“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.
All images ©Sebastian Collett