A new interview with Antoine D’Agata in Vice Magazine is making the rounds and rankling plenty of people: Fear, Desire, Drugs and Fucking: Photographer Antoine D’Agata lives a life less ordinary.
D’Agata’s work divides people more than almost any other photographer I know, and most people I hear from express some skepticism of his pictures.
I personally have always been fascinated with his work and appreciate that there is a photographer like him doing something in this particular vein of society. If this is the art/work he wants to make, that’s great. I don’t think it is a put-on, though I’m quite sure that there is and needs to be only one like him. He fulfills a corner of photography well and we probably don’t need to see students trying to imitate. Furthermore I think this interview in particular has a lot of insights to offer .. into D’Agata’s work and motivations but also the struggle of a photographer in general. Check it out, be offended a little, and be curious that there is this kind of work being made by such a character.
How would you describe your own work—as reportage, as art? Do you feel that photos can be an honest and effective way to convey a situation?
The only type of connection I have to the tradition of reportage is coming up with the most efficient ways to deny, denounce or destroy its prejudice. Beyond humanistic pretence, reportage always conveys twisted or insidious values. Its economic survival has always been dependent on logical means to perpetuate the efficiency and the profitability of a system controlled by the elite for their own benefit. And one has to remember that no photography can pretend to show the truth. A picture only shows a given situation under a very specific perspective, consciously or not, openly or not, relevantly or not. Photographers have to accept they can just convey fragments of illusory realities and relate their own intimate experience of the world. In this process of fictionalising an unreachable truth, it’s up to them to impose their doubts about any photographic truth, or accept being impotent pawns in the mediatic game.