Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Dark Side of Photography (Part 2)

Igor Posner
I recently came across the work of Igor Posner and more precisely his series ‘St Petersburg 2006-2009’. It immediately reminded me of Ackerman’s images. Igor Posner was born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. He now lives between the US and Russia and I think this detail has a great influence or maybe is a great explanation to his work. Just like Ackerman’s Poland, Posner’s Russia is dark, moving, but also contemplative and sad. With portraits, street scenes, snapshots of landscapes, Igor Posner offers an amazing variety of photographs and techniques that form a coherent intriguing body of work.
Posner says that ‘this place has always been overwhelmed with hopes and dreams, thus any disillusionment here is only natural.’ And this is exactly what you feel when seeing his images. Despite the fact that they are personal blurred memories of his childhood he manages to engage us in his world. 
View his essay in Burn Magazine:  www.burnmagazine.org
 More on Igor Posner: igorposner.net

Antoine d’Agata
While the previous two photographers both illustrate and transcend reality in a powerful and partially autobiographic way, the photographer who takes his obsessive anxiety to the highest possible level has to be Antoine d’Agata.
Antoine d’Agata travels in the darkness of his stories, in his own darkness and fully lives the violent sexual life of his subjects. He lives at night and wanders like a phantom in dark streets and behind closed doors. The stories he tells are about sex, orgasm, love and passion. But they’re also about obsession, sickness, isolation, depression, brutality and death.
The images that he brings back from his experiences are unusual, vibrant, artistic but they explore limits that we’re not sure should be reached. His actions become his art, and in the name of Art he lives an unauthorized life between drugs, violence, and prostitution. With Antoine d’Agata we’re not sure if his extreme lifestyle is the result of his artistic vision or if photography is an excuse for his actions. The limits between apology and denunciation are blurred. But Antoine d’Agata had this life style when Nan Goldin picked him up on the streets of New York, so way before he even started to photograph. Does the fact that he photographs his own sexual relationships with prostitutes and his drug addiction make it worse? I don’t think so. And anyway the images that result from his actions are incredible, unique, moving. Of course the prude critics will cry out in scandal, but let’s stop judging the man and focus on his talent to really see the dark beauty of his work, that we could call Art.
‘A photograph is nothing but a lie. The space is cut off, the time manipulated. They are two uncontrollably false appearances of an image condemned to choose between hypocrisy ­ and good conscience ­ and being fake.’
‘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.’
Mala noche 1991-1997
Mala noche 1991-1997
Hometown (1998-2000) - Marseille
Hometown (1998-2000) - Marseille
Vortex, Tijuana 2000
Cambodge 2007
Aka Ana 2008
More on Antoine d'Agata: www.magnumphotos.com or documentsdartistes.org
Watch the trailer for The Cambodian room. Situations with Anoine d'Agata: www.youtube.com

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