Recently viewed in an exhibition at the Adorama Gallery, ‘Human Nature,‘ the collaborative project of photographers Erica Simone and Jaci Berkopec, has been gaining popularity among the enthusiasts in the fine art photography circle. The series, which the two talented women describe as their way of exploring the connection of the human race to the beauty of nature, combines visual prowess and a profound narrative. “As artists who appreciate the meticulous complexities of the Earth’s natural realm, Jaci Berkopec and I wanted to create imagery that tells a primitive story of man: that we are, indeed, all One. We shared our photographs, blending landscapes into the silhouettes of renown dancers, Neguin and Alegria Silva, superimposing the ligaments, muscles and bones of nature, creating collaborations to unify human and Earth as we embrace their complete unison.” tells Erica Simone. The result is a gratifying set of images that elevate the fine art of photography into a new dynamic and creative level.
How did the idea to collaborate on a photography project came about?
ES: A few months ago, the Instagram page @echosight contacted me to do a double-exposure collaboration with another photographer of my choice and so I chose Jaci with whom I had been working with on our venture Curators for a Cause. We were then offered the opportunity to do a show at Adorama, at which point we decided to create brand new work. Jaci and I love working together, so the whole creative process was very fun and natural.
To follow on that question, how did you both conceptualized “Human Nature”?
ES: As we browsed each other’s image libraries, we first began to narrow down some of the themes we had both shot: Jaci has a beautiful variety of landscapes and I had been working on my dancer silhouettes for a while. Looking deeper into her work, we found that so many elements and patterns inside nature looked like nerves, muscles and bones. So when we started to play with it all, it just clicked—the juxtaposition between the landscapes and the body worked seamlessly.
Tell us the process of producing each image from the series?
ES: Each image represents a different aspect of the human body and nature and how they live symbiotically. We carefully studied our images, blending film and digital, to produce work that would tell a story and communicate the importance of nature for mankind. In “Core of the Cosmos,” the idea is that the universe lives deep inside us. “Tree of Life” is a metaphor about how nature is our backbone, how vital it is to our existence. “The Central System” depicts how the patterns of tree branches are just like our very own nervous system. Etc.
How different is it to collaborate with a fellow artist compared to working by yourself?
ES: Personally, I find it more fun to work with someone else, especially a close friend with whom I get along with creatively. When you have each other to bounce ideas off of, to help fine tune things and to enjoy the exhibition of the work with, it’s all fun. Plus, you get a new set of eyes and creativity to play with, which naturally switches up the style, making the work totally fresh.
JB: For me, working with someone else allows the work to transform in ways that wouldn’t be possible when working alone. Having a fellow creative and friend to work alongside keeps the ideas flowing, and keeps both of us on our toes, constantly thinking and creating.
Tell us any fascinating discoveries you had collaborating with each other and from doing the series?
What we found mostly fascinating was how much elements of nature looked like the inside of the human body, how these divine patterns and shapes show up across the Earth, inside man, fauna and flora.
© Erica Simone and Jaci Berkopec
Lastly, any advice on up and coming photographers and artists on how to harness their creativity?
JB: I think what’s most difficult as an artist is being determined and to stick with it. I believe one of the best ways of achieving that is to have mentors in your field. Not only do they guide one through the art form but they help keep you inspired and represent career goals to aspire to.
ES: I think what’s most difficult as an artist is following through with ideas. Most artists are already creative and probably have lots of ideas that keep coming to them, but the important part is to focus and to follow through. You want to first identify what it is that you want to do, then find a way to do it in a unique way, and then to harness the energy into making it reality.
To see more of Erica Simone’s and Jaci Berkopec‘s stunning work, check out their respective website at erica simone dot com and jaci berkopec dot com. To be considered for Photographer of the Day, follow us on Instagram @resourcemag and e-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “POTD Submission.”