How to Get Over Creative Differences


While working on a collaboration with someone, how do I ensure that our differences don’t get in the way of our projects?

Answer by: K Madhavan Pillai Chief Editor, Better Photography

I like to think of all photography as an exercise in negotiation and collaboration. Between you and your subject. You and the spaces in your frame. You and your client. Your instinct and your mind. Perhaps between you and the other you. If you think about it, both sides must know each other well, converse without tension, form a sense of trust, give in, and win equally, for it to be a great collaboration. Then there is the other part of your question, about differences. One would usually not think of collaborating, unless the other person is different enough to be able to make a difference in the first place, so to speak.

In any case, within a partnership, if there is no balance, understanding of goals and roles, an equal sharing of work, appreciation, acceptance, and even a level of tolerance, it would take a lot of effort to achieve equilibrium, and this would inevitably lead to a collapse. This does not really change, whether it is an artistic or commercial collaboration, one of convenience, or that of circumstance, or even a collaboration with yourself, where you are now committed.

Unless your collaboration is one based on an extremely deep or personal connection with the other side, ideally there must be a legally binding contract that includes every aspect of the project, work involved, rights and rules, copyrights and licences, finances, time frames, room for addendums and amendments, and importantly, a detailed exit clause. If need be, have someone knowledgeable, a professional, go through these terms.