– Rebecca, tell us about your family. – We are a family of five. I'm American and my husband is Norwegian. We have three kids: Jonas, 8, Selma, 5 and Felix, 2. We have lived in Oslo for three years and are on the move again this summer. Next stop is New York. It's high time my daughter lost her Norwegian accent when speaking English!.
This trip to Marfa, Texas, was a result of a very special project between 14 photographers. They named the project, “You Are My Wild”, and was about documenting the way they saw their children. The result was pretty amazing. A few of them later got together in Marfa, Texas. We had a talk with photographer Rebecca Zeller, who was one out of the 14 photographers. Enjoy!
– Oslo–Texas is far, you traveled with 3 kids all this way. Do you have any tips and tricks on travelling with kids? – We've always travelled a lot with the kids. We lived in Asia when my oldest was born and going home meant going to two different places. I don't have any tricks, really. One of my friends and I were talking about travelling with kids and we determined that it's 51% fun, 49% hell. The adventure, though sometimes quite challenging, is always still worth it in the end. Always.
– How did the project, You Are My Wild, come about? – A few years ago, two of my photographer friends (Kelsey Gerhard and Meaghan Curry) and I were bemoaning our yearly winter blues and the lack of inspiration that it brings. We decided that we needed a project. The thought was that if we did something together, we could hold each other accountable and force ourselves back into creativity. Then we thought that it would be even more inspiring to work together with photographers we admired. We each put together a list of photographers we knew from Instagram and sent them emails asking if they wanted to do a project together. All of them said yes! It was such a pleasant surprise. We were sure that people were going to be too busy, uninterested, almost appalled that we'd asked. But, no. Sometimes the internet can be so great. We hashed out a plan, set up a FB chat group and went to town. It took only a few weeks before our Facebook chats were 400 messages deep with hilarious anecdotes, personal stories of heartache, celebrations of each others' success, and the realization that despite living in different parts of the world, we were all so connected. We all looked so forward to Tuesdays (posting day) and that magical synergy that was the result of seeing everyone's work put together. It was the perfect balance of inspiration and shame/fear (of not pulling your weight) that kept us going all year.
– You later traveled to Texas to meet up with a few of the involved, tell us about the trip. – In our long, rambling Facebook chats, it was decided that we needed to actually meet in person. Some of us had met, but most of us only knew each other through the project. One of the contributors, Brooke Shepherd, is from Houston and goes to Marfa a lot. She suggested we all meet there. Life and jobs and money and new babies and all of that got in the way for some of us, but Meaghan, Kelsey, Brooke, and Anje and I met up in Marfa with our families. It was the best decision of 2014. While meeting up with strangers in remote locations is generally unadvisable, it is wholly recommended to get yourself to Marfa.
– What was Marfa like? What kind of place is this? – I had never been to Texas. Does that make me a bad American? Marfa is this small town about three hours from El Paso. It's a center for minimalist art and has a lot of galleries and installations and good food. Go to Texas ASAP. Meet up with some virtual strangers. Take a few photos. It will change you just a little bit.
Rebecca with their youngest son, Felix (2 years old).
– Why do you think the YAMW-project is important? – I think everyone would have a slightly different answer to this, but for me it was important to keep myself going. My son was born and subsequently hospitalized for a long period during the project. I wanted to keep up my participation, but I was spending all day, every day at the hospital. I was really reluctant at first, but I started taking photos of Felix at the hospital, just in order to have something for the Wild project. I didn't miss a week. In the end, I had this whole collection of photos documenting that time. Those photos are some of the most precious ones I have and I don't think I would have otherwise taken them if it hadn't been for the project.
– The YAMW-project is finished, right? Will it continue? Are you involved in other projects right now? – The project is finished. We have a new one going that has a different twist, a looser theme, and more participants. It's called Because They Don't Last Long
Rebecca Zeller is a photographer based in Oslo and New York, she is available for portrait commissions, see her great work here.
Go check out the entire, You Are My Wild, project at You Are My Wild.