Let me start with an apology in advance: I’m rusty, very, very, very rusty at blogging. So this may be a rough read, folks.

Here are a couple of action shots of VI editing and sequencing the images for our upcoming 2019.1 edition of “Call and Response”. From left to right, you see Francis, Mike, Kim and our videographer extraordinaire, Robert.

The organizing idea behind this year’s collaboration was “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. I admit, it was my idea. Perhaps I first should have confirmed the dictionary definition of flattery:

excessive or insincere praise, given especially to further one’s own interests

Whoops! Uh, that wasn’t what I meant (insert favourite embarrassment emoji here).

The idea was to explore what we’ve learned from each other’s visions. And in true VI fashion no one adhered strictly to a concept of precise visual imitation of the other members’ prior images. This is the primary reason why I love this group – we all colour outside the lines and make the collaborative assignment our own. And I learn a hell-of-a-lot from seeing how the others do this.

I can say personally that I found the exercise to be very enriching as I gained deeper understanding of Kim’s, Francis’ and Mike’s work. It also caused me to understand my own imagery more deeply as I worked on making images “in the style of” each of the other members. I use the term “in the style of” very loosely here; for example, when Mike saw the images I’d made keeping his work in mind he freely admitted that while he liked what I’d done, he didn’t see the connection to his own work. Oh, oh (another embarrassment emoji required).

Here are Mike, Francis and Kim working on part of the sequencing for 2019.1; notice the hands on physical prints. It’s very satisfying to touch, feel, move, ponder, move, have someone else move what you just moved (ok, that’s not necessarily satisfying every time), step back to look, look at each other, shrug, keep working.

We all think this is our best effort yet; or at least it will be the weightiest zine of the series as Francis pointed out. We have a twist coming with this issue – reader participation! Can you tell the authentic Mike Zastre image from the imitation image, the authentic Kim image from imitation etc etc? Perhaps it will turn into a contest.

Arrival time for this latest baby? Sometime in the new year, a little bundle of joy to blow away those post-holiday blues.