Colorpop: A Way for Creative Collaboration
Two heads are better than one, and Utah photographers Marina Williams and Ashley Isenhour understand that sentiment better than anyone. The two are the Co-founders and creative minds behind Colorpop, a nationally renowned weekend retreat for photographers of all skill levels. The event embraces collaboration and endorses it, facilitating teamwork among photographers in order to bring colorful daydreams to life.
Williams and Isenhour have made a name for themselves as creatives in Salt Lake City. Both are known individually for their striking, fantastical shoots and have gained a following for brightening up people’s feeds.
“Our overall theme is color—each concept will focus on bright colors, props, wardrobe and styling so that [photographers] can leave with a brand new portfolio that stands out.”
The emphasis on color is familiar territory for Williams and Isenhour. The two met serendipitously at a children’s clothing company where both were tasked with creating vibrant shoots fit for a kid. “In that industry, they like things to be bright and happy,” says Isenhour. “I’m bringing a lot of experience from, like, non–high fashion places into this world. I like happy things, I want to make visuals that inspire people and make them feel better.”
Positivity is one of the driving inspirations for Isenhour when providing creative direction in her shoots. Even within high-fashion, editorial shoots, their work transports you to an enchanting, magical world. “Editorial is fun because it’s fantasy,” says Isenhour. “Does anyone actually wear this going out? Hardly anyone, but it’s aspirational and inspirational and it makes us excited.” That excitement floods Williams and Isenhour’s Colorpop photoshoots. Both lean into that otherworldly aspect to illustrate a carefully concocted fairytale.
The daydreaming doesn’t stop there. What started as a way for Williams and Isenhour to work with each other and provide ideas in an effortless and productive way evolved into a synergetic process once they began to include other photographers in their collaborative sessions. “It was mostly based on us constantly shooting inspiration back and forth to each other,” says Isenhour. The participating photographers came to understand that being nudged out of their comfort zone by other creatives produced something extraordinary. “We saw the amazing bonds made within a few days, which is so wonderful to watch and know that you’re helping facilitate that.”
Colorpop prioritizes collaboration with other talented photographers in order to create a body of work that elevates everyone involved. Williams and Isenhour receive applications from around the United States and choose photographers and models from all skill levels and backgrounds to participate. “Our overall theme is color—each concept will focus on bright colors, props, wardrobe and styling so that [photographers] can leave with a brand new portfolio that stands out,” says Williams. The photographers collaborate and share ideas while simultaneously working on shoots.
“I’m bringing a lot of experience from, like, non–high fashion places into this world. I like happy things, I want to make visuals that inspire people and make them feel better.”
A memorable Colorpop shoot took place at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. “We went out to the sand dunes and made these big, acrylic, neon colored arches and had the models … lean against [them] and hold [them] up. Being on the sand dunes felt kind of like another planet—a little bit like Star Wars,” Isenhour says. “The way that the light hits through those panels, they just kind of electrify [and] come to life. I think it’s one of our more magical shoots.” A typical Colorpop event explores new sites, allowing the photographers to get a unique shot rather than a standard sand dunes picture. “This event is an opportunity for photographers to grow in their craft, learn from experts, shoot high-level editorial concepts, network with others in the industry, experiment and most importantly batch content for months,” Isenhour says.
Williams and Isenhour hope to change the retreat from once a year to twice a year and continue to collaborate with both emerging and well-seasoned photographers. Find Colorpop’s account on Instagram @shotatcolorpop.
Read more on local photographers who embrace color and collaboration:
Master Storyteller: A Look Inside Christina Mellor’s Photography
Ahlstrom Photo: Escaping with Vibrant Memories
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