Davin Youngs: You were there too

“You were there, too” is an edition of 45 three booklet sets by artist Davin Youngs. Youngs uses photographic portraits and answers to “relationship defining questions” to create these individual depictions of his relationships with three close friends.

Michigan native Davin Youngs lives, works and takes pictures in Chicago, IL. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Youngs has shown work both locally, internationally and in various online and print publications. His work often deals with the nature of relationships and how they are visually represented through the medium of photography.

Youngs on You were there, too.

My photographs are an investigation of how the nature of my relationships with those I photograph is visually represented. Gesture, location, and position of subject raise questions about the ways in which my interactions with the subjects exist and the space we occupy, even as it relates to self-portraiture. Some relational elements are clear, while others are questionable. This is meant to be the case, with the only consistent elements being the presence of me and the subject, as well as an awareness of my medium.

These are ideas I began exploring a couple of years ago when my father agreed to embark upon an interactive and photographic journey with me. The primary objective was to see in what ways my artistic medium could unpack our relationship using both words and photographs. I wrote a series of questions that I considered relationship defining or “things I would love to know”, and asked him to answer them via email. He responded willingly and with more beautiful answers than I had anticipated. I placed the words and photos next to one another to explore the ways in which they interact.

After working with someone as close as my father and exploring our relationship through this process, I found interest in seeing how this worked with other relationships in my life. You were there, too. investigates the ways in which my relationships can be represented through words and portraits. The words are not mine, but serve as a dynamic representation of what the subject is willing to say, or not say about “us.” The camera sits between us, but serves as a literal lens through which to see the idiosyncrasies of our relationship and how we interact. Together, the words and portraits indulge the viewer in information they might or might not ask about the subject, the medium, and the picture taker.

The results are three small books which visually represent small pieces of “us.”


More about Davin Youngs:

website, blog, myspace, flickr

Online projects he’s a part of:

The Ones We Love is an online portfolio of intimate portraits of those whom the photographers love.

Fjord photo.org is collection of emerging photographers on the internet, eventually to be formed into a book.

Anything is a self-editing collaborative magazine that lets its contributors freely add/edit any image or text to it, as often as they wish. In each of its 64 main pages, there is an area allocated for 1 image (left side) and 1 body of text (right side). Upon registration, each contributor is asked to choose whether they wish to upload image or text, and they are permanently assigned a random page (shared with another contributor). In addition to the 64 pages, visitors can also click on Show Me Anything!, which randomly combines any of the currently available images and text to create a ‘new’ page.