Sebastian and I met a few months ago in Asheville. We both happened to be there at the same time, and David Bram (Sebastian was in Fraction Issue 58) connected us. We had a chance to have a long lunch and look at prints, which is just about my most favorite thing. Through looking at not just the images I had seen on his site and Fraction, but also through a huge pile of other photographs that were not part of that edit, we came up with another story thread that you will see below. Enjoy this new take on Sebastian’s work. It is intense and authentic, and it is absolutely stunning.
VANISHING POINT BY SEBASTIAN COLLETT
Vanishing Point explores memory and desire through encounters with people at a pivotal point in their lives.
Growing up gay in a small college town in Ohio, I felt haunted by possibilities that were just out of reach. Visions of the life I desired were all around me, but I was not yet able to embrace them. Twenty years later, having traveled the world, I returned for my high school reunion. I was now a grown man, self-actualized in many ways, but still full of longing. Photography provided a tool for traveling back in time. As I walked those familiar streets, I could feel inside me the boy I had been, and the boys I had longed to be. They were still living, yet frozen in time – trapped in the body of an older man. The experience was surreal – at once disturbing and awe-inspiring.
Immersed in the landscape of my youth, I found myself scouting for those who could serve as “stand-ins” for characters from my past. Archetypal figures appeared: boys I had wanted, or wanted to be. Looking into their eyes, I saw my past selves. And as they met my gaze, I saw them look forward to their own aging with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation.
We were at a crossroads – both of us perched on the cusp of becoming the other. As I photographed, I watched for moments of transition, when the subject seemed on the verge of becoming or vanishing. Throughout my work, I seek to describe these liminal states, and to evoke the eternal quest to situate the self in time.