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. Words by Drazenka Jalsic Ernecic, Senior Curator.

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.

Diaz & Young’s narrative photomontages present fiction as real, an important visual dialog that encourages personal questioning and social discussion. They create a subjective and organized image that talks about the question of personal freedom we all have to fight for, but first of all, we have to teach our children to be free and open-minded. Sometimes, an innocent, wild and uncontrollable adventure, alone or with the bunch of friends, could be one of the more important lessons of life. Wild barefoot shore running sometimes helps in the process. One’s face covered with mud, too. Seemingly unrelated, but Diaz and Young did the same thing with their collaboration. They imbue this series with the importance of transformation through self-reliance. The result is a multilayered story as a metaphor for the journey and experience of new ways of transitioning – personal or humankind’s. Even their artistic adventure starts with a leap of faith, because their collaboration pushed to the edge the bare concept of photography. In their life and career, Diaz and Young believe that art is about conceptualizing an idea that can influence the viewer and help raise a positive attitude and the level of understanding the world.

About the authors:

Francisco Diaz
Francisco Diaz was born in 1962 and lives in the USA. A graduate of Queens College (BA) and Adelphi University (MA). He was one of 3 American photographers invited to exhibit at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Australia. Currently The Lost Boys series is on exhibition at Z Gallery Arts, Vancouver, B.C. Along with collaborator Deb Young, they have exhibited at Gilman Contemporary in Idaho, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado and the Kolga Awards in Tbilisi, Georgia. They were named “International Photographers of the Year” at the 6th Edition Pollux Awards, held in Malaga, Spain.

Deb Young
Deb Young was born in 1963 and lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She was awarded her Photographic Society of New Zealand Licentiateship by the PSNZ Honors Board. Young’s work has been featured in such prestigious online photography magazines as Lenscratch, Musee, Visual Artbeat, PH Magazine and F-Stop. She recently had work exhibited at The Kolga Awards in Tbilisi, Georgia and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado. Along with collaborator Francisco Diaz, she was awarded the 9th Julia Margaret Cameron Award at the 4th Biennial of Fine Art + Documentary Photography in Berlin.

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