I can think of no photographer today who better characterizes new social documentary than Antoine D’Agata. D’Agata was actually taking courses at ICP in 199o while Larry Clark and Nan Goldin were there. All three share a raw insider viewpoint, but I believe only D’Agata is able to transcend and break out of documenting a “niche culture.” We watch as Clark gets older and his punk skate teens stay the same; or observe Goldin and her NYC gay club scene change as AIDS begins to ravage the community. Both these new social documentarians rely on their completely open access to these “niche” communities. D’Agata is able to achieve the same unfettered access trans-globally. From France to Mexico and all places in between, D’Agata has documented our secret selves. Often in the night, D’Agata records a carnal world of sex and flesh. Sparce backgrounds and blurred images lend a timeless and placeless quality to the images far
D’Agata’s newest series, “Below are Until the World No Longer Exists,” is some of his most sexual work. Contrast this with his most recent book Psychogéographie, published in France in 2005, a series of staged portraits. Fully clothed teens pose, small figures in their pre-gentrified Marseille neighborhood.
I try to distance myself from a certain type of documentary photography that often avails itself of symbols that are too easy to read and assimilate in order to present a complex reality in a balance that is endlessly discussed over and over between photography as an instrument of documentation and photography as being completely subjective. It isn’t the eye that photography poses on the world that interests me but its most intimate rapport with that world.
FotoFreo 2006 Exhibition: Antoine d’Agata