The first of many ideas after 180 Creative Camp 2017

After 180 Creative Camp, plus a year full of collaborations around Europe, the idea of a 180 network is stronger than ever. In anticipation to 180 Creative Camp’s 2018 (save the date: 1–8th July, tickets here), content related with former editions and with our future aspirations for it will be written down regularly — a mix of our words with other people’s perspectives.

We chose Matilde Viegas to start this, because she spent the entire week in Abrantes with the mission of portraying the general mood and every single person there.

Kyoungmo Kang in one of our favourite portraits / © Matilde Viegas

She wrote her thoughts about it, a beautiful narrative that combines perfectly with her photographs.

“I had never been to a summer camp. My parents opted for filling my summer days with books and drawings, pretty much solo activities that required little guidance or social interaction. I’ve grown knowing how to spend time alone. Now, at 27, I was on my way for my first summer camp. I couldn’t tell if the giddiness was excitement or nervousness. I was 7 years old again — sitting next to some other kid from some other place. But only, now, we were adults.

On the first couple of days, we were trying to find our friends for the week. It was like school again, and insecurities flourished. Friendships made during lunch could vanish until dinnertime. We all wanted to fit in, including me. I was different from everybody else at the camp — not just a participant, I was also a photographer. This made made me feel like a double agent.

(Almost) All the 180 Creative Camp 2017 attendees / © Matilde Viegas

On the first day, I shot a couple of portraits. I didn’t expect them to be any good — I needed to understand, and sense, people. By the third day, everyone was already comfortable. At the canteen, groups were always the same, day after day. The cool ones, the quiet ones. Our class was made up of people from all over the place: South Korea, Poland, Romania, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal. It’s probably missing some country but you get the idea. The range of ages was 15–40, but everyone got along. Some of us had a car, we even went on tiny roadtrips around Abrantes. We could finally “hang out”, and people stopped minding the camera.
I got to know everyone. For a whole week, these kids were my focus. By the end of the camp, I was eager to get home and get my film back from the lab. The camp gave me the opportunity to feel fresh at something. I was in a new environment, surrounded by people I did not know. It felt like first day of school- who are you going to hang out with? Who should I sit with at lunch? This kind of uncertainty and self-doubt is not as common when you are 27 y/o. Feels good.”

Abrantes on an early evening / © Matilde Viegas

Matilde made us think about how both unsettling and comfortable 180 Creative Camp is and how it can be a favorable ecosystem for you to develop your work, taking advantage of other people’s presence. While people get to know each other, ideas come more easily.

You can see more photographs taken by Matilde during 180 Creative Camp 2017 here.