Photography collaborations + travel; certainly one of life’s finest combinations. In 2013 photographer Brooke Schwab was a part of an online group project called You are My Wild. Without any formal guidelines, Brooke and 13 fellow photographers, spent a year documenting daily life, sharing the resulting images on a group blog and building friendships across long distances.
When the group was contemplating a meetup trip, Brooke knew that Marfa would be the perfect location. “Marfa has taught me a lot about simplicity and the importance of family and friends. I feel a sense of peace when I am there and, as an artist, I can think clearly since there is little distraction around and the palette is a muted brown.” 12 years ago, Brooke and her husband fell in love in Marfa, driving over 250 miles in one day, spending the time talking and dreaming about life and the future. These days, Brooke enjoys the opportunity to share Marfa with her children. I asked Brooke what she hopes that her children remember about Marfa when they are older. “I hope they remember those times we would run to see the train go by, the many walks to the Dollar General to buy a pack of gum, the drives through the mountains where we could see Mexico, eating Greek food out of the Food Shark, watching sunsets on the wide open land where you can see a train from start to finish in one frame. The nights we sat out by the fire cooking dinner and roasting marshmallows. Riding scooters and bikes in the street after baths. Exploring the art that is changing with every visit; my hope is that they remember these moments and take them with them into adulthood. Most importantly, what they learned from the people of Marfa, what it means to live simply and live in a community.”
Looking through this endearing set of images, it is obvious that there is a special energy abounding in Marfa. Through Brooke’s thoughtful viewpoint we can see that people feel connected, both to each other and to themselves. The simplicity of the place gives space for personality and introspection. As a backdrop for photography, Marfa is incredible. I can readily imagine the happiness and camaraderie that was shared during the You are My Wild trip, as online friendships solidified through shared laughter and memories. Would Brooke recommend other photographers take part in online collaborations? In a word, Yes! “You learn so much from others when you collaborate. Seeing how others capture life helped me grow and challenge myself. I encourage you to start one!”