christopher young – five #08

noid-five08-burn

 

Five’ explores the power of ambiguity, minimalism and ‘the frame’ in photography. It develops concepts of implied narrative to communicate, amongst other things, darkness and danger.
Whilst the specific places that were visited are, conceptually speaking, irrelevant, there is an inherent sympathy for that which is stagnant, abandoned or neutered by various external forces.
In contrast to urban exploration, which is often adrenaline-fuelled, this work has been a controlled, formalised experience. It is much more about absorbing, reading and activating the spaces.
Any ambiguity in the resultant images should enable a new, personalised reading by someone who then views the work. Essentially replicating my original experience.
What or who is not there? What can’t we quite see? How do we overcome the helplessness of not being able to ground an image in a time line?
The images are an attempt to exploit this helplessness and the illusion of reality to create a more visceral, rather than intellectual, response to images.
More work from the same series, a more extensive statement and a supporting essay can be seen on my website: http://www.zebra-factory.com/five

Five #08 by Christopher Young

“five #08″ is part of a broader series that explores the power of ambiguity, minimalism and ‘the frame’ in photography. It develops concepts of implied narrative to communicate, amongst other things, darkness and danger.

Whilst the specific places that were visited to make the work are, conceptually speaking, irrelevant, there is an inherent sympathy for that which is stagnant, abandoned or neutered by various external forces.

In contrast to urban exploration, which is often adrenaline-fuelled, this work has been a controlled, formalised experience. It is much more about absorbing, reading and activating the spaces.

Any ambiguity in the resultant images should enable a new, personalised reading by someone who then views the work. Essentially replicating my original experience.

What or who is not there? What can’t we quite see? How do we overcome the helplessness of not being able to ground an image in a time line? The images are an attempt to exploit this helplessness and the illusion of reality to create a more visceral, rather than intellectual, response to images.

As with many Australasian artists, themes in my work have often been identity-based. I find myself without a set of pre-determined motifs from which I can draw and I instead tend to grasp for an emotive connection.

With this in mind, I typically enter spaces blind, with only a vague idea of what I am about to encounter. This enables me to shoot without too many preconceptions and I’m then less likely to pre-visualise or design images. The majority of the images are ‘as found’ with little to no manipulation. I’m interested in finding scenes that potentially speak to an unknown history of a space.

As a technical side note, all of my work – with the exception of some documentation shots – is shot in natural light on medium format slide film. This allows for a great deal of detail and gives the work a hyper-real feel. A lot of the images were shot in extremely low light and this also generates an often painterly effect.

More work from the same series, a more extensive statement and a supporting essay can be seen on my website: http://www.zebra-factory.com/five

 

Bio:

I was born in small town New Zealand in the mid-seventies. My first experience with Photography was with a very nasty Diana-clone in 1982. It felt incredibly empowering to have my own camera and to be able to express, however crudely, how I saw the world. I enrolled to study Applied Arts in the early 90s and realised through that process that I really wasn’t that interested in being an ad man. I was much more into making images that moved both myself and others. I majored in Photography with a Fine Art bias and exhibit on a regular basis in Perth, Western Australia where I now live with my artist wife. In terms of influences I’m a fan of Stephen Shore, Jeff Wall, Craigie Horsfield, William Eggleston, Walker Evans and Todd Hido amongst others. Ultimately, I’m inspired by people doing almost anything extremely well. My images and the processes involved have always been solitary, very personal and have a therapeutic nature to them.

 

Related links

Christopher Young – Five

 

24 Responses to “christopher young – five #08”


  • i can see the attraction of “urban exploration” and you´re right that the images produced often seem flippant and too quickly taken.. little thought and more about proving the “exploration” itself.

    the form of this photo is good and the skewed symmetry going on works well.. even if the curtains look a little bit contrived.
    great tones, atmosphere and light.. although for me the ambiguity does leave me feeling ambivalent.. like the mood yet it´s a little banal – bland for my taste..

    regardless – a great idea very well executed and will tuck into your site when i have a moment..
    cheers
    d

  • The image seems contrived and boring. I actually like photos of abandoned houses and factories, etc. But this photo seems more conceptual. As you suggest, the place itself is irrelevant, and that’s what puts me off with this photo.

  • I like this… very evocative. The texture of the walls, the sound of footsteps on the wooden boards, the smell…. curious red air-con unit…. Mmmmm…. I’m there….

  • draped
    in
    sunlight….
    mmmmm…
    yummy……
    ***

  • This esthetically is a really beautiful image. Fine art photography though and through. For Jim I think the lack of context is bothersome, but the beauty of the image is enough for me. Contrived, and boring yes but I think in a way that is the point isn’t it? Not as much of a fan of the artist statement, it always seems to be he Achilles heal of many of the pieces published here. I think the images are more powerful than the words and that makes sense as we are image makers not authors or poets in most cases.

    Great work.

