Finding the Right Associate Photographers

I co-founded 4th Eye Photo Studio with three colleagues. This collaboration where we share the rent will end of July 31 of this year. Jeremie and then Marine found life loves far from Paris. Davide never really used the studio.

My goal was to continue what we started, to find new photographers with whom I could continue this adventure. Our first instinct was to propose sharing the space to our photography students. In my experience that did not work at all.

At the heart of the question is why would we offer potential associate photographers the opportunity to come here, and why would photographers engage in the prolongation of the 4th Eye? As the only member of the founders desirous to continue in this space at Les Grands Voisins, it is my responsibility and my error for not having been explicite about these questions earlier.

During negotiations, I had written the advertisement for photographers to join us. It was already too late. The photographers I invited wanted to come here to start their own photo studio, not necessarily continue in the spirit of the 4th Eye. Luck allowed me to understand this early, learn from it and adjust.

One reason why the 4th Eye worked so well is that our heritage comes from Coopaname. Two of my three photo associates — Jérémie and Davide — already had the DNA of this collaborative spirit. Marine already had a long experience of working with Jérémie. It gave us a strong foundation upon which to build. I was the newbe.

The integration of the two new students as associate photographers in the prolongation of the 4th Eye went poorly.  There were continual negotiations about the monthly rent. I found that we lost focus of why we are here. I suffered both silence and agressive personal attacks. One of the photographers hasn’t yet returned her keys. One photographer went over my head to ask that they rent the space instead of me.

Is blame important? I do endeavor to learn. I have faults, and one of them is continuing to dream when I am moving forward. Sometimes I can talk when I shouldn’t. I can seem stubborn. The people I was considering for associate photographers also have their faults. Any associate photographer will be an imperfect being, myself included.

When we work together towards a common goal, it is helpful that this goal be clear and relatively stable. I think my putting on blog-paper the ad for new associate photographers will and has clarified a basis for the collaborative proposition.

For the time being, continuing the prolongation of the 4th Eye for and beyond Les Grands Voisins is not yet known. It is my hope that the concept live beyond the physical space. I have trust in my associate photographers, and would like that to continue.

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