Learning to See with My Eyes Closed
Timeline is among the most creative photographic projects to emerge in the art world in years. Many of us, historically, have turned to the photo album as a way to preserve memories of personal and family events that are worth noting, worth saving: birthdays, trips, ceremonies, the house where we were raised, child's play in the garden outside the kitchen window, our pet animals, family reunions, and even dark times caused by recovery from a serious illness. Each album becomes an archive, if you will, of who we are as a person, as a family.
Tom Young has taken this old idea and created an entirely new genre: visual fiction. Here, in each picture, he offers an assemblage of personal life that could very well be yours, and he has intertwined it with the interior and exterior places that can surround us: trees and rocks and windows and showers and fields of grain. The accompanying titles convey not only a direction toward meaning for each image, but also a declaration that each image is a work of art. Here, then, is a narrative of landscape and portraiture that suggests not only the photographer's life, but also, through the power of memory and shared experience, the reader's.
When Young was only ten years old, he had a medical procedure that left his eyes fully bandaged for weeks. Without sight, all of his other senses changed. Despite the darkness, he would imagine the world around him and the power of light as it relates to memory. In Timeline, one senses that the artist is seeing his entire world as if a life is being recollected in a split second. One image leads to another, building in nuance and subtly until we come to understand, as if by way of a sixth sense, how the little details of life create a larger retrospective. "If pictures could talk, what a tale they might tell." That thought lurks behind every image of Tom Young's masterful visual story of a life; Is it his? Or yours? (See the publisher's website for further information on exhibits and to view a slide show: http://gftbooks.com/books_YoungTom.html ) See a wonderful video from the team at Photo-Eye about the book: http://vimeo.com/67147795.