Mala NocheAntoine D’Agata(En Vues, 1998)
The photographs of Antoine D’Agata are like images from a stalker’s notebook, cherished mementos of chance encounters in the nocturnal underworld that the photographer inhabits. These are the autobiographical moments of an artist that intimately embraces his subject. In Mala Noche, D’Agata takes us into the Mexican backstreet drinking dens, where intoxicated and drug-fuelled nights are consumed by violence and prostitution.
There is nothing poetic about these images; they are raw and disturbing and any fragility derived from these scenes is a result of the lives of the subjects themselves. D’Agata’s gritty realism has an air of integrity, an authentic statement, a document made by an artist physically and emotionally immersed in a world of pain and pleasure. This is not a photographer that passes judgment, but one that exists within the brutalized world he seems drawn to. Yet in this darkness, amongst the tormented lives of the marginalized, there is a beauty in D’Agata’s work and a palpable belief in survival, in the potential to escape from alienation and solitude.
“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. One has to remember that no photograph 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.” -Antoine D’Agata
Also recommended: Situations (Rathole, 2007).