Not long ago, I talked about meeting someone for the first time. The most interesting element of our introduction was solely to produce a photograph. That was the original idea anyway, part of a project involving 50 photographers to take a portrait of a writer from the Traverse Theatre’s 50th Anniversary new writing scheme. Since our appointment by Marc and Alex at Writer Pictures, me and Tara, have moved from strangers, to collaborators, to friends. We took to the project straight off the blocks and a few months later, after the exchange of a lot of very strong and very amusing ideas, we finished our assignment.
We didn’t make work easy for ourselves though as we settled on an idea that wasn’t straightforward or conventional. On top of that, Tara lives in Dublin so the chances to meet up and thrash out suggestions were thin on the ground. Still, it made her brief and busy trips incredibly productive, and we moved forward in sync with our ideas. I love her writing, and feel so lucky that it is threaded with subtle visual cues. The chance to meet in a collaboration is so important to me, on one visit I risked passing on my glandular fever for the chance for a brief, feverish, catch-up.
Me and Tara’s portrait will be exhibited at the Traverse on the 21st of October along with the 49 other portraits by a photographic roster that spans the UK. To say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement. But I am excited about sharing the pride of the finished work with another person, someone equally as excited.
Tara is a writer, and as I have learned, many other things. The learning is at the very beginning though, and it is a two way exchange. Tara has been selected by the Traverse Theatre, off the strength of her script Tourists, to be one of their 50 writers for their 50th Year.
This is a great programme, both in scale and in promise. And like all great things, it needs to be properly documented. Enter the foresight of the staff at Writer Pictures, who have cleverly elected 50 photographers with which to partner each writer. A personal chronicler for a time that is pivotal in their career. Tara is my writer and last weekend, we met for the first time.
A difficult balance to strike, when two people first meet. Thankfully for us, we both recognise a blank canvas and the opportunity to create something. And thankfully for us, we met for a meal in The Shore, where no wrong can be done! Talking without a script, about flats, about painting, about forgetting, big changes,sisters and brothers, style, about Ireland, a very rounded image of Tara emerged as a writer, worker, person. Someone unique for a unique project. Creating can be a solitary process, and I am very much looking forward to sharing it with someone not only with a different perspective, but a separate medium to express it.
I will produce a portrait of Tara over the course of this partnership for exhibition in the Traverse during August.