"Just listening and going back and forth and exchanging ideas with people.
It's a beautiful thing." -Lakeith Stanfield
Ten years ago, almost to the very day, my friend Heidi and I began a game of creative tennis, and our rally continues to this day. Back and forth we have served a series of artistic renderings, each one based on the one that came before, in a mutually satisfying sense of one-upmanship that reveals exactly what makes our friendship tick.
Most of these exchanges happened back on that fateful evening in 2011, but just last month, Heidi resurrected the game with a playful Valentine, and I returned her volley yesterday, which just happened to be her birthday.
In a nutshell, we started with a photo of a table set for Heidi's birthday lunch, and manipulated it over and over again, creating a series of images that fit back into each other like a set of Russian nesting dolls.
See all the stages and read more about how the project unfolded here.
So I took the most recent evolution - Heidi's Valentine hearts that were based on earlier versions of the images we created...
...and overlaid it with another, even earlier version of our series of photos...
...creating this, a new iteration of our collaboration.
From there, my project fell quickly into place. I printed thirteen copies of the new image on cardstock, strung them up on some black ribbon, and wrote out the simple yet singular message:
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y
Once the mystery package was delivered to Heidi's doorstep bright and early on the morning of her big day, I breathed a sigh, partly of relief but mostly of immense satisfaction, knowing that I'd done my part to keep the rhythm of our game alive.
And now, the ball is in Heidi's court. Can't wait to see her next move.