When artists (and real life couple) Wade Jeffree and Leta Sobierajski decided they wanted to collaborate, an idea arose that allowed them to explore their symbiotic relationship. Having long complemented each other’s independent work, and with both being intrigued by the onslaught of eccentric “couples photography” online, they embarked on the Complements Portrait Project. For the project, a Tumblr page houses images of the couple, made by both of them from start to finish. The work is sometimes cinematic, at other times grotesque, but always inspired and enjoyable. While both are considerably busy outside of this personal project, they’ve each dedicated every Thursday and Saturday night to shooting and experimentation in their own home. As they share with CH, “Our goal is to maintain the project for the next year so we can create a considerable number of portraits. We aren’t sure about what will happen from there, but we are excited to keep moving forward.” And they have a view in mind to update the site weekly.
As for how they work together, Sobierajski notes that their “brainstorming is completely collaborative. Usually, we both send each other ideas, sketches and imagery throughout the week leading up to our shoot. We’ll chat about it over breakfast, or over email when we’re doing our own studio projects, and during the evening when we’re relaxing at home. We think similarly, but still have different ways of interpreting our concepts. This helps us both improve upon our already existing ideas. It’s completely complementary, if you will.” Execution is also accomplished together. “Our living room is very versatile and becomes our photo studio as needed. We set up our lights, camera [and] backdrops,” Sobierajski continues. Jeffree sits and poses as Sobierajski focuses the camera and perfects the angle. Then the shooting process begins.
“Nostalgic, cringe-worthy and completely awkward ’80s photography is awash on the internet,” Sobierajski furthers, regarding inspiration. “It does not take one long to come across something that is hilarious yet somewhat uncomfortable at the same time.” (Both share that they have “a real affinity with anything ’80s.”) The duo built a collection of images first, before realizing that they themselves could recreate them all, in their own style and with their own complementary voices. Even in the strangest iterations there’s something charming about the couple working together to make something they both love, that’s a little offbeat but plenty of fun.
Images courtesy of Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree