We often marvel how social media has led us to such a wonderful community of Beekman Neighbors, so we were intrigued when we came across these artists on Instagram.
Two strangers – one male, the other female – have taken the historically solo activity of photography and turned it into a collaborative process by working together in real-time, looking through each other’s camera lens while 8,000 miles apart … creating an art world revolution. Calling themselves The International Collaboration Project, artists Francisco Diaz and Deb Young have embraced the 21st century’s power of technology. With their award-winning, innovative and provocative work and process, they are taking the art and photography world by storm.
Francisco Diaz (USA) and Deb Young (New Zealand) met through the global network of Facebook in 2013. Initially flying solo—Young as a street photographer in Auckland and Diaz a photomontagist in New Jersey—the pair used Facebook as their digital version of the ‘artist hangout’ to share work and debate the future of photography. From their intense online discussions came the idea to bring artists from around the world together to produce concept-based works designed to create social dialogue.
“We decided to challenge the belief that photography is a solitary activity by working on images in real time together. We knew that our being strangers separated by 8,000 miles was an impediment, so we began to use the available technology in unique ways to surmount the challenge – video conferencing, team viewer, tethering, WhatsApp and numerous design apps,” says Young.
It is unusual in the art photography world to work in partnership, as artists tend to be independent, opinionated souls. Before the digital era, two artists working together on one shot at the same time was impossible. It is even more unusual for one of the partners to be a woman.
“We also knew it was important to confront the notion that gender difference stylistically matters in the art world by working on each image jointly. Collaboration creates a powerful female/male synergy which helps us promote a more balanced approach to our cinematic narrative photomontages,” notes Diaz.
Their work is groundbreaking because their technological process disrupts every known photography protocol from the solitary nature of photography to the methodology of their image capture. Diaz + Young do not use models, props or set-ups, gathering images randomly, with each new work telling a story. The magic of the photos moves to post-production, where dozens of images are combined to create one final image that looks like a single photograph—creating an eerie sense of reality, which itself is an ironic refutation of photography as truth.
Since establishing The International Collaboration Project in early 2013, Diaz and Young have received international acclaim, in particular for their masterful “Playground Series.” The work is hauntingly beautiful at first glance betraying what appears to be a single, unique moment captured in camera by one photographer. An art collaboration that traditionally occurred in-studio has now given rise to bridging the gap between gender, culture, distance and time to create an apparent reality of many disparate images so seamless as to pose the question “how is photography defined and where is it headed?”
A new reality has been created with Diaz + Young as the face of 21st century digital photography where art photographers may now collaborate from different corners of the globe, blending creative energies as an example of true cooperation amongst global strangers in these challenging times.
We are so fortunate that they agreed to share their series The Wandering Kind with us.
Only 5 editions of each image will ever be created. Prices range from $1850 (24 x 16) – 3,000 (30 x 20). For more information, contact Susan Spiritus, Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, CA 92660, 714.754.1286 or www.susanspiritusgallery.com