Dear Complete Strangers!

HERE’S WHY I NEED YOUR HELP: (you can skip ahead to what I need below) Recently I was asked to participate in an exhibit about the built environment. I was also invited to submit a proposal for an exhibit that requires collaboration. I didn’t have any ideas for the collaboration show, and I’m fairly new to the area and don’t really know any of the local artists well enough yet to ask them to collaborate with me.

So I attacked the “built environment” exhibit. I have a great idea which requires many photos people looking out of windows. I started taking the photos but right away I ran into a couple of problems. My friends and family fall into a relatively narrow age bracket and with one exception, we’re all the same color. I really wanted to include a wider range of ages and ethnicities. When I started asking strangers for permission to photograph them for an art piece, they said no across the board.

I decided to asks friends and family to help me get photos to use. At this point it stuck me, “Hey! This is collaboration!” I decided that if it looked like I was going to get enough photos, I would propose for the collaboration show. But for some reason (perhaps the holidays) my friends and family have not shown interest in participating.

Now I’ve decided to take a stab at collaborating with complete strangers! This will certainly make the piece more interesting, and I think the idea of this collaboration is a bit more unique and might get me into the collaboration exhibit as well.

HERE’S WHAT I NEED: So, ya wanna help? You do NOT need to be a good photographer. You can also share this request with others who might like to participate. I can’t pay anyone for their work, but I will give credit to any collaborators who would enjoy that. If you want credit tell me the name you would like me to use and please tell me your city and state. Even if you want to be anonymous, please tell me your city/state/country. That will make the collaboration piece more interesting.

For these photos, the subject should be inside a building, at a window or glass door with no screen. Pull any shades or curtains out of the way. The window does not need to be clean. One of my best photos so far has gunk all over the window. Have the subject stand inside the building, the photographer should be outdoors. Stuff showing in the background is natural and fine.

These pictures should be taken during the day and without flash. There will probably be a reflection on the window and that is not only ok, it desireable. I want it to be clear that the subject is at a window. However the photographer should position her/himself so that their reflection does not appear in the photo.

Please ask the subject to stand near the window and tell them “look like you really want out”. The subject can interpret this in any way they wish. They may look bummed out, or freaked out – whatever they think “really want out” means. They can touch the window or even throw themselves against it if that is their interpretation.

Don’t judge your results as good or bad. In that “best photo” I mentioned above, I can’t even see the face of the person posing. You can just see an outline of a person standing in the window. That wasn’t my intention, but I love the image. In another photo a friend struck a pose unlike what I originally had in mind. That photo has also turned out to be one of my favorites for this piece. You never know what you’ll get and it may be perfect for my needs. Also, don’t worry if a photo is not straight. I will be cropping and reprinting all of the images before I use them.

Be warned, cute images will not be used. This piece is not about cuteness or beauty. It is about people in buildings who would rather be anywhere else. I also won’t be able to use any nudity because this piece will be in public spaces.

I will start earnest work on this piece on Jan 3rd, and it must be finished by the end of January. I’ll need to have the photos at least a week before then. Earlier (way earlier) is obviously better – you know – stress wise.

If you have a digital camera (even a camera phone) you can email your images to me at this email address: (this is my public email address)
You need not compress your images for my benefit. We finally have high speed internet access (YAY!) However, if you need to compress in order to easily send from your computer, that will be fine as well.

If you don’t have a digital camera, but you would like to participate, contact me and I’ll give you my mailing address. I won’t really want to post it her. Then you can have your photos developed (remember don’t judge) and mail them to me. I can’t reimburse you for this so only do it if it is within your budget. I’ll scan your photos and make the needed alterations for size etc.

Thank you to any of you who pose, take photos, or pass this message to others who might like to participate.

My best to you!
Sarah Thee Campagna