In the world of photography, the idea of collectives is not new: Magnum Photos set the standard nearly 70 years ago and countless other efforts have cropped up in the intervening decades. But what is new, or at least has changed dramatically in the past decade, is the ease and speed at which groups can form and collaborate. Combine this fact with street photographers’ wide-ranging embrace of social media, and we are witnessing an explosion of collectives that bring together like-minded street shooters from around the world and then rapidly disseminate their work across digital networks.LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016 , we will be featuring inspiring street photography collectives from across the globe. This time: Full Frontal Flash.
LC: What were the origins of your collective—what first brought you together, what’s kept you together as time has gone on?
FF: Most of us were originally united on Flickr, where we all had a mutual respect for one another. There, we had a critique group for a short time before deciding to stream-line and become a full-fledged collective. Our group was based on a common love for flash and a passion for street photography.
LC: Collectives seem to be an important structure for street photographers, in particular. Why do you think that’s the case?
FF: First and foremost: street photography is very difficult! Having some sort of support system to critique and push each other creatively is essential. Another key element of collectives (even online) is giving each other a sense of camaraderie. We are a group that can understand the frustrations and triumphs involved in the pursuit of making great photos and that’s invaluable when the work is tough.
LC: What are a few of the successes that you have seen the collective achieve? Moments when you felt that the group had done something that would have been difficult for the individuals to accomplish alone.
FF: Seeing our work in print has been very gratifying. We published our first zine in Flashgun Vol. 1 and each of us has had some sort of individual project published this year. It really has been a year for growth, and for that we are thankful.
LC: If a new group were interested in starting a collective, what advice would you have for them? Challenges to watch out for; things you wish you had known at the beginning?
FF: It probably goes without saying that creative people will have their differences on certain (many?) topics! If you start a group with people you genuinely like and admire, these differences will not be a hardship but a new light to view your own work and to grow in some ways.
—Full Frontal Flash, interviewed by Alexander Strecker
Editors’ Note: You can find more of the work of Full Frontal Flash on their website—10 photographers in total, from all over the world.
Other Collective Interviews: