An industrial building in California, a field of wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest, a farm in Louisiana or a lush garden in Ohio: all connected by the metaphorical thread of a teal dress. Earlier this year, eleven photographers, eleven daughters, eleven cities and one dress came together for the creation of the #TealTravelingDress, a collaborative project exploring the work of talented artists across the country, each with their own unique style and creative voice, making a collection of memories with their daughters and a single dress.
We love when a project brings people together and when the same subject is explored from different points of view, so we thought this collection of stunning photography and creative inspiration would be perfect for celebrating World Photography Day.
The Origins of The Traveling Dress
The idea of The Traveling Dress started in 2016 when an exciting concept brought seven photographers and one dress together in a project dubbed The Traveling Dress Project and then, in 2017 The Traveling Dress Collective was born: a platform to feature multiple traveling dresses and multiple artists from around the world, each with their own individual creative vision and voice.
In 2018, the project united 10 photographers from different cities across North America. They wanted to put a spin on the traditional Traveling Dress project by photographing their daughters rather than themselves wearing the dress. They chose a gorgeous cream boho maxi dress with tiered lace ruffles, and sent the dress traveling. Needless to say, the journey of photographing their own children wearing the collective dress became a cherished experience of mothers and daughters creating memories. And that brings us to:
The Teal Traveling Dress
The jewel-toned dress and the magical setting of these photographs immediately caught our eye, so we reached out to Washington-based photographer Jess Buttermore, one of the creators participating in the Teal Traveling Dress project, who kindly talked with us to share more about the project. Jess was part of the cream tiered lace dress project back in 2018 and has joined other Traveling Dress projects over the past few years. “It’s an experience that my daughter, Madeline, and I love sharing together,” Jess told us over email. “I’ll never forget Maddie’s face when she saw her very first traveling dress. And each time we unpackage a new one, it’s just as exciting. She gets to be a princess for a day, and we get to work together to create a beautiful collection of imagery. We’ve packed our traveling dress on trips to the Oregon coast, Mt. Rainier and even Iceland!”
Community over Competition
Beyond the wonderful moments shared between mother and daughter, being part of a collective creative project is an opportunity for fellow creatives to support each other, strengthening the photography community.
“What I love most about these creative projects,” adds Jess, “is that we, as a group of photographers who have been supporting and rooting each other on for many years, are able to join together to share our craft in a unique way. We choose the dress style and color together (often times choosing to support a small shop along the way), invite artists together and organize the dress’s travel schedule around the world together. Then, after the dress has completed its travels, we come back together as a group and plan a loop and hashtag to share our individual artistic interpretations of the dress together. We do not typically share our images with each other during the process, so posting the loop is extra exciting…almost like a reveal! Creating imagery is a powerful craft and it is exciting to see how our favorite artists, those we admire most and who we look to for daily inspiration, photograph the very same dress in such different ways. What location they choose, what light they shot in and how they edited it all transform the image into what we have come to know as each artist’s unique photography style. When our loop is complete, we are surely already shooting the next one!”
We can’t wait to see what they’ll be creating next. Make sure you follow along with them!
The photographers behind the Teal Traveling Dress:
Meg Bethard @megsausted
Shay Cathleen @shaycathleen
Melissa Dawn @melisdawn80
Jamie Eilts @jamieeilts
Karlee Hooper @karleehooperphotography
Kerry Rainbird @kerryrainbird
Jen Sebring @jensebringphotography