“Vanishing Point” engages 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 lived in a state of perpetual yearning. Visions of the life I desired surrounded me like a mirage, but they seemed always just out of reach. Twenty years later, a grown man yet still full of longing, I returned for my high school reunion.
Photography provided a tool for time travel. As I walked those familiar streets, I felt awaken inside me the boy I had been, and the boys I had longed to be. They were still living, but frozen in time – trapped in the body of a man twice their age. The experience was surreal – at once disturbing and awe-inspiring.
Immersed in the landscape of my youth, I found myself scouting for “stand-ins” for characters from my past. Archetypal figures appeared: those I had wanted, or wanted to be – and those I was afraid to become. Looking into their eyes, I encountered my alternate selves. As they met my gaze, I saw them look forward to their own aging with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation.
We stood at a crossroads; each of us perched on the cusp of becoming the other. I waited for moments of transition, when the subject seemed on the verge of becoming or vanishing. I photograph to describe these liminal states¬¬ – evoking the eternal quest to situate the self in time.
Sebastian Collett grew up in Ohio and France. Following an early career as a pianist, he fell in love with photography in college, where he studied with Stephen Shore and Larry Fink. Upon graduating he traveled the world for fifteen years, then earned his MFA at the Hartford Art School. He was recently awarded a grant from Light Work, and residencies at the Hambidge Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His portfolios have been featured online in Fraction Magazine, L'Oeil de la Photographie, Feature Shoot, Crusade for Art, The Latent Image, and Vice Magazine. Sebastian has self-published several books, and is included in the Mossless survey of American photography, "The United States, 2003-2013.” His photographs have been exhibited at Aperture Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kominek Gallery in Berlin, 25CPW in New York, Project Basho, the Philadelphia Photo Art Center, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and the Houston Center for Photography. Sebastian’s work can be found in many private collections, and in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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