What I Am

Christopher Young

Christopher Young’s work explores a self-perceived lack of identity and the struggle to either establish or discover some form of ‘I’. There is a fine balancing act between creating an idealistic perception of self and acknowledging any factors that predefine this ‘I’.

It is an engagement with a heritage long ignored and looks at the parallel feelings of fascination and loss.

‘When my paternal grandfather died I got a brief insight into a history that I’d essentially ignored.

He was a carpenter and I discovered a very extensive antique tool collection upon his death. These all seemed extremely foreign to me – as stark as words and sounds from another language.

I remember as a child going with my father to a Saw Smith who used to sharpen his tools. There was a fascination with this magical old man who mysteriously (I wasn’t allowed in his workshop) reinvigorated these often very old and precious instruments. Even then I was aware that he was a rare breed of individual.

There were tools that my brother and I could play with but also those that were strictly forbidden. This was not only because they were dangerous or expensive but also because, in hindsight, they had genuine sentimental value. They are, as with many men, an essential part of what defines him.’

Chris is very much aware of the lack of a motif ‘library’ in his creative life. A person with Celtic heritage, for example, can draw on a broad and extensive range of symbols, history and language. In a similar vein, people who subscribe or belong to various sub-cultural groups or have had, for example, some form of traumatic experience have this ‘luxury’ as well.

He, however, doesn’t consciously subscribe to any particular social, gender, racial, sexual or any other sub-cultural grouping. Even fundamentals like being ‘a man’, ‘a heterosexual’ or ‘a New Zealander’ are void as he finds himself having almost no affinity to those definitions in a popular sense.

A study of a personal genealogy or ‘tool box’ is a purely intellectual exercise and he instead finds himself looking for an emotional response to external stimuli.

If something moves him is it something more than social conditioning? Is there an innate aspect involved? Can he subscribe to something across cultures, without some historical basis?

Chris also tries to convey the sense of reverence and quiet that he experiences whilst shooting his location images. These places are abandoned or deserted and are going through a process of decay, destruction and regeneration.

He comes to them after the emotive connection to place has been severed. Just as the aftermath of the decisive moment is silent, all participants have long since departed. All they leave behind are scars, broken glass and ash.

These, like all photos, are ultimately death masks and tombstones of lost people, places and moments.

Please contact me on 0421 974 329 (Western Australia, GMT+8) should you be interested in purchasing work. Prices range from AU$808-$1,420 for individual prints.

Framing can be included for your convenience and is done by a professional framer. This includes individual white frames, white matt boards with the prints behind glass.

View the series

What I Am

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Phone: 0421 974 329 (Chris)
Email: write to us!
Web: zebra-factory.com