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Art and Design Work

Our Powers Combined

Liked Create: The Nature of Water – Shifter.Media by Daniel Milnor (Shifter.Media by Daniel Milnor)

I get some of the craziest things in the mail and when I say “crazy,” I mean “crazy good.” You can add “The Nature of Water,” to that list. This is a beast of a book and I can’t even imagine the time and team required to pull this off but thankfully fifty-one photojournalists and Aaron Guy Leroux and Adam Malamis did just that.

It took me far too long to realize my work and my career were far more interesting when others were involved. All of the best projects of the last five years have been collaborations and nearly everything I’m involved in now is collaborative.

— Daniel Milnor

Collaboration takes work to make sure you’re aligned on purpose and logistics, and careful assignment of responsibility and credit so that effort matches investment and impact to be fair for all. But I suspect doing that work amplifies the value of the project for all involved. And combining your skills probably makes everyone’s work better – both for the inspiration but also the accountability of not wanting to let the team down.

I’ve been low key interested in doing a collaboration for a while but haven’t put any effort into seeking one out, waiting for kismet with someone I already know. I think it’s hard to propose a collab, since you have some ownership over the idea, and you need to convince others your concept is worth participating in – especially when you need a collaborator more than they need you.

I have a loose idea of a partnership to propose to another writer friend when I’m finally ready to publish, but at this point the idea is more of a way to split up work than co-create. I’ll have to think about it more – and she may not be interested – while I keep chipping away at the book. One day I’ll finish it 🤷‍♀️

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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