This article by @raj808 is part of a blockchain collaboration series. Learn more about the Sndbox #cryptocollab initiative, here.

Collaboration = Inspiration

This months @sndbox assignment asked us to produce a collaboration with another steemian and document the process. Over the last few months, I have been finding myself moving more and more toward writing fiction. So I was acutely aware that I wanted to enter into a collaboration that inspired the poetic muse.

I have found myself entering into a specific rhythm as writer, favoring a certain style. But my goal has always been to write across different genres; travel, art, comedy, fiction and poetry. It is important as a writer to be able to develop past this type of mood writing and produce in all your specialties. Collaboration is an amazing way to guide the subconscious to make a change as you look through the lens of someone else’s perspective.

When considering how to kick start my poetry, I immediately thought of @soyrosa‘s excellent photography. Imagery is key in poetry, creating unique landscapes of thought through simile and metaphor. This is part of the reason why I wanted to work with a talented photographer, to kick-start that image focused part of my brain that produces decent poetry. I also hoped that it would be a creative catalyst for both of us in observing the other’s process. Rosa had mentioned that she might like to do an artistic collaboration at steemfest 3 so I decided to broach the subject of an earlier collaboration and she agreed.

Photography + Poetry = Catalyst for Creativity

The next stage was to start brainstorming. Anyone who is serious about steemit knows about discord. It seems to be the choice of most steemit communities for building chatroom’s and hosting promotional shows etc. Discord is also a great resource for creative collaborations like this as you can brainstorm, share images and interact in a work-space in real time. After a few days back and forth around the idea of a chain poem, I came up with this idea:



Maybe we could do like a theme/challenge with poetry from my end and photos from yours, but it would be like a back and forth:

So, you give me a theme like say, nature and a photo (or collection of photos) around that theme. I then write a series of Haiku (or other form of poem) to tell a story about how the images speak to me creatively. At the same time you can write your creative process about those photos, how they came about, both technically and creatively and then we have two perspectives to put in our individual posts but linking/tagging each other and also directing our followers to go check the other person out.

Then we could do a second round, where I write a poem around a theme and then you match that up with some of your photography (or go out and take some new shots to reflect the images in my poem) then in your post explain your process of finding the complimentary shots, in this instance my post would simply be the poem with your photography and maybe a short paragraph saying how/where you got them from. Again we could encourage our followers to go check out the other persons post.

This idea means a true back and forth where I am reacting from your theme/photos and then you are reacting from mine. What do you think?


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After agreeing to the idea, @soyrosa dropped a series of photographs with a suggestion that really improved the concept.


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This suggestion was pivotal in making this collaboration a true sharing and reactive expression of creativity as it allows us to respond directly from the each other’s work. It is this type of sharing of work and process that can flick that switch and inspire the alchemy of imagery.

The Alchemy of Imagery

The series of photographs sparked a reflective mode of thought in me. A free flow of internal images around a central theme based on memories and reflections of the final years of my grandparents lives. I have spoken in-depth about the process of how this set of images inspired poetry in the post The Dereliction of Time. The alchemy of imagery is a strange thing, a sharing of vision which builds a greater whole. These photographs inspired a set of themes in my mind:

  • Decay
  • Dereliction
  • The passing of time

Rosa Images Collection_edit.png

Click for full poem.


Which developed into a narrative based on my memories and the objects in each of the photographs. This built into two separate elements in each verse, a repeated opening refrain ‘I once heard my grandmother say’ followed by poetic imagery inspired by the photo. The imagery followed a pattern throughout the verses, elaborating on the grandmother’s comment while drawing on the details and feeling of each photo.

I created velum scroll style panels of each verse of the poem using canvas.com, each panel to correspond with one of the pictures and shared them with Rosa. She was surprised to see how the photographs had inspired the images in my poetry and used Photoshop to splice the poetry with the photos in a more professional style. You can read more about her insights and process in her post Art Collaboration: Photography & Poetry.

What struck me most about the process of collaborating is how much the photographs informed the direction of my writing and I am curious to see how my poetry will translate from her perspective in the second part of this collaboration.

Although the poem is quite melancholic, the general standard was much higher than I expected after a break from writing poetry. Much like riding a bike, you never forget, but now and then the gears need calibrating. Through considering and working with another artists material, this calibration has happened organically.

The Importance of Collaboration Across the Blockchain

In conclusion, I would like to talk briefly about the importance of this type of collaboration in a wider sense. Steemit is a community driven eco-system. Everything from the reward system, to the witness voting and decision making at a core level is at least partly informed by consensus. Collaboration is built into steemit, as without collaboration between witnesses and steemit inc, or between curators and content creators, there would be no system to drive the steem economy.

Collaboration between content creators is key in showing this ethos, at least outwardly, to the world outside steemit. The many collaborations happening across steemit are like the life-blood pumping oxygen to a healthy eco-system so that it can grow. Sharing ideas and new concepts is vital to this growth, and this applies to creative work just as much as developmental projects.

The second part of this collaboration will be released soon. If you have enjoyed reading about this creative process please keep an eye on @raj808 & @soyrosa blogs for part 2, photography inspired by poetry. Thank you for reading.

This post was authored by @raj808, a member of the sndbox incubator. Learn more, follow @raj808 or begin a conversation in the comment section below.


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