Through my reading of this collections of poems I was immediately interested in the idea of collaboration and what that means to any medium of art. I was spurred into a frenzy of researching all sort of collaborations between artists of different mediums and found it to be a very intriguing topic.
Most artists, poets, photographers, and musicians rely on connections in order to make their art possible. Whether it is through sponsors, the support of fellow artists, the community, or an institution, connections are essential to the survival of any art.
When I had the opportunity to meet Tamar Yoseloff I was astonished and humbled by the fact that she and her friend just decided to pair up one day and tackle the images of a vast city. The photographs in this collection are mismatched images that collectively tell a narrative. Yoseloff took those photographs and added new depth and narrative to it. This coming together of ideas works beautifully! Even a mannequin in a store front takes on new meaning and has a story to tell through poetry.
I felt like a 21st century Virginia Woolf when I was reading these poems, they spoke to the senses and allowed me to take in the images in real time as I walked through the London streets. I even, by chance, ran into the Duk of gton, but this time it read Duk of on! If that isn’t a beautiful example of the progress, and decay of a city, I don’t know what is.
Take a moment to consider the title, Formerly. Formerly implies a past but it also suggests that the past is unlike the present. In our present, in London in particular, we have new building going up where old buildings used to stand. There are store fronts being changed and refurbished or left to decay. As you walk through London you can see all these things surrounding you and these two women took these images and found a purpose in them. Everyone and everything has a past, a present, a future. It is beautiful when someone captures the ‘now’ while still acknowledging that the ‘now’ will soon be the ‘formerly’.
When art intersects it allows for a collaboration that can benefit all. It makes the artistic goal a more achievable one and allows for a community. I was so inspired by these women. I think that out of all the books and poems we have read, this one has been the most poignant in capturing ‘women writing London’. This collection is not afraid to show the grit, dirt, and language of our age. These women hid nothing from sight, instead they exposed London as a real city. A city that is ever changing but is constantly reminded of it former self.
Of all the collaborations that are possible, the combination of the visual and the verbal speaks so clearly to the everyday person. We experience visual and verbal every day, all day. I raise my glass to Yoseloff and Macdonald!
Here are some links to other inspiring collaborations of art