The innocent complexity of playground society in cinematic narrative photomontages

“While a photo montage isn’t a new concept, most modern artists use the form to create surreal or fantastic images. What is different about this collaboration is an eerie sense of reality, which itself is an ironic refutation of photography as truth,” commented writer Teresa Politano on The International Collaboration Project duo Deb Young and Francisco Diaz.

The idea that two artist photographers — one male, the other female — can work together while being separated by a vast ocean, is revolutionary — but such is the nature of this groundbreaking exploration, The International Collaboration Project by Francisco Diaz (USA) + Deb Young (New Zealand).

Described as “disturbingly beautiful”, their “Playground Series” has given rise to the term “cinematic narrative photomontages”. In pushing boundaries, Diaz + Young’s radical approach to collaborative montage is unique in photographic history. They don’t use models, props or set-ups, but create from totally random images. Separated by more than 8,000 miles, their collaborative process encompasses working together remotely in real time on one piece and viewing through each other’s camera. Their collaboration is based on gender equality to both redress the imbalance of woman in the art world and to infuse their narrative work with a masculine/feminine sensibility. 

Writer Caro Buermann noted about their “Playground Series”: “For most of us growing up, playgrounds were more than a place for fun and games – they also provided a fast and hard lesson in how social structure works; they taught us how to be patient while we waited for our turn on the swing, while boys would chase and torment the new girl, and the nerdy kid would get bullied and left behind in sport games. In their surreal new series of photographs titled “The Playground Series”, international artists Francisco Diaz and Deb Young illustrate the innocent complexity of playground society”. 

The International Collaboration Project’s “Playground Series”  has been invited to exhibit at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, the KOLGA Awards in Tbilisi, Georgia and the 6th Edition of the Pollux Awards — the 3rd Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography exhibition in Malaga, Spain — choses Diaz and Young as “International Photographers of the Year” with their work winning in 3 categories. In May 2015, Soho Photo Gallery in NYC featured a solo exhibition of “The Playground Series”.

The prestigious book, “Fossils of Light + Time”, published In 2015 also included “The Playground Series”.  Commencing 2016, Diaz + Young have been signed to an exclusive representation by the legendary Susan Spiritus Gallery.

3_The_Light 4_The_Sack_Race1 5_Follow_the_Leader 6_The_New_Girl 7_The_Chase 8_At_The_Waters_Edge deb 9_Hide_+_Seek2 10_Jumping_Over_Pumpkins 11_King_of_the_Hill 12_Run 13_The_Quiet_Boy 14_The_Sack_Race2 15_Blind_Mans_Bluff 16_Lost 17_The_Boy 18_The_Incident 19_The_Confrontation 20_Hide_and_Seek 21_The_Clearing 22_The_Potato_Race 23_Lets_Play_Vikings deb 24_The_Wait

Images and text © The International Collaboration Project

The artists’ website:

Susan Spiritus Gallery
Gallery: 714.754.1286