I’m JC, London based Photographer, and this is my Personal Project De-Stress. I took portraits of members of the community of The Trampery, a social enterprise specialising in shared workspace and support for entrepreneurs and creative businesses, and explored how working in a creative environment surrounded by a supportive group contributes to the success rate of entrepreneurs and their well-being. I shot the portraits on film and distressed them using household chemicals. The project title is a play on words, "distress" being the technique used to create the images about the "de-stressing" offered in the supportive environment created in the co-working space.

After having their portrait taken, the participants were interviewed about their experience working in the different co-working spaces that The Trampery has in London. They were asked questions like how did they think that working in a co-working space affected their well-being, or if working from a co-working space made them feel less isolated than working from home.

The film was then sent to the lab for developing, and once it came back, I proceeded to distress the negatives using household chemicals. Before distressing the negatives, I blocked the eyes area with a gel so that they were the only part of the image that was not affected by the distressing effect of the technique. By doing this, every part of the image around the eyes is distressed conveying that, even though running a business as an entrepreneur can surround our lives with uncertainty and stress, working in a supportive community helps us keep clarity and stay focused. After dipping the negatives in the chemicals, I let them drip-dry, and then I scanned them to reveal the final image.

Working on this project has taught me that, when you have a group of highly creative and motivated people in the same space, the synergies between the members of the group produce an environment where they can thrive. When interviewed, the majority of the participants in the project agreed that the combination of a supportive community with a space in which the primary purpose is to make great work contributes to keeping them motivated and energised throughout the day.

Being in contact with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds working in different ventures and industries, with whom you can bounce ideas around, gives you a different perspective on your challenges, expands your way of thinking and refreshes your work. As one member pointed out, the worst thing about starting a business on your own in your bedroom is that you've started a business alone and in your bedroom. Creative communities like this one provide members with the right environment to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

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