This interview is a part of a new series that highlights the story of the Traveling Umbrella. Each project participant is mailed the Traveling Umbrella and asked to keep it for about a week. They use it as a photography prop before they mail it on to the next person on the waiting list. Learn more at:
Participant: Annie Nerone
Location: New York, NY
Find Her on Instagram: @ladykty
Interviewed by: Rachel Fergus
The Traveling Umbrella has been traversing the globe since 2014. Though this amazing prop has been the subject of numerous photos, the number of creative places to photograph the umbrella seems to dwindle with every week. Ketty Benne, one of the most recent recipients of the ‘brella, is fully aware of this dilemma. She wrote, “…Many ideas had already been executed by the time I received [the umbrella]. So, for me the challenge of creating new images that were different and unique was my favorite thing about having [the umbrella].” The Traveling Umbrella doubles as a prop, and also a tool to help stretch the creativity of photographers.
Ketty had a brilliant solution to the difficulties of finding a unique place and pose for the umbrella, “I wanted to take the umbrella with me pretty much everywhere I went,” she wrote, “I thought that by having it on me I would be prepared if an idea would pop up.” Ketty continued, “my family thought I was a nut at first, but then they began suggesting [photos] themselves. They soon were suggesting places to create images.” This strange prop, originally created just to keep its owner dry when it rains, began to inspire an entire family to find new and unique photos.
Like almost everyone that has had the ‘brella, the expansion of community it led to was an important part of the project for Ketty. She wrote, “I did… share and experience a tangible collaboration with a large number of instagrammers around the world. That in itself was an amazing experience.” Ketty continued, “This one collaboration unified us in an artistic way. I also met a couple of them in person because of the umbrella. So I would certainly say this helped build community on instagram.” Without having to leave home, this prop connected Ketty to those across the globe.
“Overall, I really enjoyed being part of such a fun and creative project,” Ketty wrote, “I was also honored to have one of my images selected for the most recent exhibition highlighting Jill’s traveling umbrella in Minnesota.” Despite the challenge of finding creative ways to use the ‘brella, Ketty and her family created fascinating photos using the prop, and joined an ever growing community along the way.