The Four Horses
Photographers Deb Young and Francisco Diaz were both enamored with animals as children, Diaz with his dogs and Young with the cows and chickens raised by her family on the hilly New Zealand landscape.
In that sense, The Wandering Kind is both a personal return to the artists’ early years and a collective homecoming to mankind’s place of origin: the wilderness.
Young and Diaz, who together form the International Collaboration Project, live an ocean apart, in New Zealand and the United States respectively. Every single image in the series was forged in both their minds. They photographed the landscapes and animals from home and rearranged and reimagined them as photomontages together.
When it was possible, the creatures in The Wandering Kind were photographed in the wild and were free to roam. Both artists ventured into local forests and encountered the animals who lived there by strokes of luck. The deer, Diaz admits, were especially flighty, but their elusive character made them that much more enchanting— like the White Stage of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia.
Young is ambivalent about animals in captivity; the fact that our species so often uses others for entertainment disturbs her. At the same time, she appreciates the conservation efforts made by some zoos, and she did make a few trips to meet the creatures there, setting them free in the pictures she made with Diaz.
While The Wandering Kind certainly has a mystical storybook quality, the real magic lies in the living and breathing of the animals, in gestures rendered in an instant. The creatures, it seems, are the keepers of some great secret the human race has long since forgotten, one that can be discovered only with gentleness and without force.
If we take the time to be silent in our wandering, perhaps the riddle will be answered, not in words but in glances and hoofbeats on the forest floor. “Animals absolutely live in the present moment,” Young explains, “We learn from these creatures that life is to be fully appreciated.”
The Fox and the Turkeys
The Pig & the Sparrow
Leading a Horse to Water
All images © Francisco Diaz and Deb Young / The International Collaboration Project