Before I found it, though, I think that creativity had been suppressed. In high school, my friends and I would ride our longboards in the foothills of upper La Verne and Claremont. I followed a longboarding company, Loaded Boards, and watched the leading page of their website update every week with the absolute coolest longboarding imagery I had ever seen. Light trails, multiple subjects, long exposures – I was sold. I saved up money from my job as a painter before my senior year of high school to buy a plunky DSLR kit so that I could start making longboarding photos of my own. While that lasted for a while, I constantly sought for something with deeper meaning. I remained obsessed with the photographic medium and my passion resulted in a lot of late-night photo blog hunting. I came across one particular entry on My Modern Metropolis featuring the work of a young photographer, who at 17 years old (the same age as I was at the time) was taking on a “365 day photo challenge.” But his photos weren’t just ordinary (longboarding) photos. They were called “conceptual” photographs. They were self-portraits. They had meaning. They had thought. I felt a deep and strong emotional connection as I viewed them. My breath was taken by the work of Alex Stoddard, and thirty minutes after viewing this small collection of his images, I began my own 365 project to try and create through my emotions just as he had. Looking back, I think that my 17-year-old self thought it might be cool to be a photographer someday, but I didn’t think it would provide me with all of the incredible, life-shaping opportunities it has. God blessed me with a desire to develop a talent which I hope extends beyond my own reach and into the hearts of others.

      What motivated you to begin your project, what are your short, and long term goals you hope to achieve with it?

      The project originally started out in January of 2013. The result of a creative slump, I wanted to challenge other photographers to create so that I could find inspiration and new perspective in our medium. It was also a way to connect and help other artists grow. Concept Collaboratoon Coffee Mug (Photo - Kickstarter.com).At the time, the response to the project was overwhelming, and while the positive response was welcomed, the project wasn’t where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t good enough. I shut it down after three short months and didn’t touch it again until my world was shaken exactly one year later. In April of 2014, I visited the headquarters for the popular photo-sharing site, flickr.com, to have a tour of their offices and meet their community outreach manager. I brought a few friends, all of whom I’d met on flickr.com, and we had a fantastic conversation about the community of flickr. One friend who I’d brought along mentioned the “Concept Collaboration” project I had done almost a year prior, and how it had changed her method of creation and helped her become the photographer she is today. As I heard this, I immediately resolved to reinstate the project as soon as I could. The following day, I had the entirety of my camera gear, lenses, laptop, and hard drives stolen from the back of a car. With just a pen and journal in hand, my 5-hour train ride from San Francisco to L.A. forced me to live up to my expression of reinstatement for Concept Collaboration. I don’t ever want to be someone who talks about awesome things and never actually does them. That’s not how you change the world, and I think I realized, in that moment, that my business had been taken from me so that I could build something entirely new – something not for myself, but for others.

      What inspires you, what drives your creative process?

      My innermost conviction is to see the world change by helping to change the interactions between each other as humans. From this conviction flows all of my creation – I seek to connect with people in the most beautiful way. Of Mass and Matter (Photo - David Talley Photography)I want to touch people’s lives, take their breath away, make them think, make them know. I had a conversation during my 365 a few years ago where I got a message from someone who said that they looked forward to seeing my newest photo every day because it helped them feel like they weren’t alone in their pain and struggles. They opened my heart to knowing how I could create. The opportunity for a better world, changed through the relationships we make with one another – that keeps me going. Whether that’s through photography or any other creative means is trivial – I will create from this space and I will hope that it perpetuates the spark of change I saw when I first read that message so many years ago.

      What are your passions outside of photography? What experiences has photography led you to that you otherwise may not have experienced?

      Travel, human relationships, and the desire to see a different, better world. I started photography as a way to cope with my own emotions and handle them in a positive way, but quickly, something changed. Instead of using the creative process as catharsis, I began translating my emotions into images for the purpose of inspiring others – to help others know that they weren’t alone in their struggles. From this sprung a deep desire within me that beckons me to invest in others, everywhere I go. I always thought the quaint (and quite honestly, too small for it’s own good) town of La Verne was where I might stay. God had an entirely different plan – a plan that has sparked a fire within me to invest in others and travel the world to do it. This world is much bigger than we give it credit. Take just one airplane ride and you’ll know the truth of that statement. But no matter how much you can liken yourself to an ant that merely dots the crust of the planet we reside on, we each inherently have the chance and challenge to change the world.

      I’ve heard from countless friends and collaborators about all the joy and perpetuation you have brought into the world of photography. In return, what has photography brought you?

      That’s a great question! I’ve never been asked that. “Purpose” wouldn’t be the right answer. Neither would “hope” or “adventure.” I think the right answer is probably “outlet” or “channel.” Samples from David Talley Photography (davidtalleyphoto.com).It sounds silly and probably less-than-romantic, but I think conceptual photography has provided me the channel through which to pour out into the world the things that I learn every day in my life and my relationship with God. I’m constantly learning, growing, failing, perceiving – and now, understanding, at least to some degree, why life simply “is,” and hopefully, my photos and project such as Concept Collaboration can be a chance to utilize my experiences in a way that beautifully touches the lives of others. I don’t care about what photography has or can do for me, I care about how it can be used through me to help others. This world isn’t in the right place, and I hope that my work here can change that.

      Any closing comments you would like to share with our readers?

      I’ll make this simple. This is how I started doing what I do today:
      Choose something you like. Make it into something you love. Turn it into your life. And do it, be it, and use it to change the world, every single day. When you have a passion, you have the ability to change the world.
      In other words, “Love.”

      David has a passion for what he does that immediately lightens up the room when he enters. His love for sharing his work and working closely with others is just as inspiring as it is refreshing. In a world shrouded with judgment, impatience, and resentment, David is a beckoning light for all those who wish to simply create art with one another, and spread the joy and happiness found in collaborating with others who have the same capacity for love and creation.

      Take a moment to check David’s Kickstarter page, and share it with your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers alike! The deadline is December 3rd at 8:15AM.


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