Thursday, January 3, 2013

Antoine D'Agata - his intimate relationship with the world

It was good to catch up with Antoine D'Agata in Siem Reap at the Angkor photofestival last December. It was a pleasure to see him at work with the young students in his workshop where he quietly gave with generous wisdom and kindness and to see an aspect of this man that seemed so at odds with the harsh extremes of his own practice.
I thought about the time he was in Auckland where he stayed in my house but only slept in his bed once, disappearing at night to parts of the city I never knew existed. Nor wanted to know. I though too about when my girlfriend B and I collaborated with Antoine for his book Stigma. How strange that was.

Antoine has a particular view of the world filtered through the depths of his own psyche. His view is uncompromising, unflinching and challenging, embracing fear, an emotion we all have to deal with. But so often don't. His work is about questioning, understanding and acceptance. Beauty, violence too. There is an absence of artifice and ego in the work. It just is. How he is.
Despite being a Magnum member, Antoine works outside the system, confronting his own demons in his own terms. For himself. He is to be admired and respected for that.

Writer Manik Katyal talked with Antoine in Siem Reap. you can read the piece HERE published on line at EMAHO magazine. It's well worth a read.

French photographer Antoine D’agata’s work is dark, introspective and shockingly bold. A photographer for Magnum Photos, Antoine has published over 5 books. Our editor-in-chief, Manik Katyal caught up with Antoine in Siem Reap, Cambodia during the Angkor Photo Festival in December 2012 . Antoine talks about his life, Magnum, his family and his association with the underworld in this two part interview with Emaho Magazine - 

Antoine: Yes. My life is what it is and of course I’ve been different in my choices but I don’t do it out of pleasure or pathology, I do it because I think it’s my duty as a human being. I live in this world, I want to know what’s going on, I want to be with the people I think I’m like. In meaningful and painful situations, I want to be where I think it’s important to be; where things are at stake. If others are experimenting with the economic balance, I want to be there. So this is my way. I’m not photographing pleasure but my relationship with these girls who are prostitutes or drug addicts or delinquents is a very conscious choice. 

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