Artists Francisco Diaz and Deb Young are the creators of the International Collaboration Project, a digital photographic collaboration positioning them as pioneers in this landscape. Working over 8,800 miles apart, Diaz (USA) and Young (New Zealand) combine their candid photographs into series of reality-bending narratives. The themes of their work often have an underlying lo-fi sensibility, exploring both childlike wonder and imagination, as well as intense adult stories with darker twists.
The two artists have been part of multiple exhibitions, competitions and projects. Accolades include being named “International Photographers of the Year” at the 6th Edition Pollux Awards, the Fine Art and Documentary Photography Biennial held in Malaga, Spain; first prize at the New York Center for Photographic Arts; awarded the 9th Julia Margaret Cameron Award at the 4th Biennial of Fine Art + Documentary Photography in Berlin, and more.
About ‘The Lost Boys‘:
Francisco Diaz and Deb Young developed their photomontage series as a simulacrum of real life, with random photographs they put together to create a metaphorical story of growing up as a subversive act of life. The Lost Boys project starts as a conceptual artistic idea that talks about the process of becoming an adult, and it continues their interest in how childhood speaks so profoundly on who we will be as adults. It is storytelling about those particular times and moments just before our personality comes out, as we become an important and prominent part of society. We are all witnessing the emergence of our crossroads as the main point of our lives, but at that time we usually don’t have to understand the mystery and insights of our transition. Sometimes, we are afraid of growing up because we find certain occasions as unknown, hard times, filled with dramatic moments. Inspired by escapism, controversy and mischievous stories of adventures and pranks of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Peter Pan, Diaz & Young find their personal stories and lessons through The Lost Boys images, and turn the literature and fantasies into real life reaches of children’s imagination.
Diaz and Young start The Lost Boys project as a story where growing up is a subversive act of life. The Lost Boys series is a metaphorical look at collectivism and individualism as social and cultural syndromes. The fact is that the fundamental social conflict of Western culture today is an issue of individualism vs. collectivism. With photographic manipulation, Diaz and Young explore the visual language, reviewing evidence of childhood and adolescent gatherings in a group that behaves as a system that shares attitudes, beliefs, norms, roles, and values. We can identify with that because we do share languages, history, and places. There is a link between patterns of our personal life and life in the community. The thing is that humans are social animals. We live and do things together to improve our lives and survive. Does our life belong to us, or does it belong to the group, society, or the state? In expanding global politics and corporate businesses, we need clarity on this issue more than ever. Our children need that because sooner or later they could find they live in a dystopian world with a lack of personal freedom.
by writer Drazenka Jalsic Ernecic, Senior Curator