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.
MAT MARTIN, designer: “Being at The Trampery Republic increases my resilience in the face of professional challenges."
LYDIA THORNLEY, Designer/Illustrator: “Seeing how other members work and what they’ve been up to expands my thinking and refreshes my work.”
PATRICK SCALLY, House Manager @ The Trampery Gantry and Fish Island Village: “Developing lasting relationships between some of the kindest and most talented creatives and seeing them help and support each other every day means the world to me.”
RUBY LEE, website designer: "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."
RUDY BENFREDJ, Co-Founder and CEO: “For anyone curious, a workspace like ours is a goldmine. However passionate you already are about your daily job, you get to have a view on what the rest of the world is doing.”
NICOLE GRAY, House Manager @ The Trampery Republic: “I'm passionate about entrepreneurs - they are the change-makers of the world. There's always so much positive energy surrounding them. Whatever I can do to make their journey just a little bit easier is an absolute honour.”
LIONEL JINGLES, CTO: “Whether a simple nod or an in-depth conversation, the interaction I have with other members helps keep me motivated...”
JAMIE CRAVEN, House Manager @ The Trampery Old Street: “Every day its part of our responsibility to help curate a feeling of joy and comradery between our members, and that's my favourite part of my role.”
NEIL COMBER, Mixer/Producer: “I’m constantly inspired by the incredible things the people around me are doing, some of which I didn’t even know existed before I got here!”
SANIA SALEH, Designer: “When work feels neverending I think it’s important to have a solid cut-off point and for me it’s working from a coworking space that does that.”
OTTLA ARRIGONI, Multidisciplinary Designer: “Working in a coworking space keeps me mentally receptive, inspired and stimulated.”
STEPHANIE PRYCE, House Manager @ The Trampery Tottenham: “To be surrounded daily with people following their dreams is truly inspiring!”
ZARA AFFLICK, Founder: “Even though I have a great support system at home, being in a workspace truly encourages me to stay steadfast. The optimism and high energy in the space affect my productivity, equipping me to deal with the challenges of the day. As I enter my studio each morning I feel pumped and ready to knuckle down.“
ANTHONY COLLIAS, CCO: “You're the average of the people you spend the most time with so having upbeat staff and coworkers around us has a positive knock-on effect on our team.”
TORI DANCE, Head of Communications @ The Trampery: “It's a genuine privilege to work amongst so many makers and innovators doing what they love... the resulting energy is contagious!”
MARY OTUMAHANA, Founder: “Being based in a building with several businesses, at various stages, provides the type of buzz you need, as a business owner, to keep going.”
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.