  • The fact that this subject matter doesn’t have strong appeal for me personally, is irrelevant. However, I can see that it is very carefully composed, and that the photographer is mentally immersed in this space. What does appeal to me is use of natural light, and most of all the use of medium format film. It seems that film is becoming the “glass plate dinosaur” of the 21st century. I’m always happy to see that certain photographers are hanging on to it.
    Way to go Christopher!

  • Ridiculous artist’s statement luckily stopped reading it. Love the photograph!

  • I will not comment on the image because it does not move me, at all, in any direction. But I agree with Sebastian. This type of Artist Statement would have been a lot better: http://www.johnbrownlow.com/phb/statement.html

  • This is an example of where context matters to me. “I’m interested in finding scenes that potentially speak to an unknown history of a space.” A known history of a space would make the image more involving. It is a lovely picture, but that seems to be about it.

  • It isn’t an artist’s statement it is a critique……Being the artist and critic has become a bit of a trend here in Australia, the problem with going down this path is the audience is isolated from the artwork, the artist is not the decision maker for the audience.
    As images rely on your statement/critique( the same seems to be the case on the supplied url) maybe a different media may be more applicable.

  • Hi..

    This is a really interesting idea in that its like a blank canvas where we’ve been given a theme to illustrate on. I guess its very analogous to writing exercises for a short story, or something.

  • i love photo, but i think is too much intro,bio and ….it is only 1 image.
    we try too speak visual and thats enough!
    un saludo

  • I like the crossed curtains and how they fall gently on this rose-colored air conditioner. The light shimmers through and it almost seems like this is the first image in an interesting movie. I hear the foot steps on the dirty floor with that crackle texture denoting it’s been awhile since the floor has been swept. The air is damp and cool. Wh lived before and why did they leave? Nice picture.

  • Every picture which looks boring in the first logic, makes me search ..
    Martin Parr said, “one can see how much effort you took when taking a picture, everybody is naked.”
    I like in this picture the way you captured the light .. and the shadows.

    Regards the caption, it may be good as a statement, however your picture can stand for itself.

    Congratulations for being published.

  • Hi,
    A different perspective, a different composition,different view. Simple yet striking.There is nothing special in this photograph and that the strength in it. There is a untold story which gives viewr a option to think over it.
    I just want to gaze it for some more time.
    Regards.
    partha Pal
    India

  • I really love this evocative-textured-nicely-naturally-lit photograph. I don’t have a problem with the picture being closer to fine-art than to photojournalism, or with the artist´s statement being ambiguous or too personal. The image simply works for me.
    Cheers,

  • Thanks all – and I truly mean all – for your comments. Any feedback is always much, much better than none. With artist statements there is always this balance between writing nothing at all, simplifying it to extremes or writing where my head is at. I guess ultimately the work is not journalism – ie. trying to tell a specific story about that space – but more about the experience of engaging with a space as much as possible without prior knowledge or context. It comes back to the ‘lack of motifs’ issue in my personal identity. That is, what ‘belongs’ or rather what doesn’t belong to me. What am I ‘allowed’ to make images about? With that in mind, I’m more interested in how a lack of information (or ‘caption’) in images can open doors for others. As a side note, the scene as with 99% of my images, is as found.

  • Often, when an essay is posted, I take a look at it, then go about my business for a few hours, then see what images my memory pulls up before I reopen it take another and then, perhaps, to comment.

    As this was single image and of a totally different sort than I had seen before, I went away and then, when I came back, pulled up my mental image of the picture, studied it, and then pulled up the real image to see how close I had gotten it.

    To my surprise, I remembered pretty precise, down to the fine details.

    I think a picture could only cause me to do that if there was something worthwhile and strong about it.

    As to the need of context or not, when I first looked at the picture, it took straight back to a moment in Montana in the fall that I was 12 and entered an abandoned mansion with my dog and a friend. My dog was a brave and courageous dog and, teeth bared, would stand by me and against just any threat that one could think of, but the place so terrified him that when a gust of wind blew through a broken window and sent the curtains flying, the dog race out of the mansion and skedadalled on home.

    I wonder if the picture would have brought that experience back to me so strongly, had the context been made instantly know.

    Vicky Slater – for further evidence of the point that I brought up in another discussion, just scan the above comments.

  • Addendum to the above: I don’t know why, but I tend to drop out many words and make other little errors when I type these things. When I proofread before posting, my mind puts the words right back in even though they are not really there. It corrects the errors, even though the errors remain. I hope readers can figure out approximations of those dropped words and errors by context. Sorry.

  • I really like this.
    I like how it feels so considered and precise.
    I love the items that are half in and out of the frame and how that’s both wrong and perfectly right and it does something to my brain.
    I like knowing that though it’s as found, everything portrayed is absolutely deliberate.
    A very thoughtful and well executed piece.
    And though I liked your statement I only read it after letting my own head play around with the picture for a while.

    frostfrog, i think i know what you’re talking about but isn’t that all part of putting your work out there?
    :)

  • Absolutely, Vicky – and that is precisely a point that I made in the earlier discussion.

  • Ah, good. I tried to look for our chat to refresh myself but things move so fast here.
    Anyway, I’m glad we agree.

  • I love the colors here.

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.