on the road with antoine d’agata….


Most of you seem to like the conversations I have with editors, curators, and photographers. Bill Hunt was our last conversation still up and Jim Estrin from the New York Times Lens Blog will be next. Following will be Susan Meiselas as curator/photographer and champion of the Magnum Foundation supporting photographers with serious projects no matter how affiliated. There will be surprise conversations along the way. As now.

Now I am literally on the road with Antoine D’Agata with whom, in the moment above depicted, am sharing both beer and vodka in our Motel 6 in Bismarck , North Dakota. We are part of Magnum’s Looking For America project. To be a major exhibition and book. Some of our colleagues at this very moment are in Rochester , New York doing Postcards From America which is a project within the larger America project. postcardsfromamerica.tumblr.com Yes, I am confused too. But no worries. Trust me, it will all come down in a good way and with our best work all coming together in print and on the wall.

So Antoine and I are headed for a story called (by me) BIG MEN LOOK FOR BIG OIL….In about an hour we will get into our lumbering camper van and head for a town with a lot of rich people who have no place to live. Hence the camper. Williston , N Dakota struck oil. The wild wild west. A bunch of men making a lot of money and sleeping in their cars. Williston was not ready for this boom boom boom.

My story will be sort of an interview with Antoine , who flew from Paris yesterday, and my own pictures from Williston. Or not. We joked last night , towards the end of a bottle of Grey Goose , how funny it would be if we never got out of this Motel 6. Did the story , a story, of a motel on the highway. However, I think we will move on. Curiosity.

Panos Skoulidas, from Burn comment section fame, and who started with Alec Soth and Jim Goldberg and Susan Meiselas on the original Postcards project which started in San Antonio is driving the van, helping me with computer stuff, and shooting video and doing his own record making.

The whole thing is crazy of course. In seven days I have to be in Australia for my Rio opening. Nobody in their right mind would be doing THIS now. Yes, exactly.

Well, come along with us. I will post some stuff here. Panos will too.
Check out the Magnum Tumblr (http://lookingforamerica2012.tumblr.com) for more and well one way or another we will bring you a story. Not sure what story but a story for sure.

Ask Antoine a question. Or any of us. If we do not answer right away, it will be an internet issue. Ok road trip about to happen. In pursuit of THE TRUTH.

Alec Soth may have said it best in an email to me. “North Dakota might not be ready for Antoine and you”.

Stay tuned.

170 Responses to “on the road with antoine d’agata….”

  • Of the series: just friggin’ DO IT!

    Would be a surprise if you’d not.. question to Antoine.. did you think twice before jumping on the plane to nowhere land? Curious..

  • Baby due any day now and there’s a big part of me that would much rather be hanging in that Motel 6 with you guys (or even alone!). Best of luck out there!

  • Three Guys.
    A Motel room.
    A bottle of Vodka.
    Some olives.
    A Bible.

    Pretty sure that spells P.A.R.T.Y out Dakota way..

  • very impressive atmosphere… orange color, silence, liqour and a man…

    David, Thank you :)))

  • agree with john g…….

    What is ‘unconventional media’
    Is that like a camera made of anger, or telepathic video…?

    ..and if you are ‘searching for America’..in America, does that mean your sat nav is faulty?

  • …also..even with Panos at the wheel is ‘Hurtling’ an appropriate adverb to use for a winebago, Unless the sentence also has the words ‘over the edge of the precipice’ in it?

  • Serious question:

    how much freedom are you given by Magnum? What I mean, if you really would decide to stay in Motel 6 (I know you’ve moved in the meantime), get sidetracked on the way to Oiltown, what happens? Shooting for Magnum, basically self assigned?, is it different to shooting for a client?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Who is driving the van?:)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))



    I will sing later…damn:))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • a civilian-mass audience

    CHARLES…give a big hug to the family and baby Leica?

    ok…I have a question…?

    are we gonna see any ladies? hmmm…”BIG MEN LOOK FOR BIG OIL”
    I guess…my question is rhetorical…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Where is JIMMY…I see a cow…:)))

  • Question:

    Since the two of you are going to the same destination and following and developing the same story…does that mean that “the story” each one of you is pursuing has already been planned or will this be a “let us get there and let’s see what happens” type of thing?

  • light + geometry, boom.

  • Hey.. Mr. Gladdy… kisses and hugs and thank you :)


  • Serious question. How are you approaching this? Lots of upfront research, contacts, access? Or showing up with the gods of serendipity? Something in between? I’m very interested in the process you guys are taking to put you in the right place with the right people at the right time.


  • EVA. More than welcome. Though what made me think that picture on top was any good I dont know :)

  • I hope you are keeping your eyes open for cats.

    It would be a shame to make such a great journey and miss the cats.

    Nice cow, Panos. I’ve had some interaction with holy cows myself lately.

    Vivek, I see you are here on this thread. Did you get my earlier message, about how impossible my schedule got even before I reached Mumbai, where I stayed so briefly, and how difficult it was to make phone calls without a working phone?

    Anyway, I had a great time in your country, even with all the sadness and sorrow I, and those who I traveled with, felt. A wonderful time. A great time. Fantastic time. I want to go back again. Maybe next time we can meet up.

  • You boys going to visit some of those Spartan “man camps” that you’ll find all over the Bakken region of North Dakota?

  • The ONLY example of a photographic duet I know of is by Mr. and Mrs. Becher, who would make images of German watertowers and silos, side-by-each. Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris would cover a geographic region together, but would still work separately within. This is similar to the model being used right now in Rochester. It would be fascinating to watch David and Antoine work a scene simultaneously, or at least see their results. A variation on the contact sheet idea of viewing a scene from different angles, but this time, from different eyes.

  • Not so fast there Jeff.
    These guys work as a duet.

    And I have to say the work, in the flesh, is stunning.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    maybe I am in the wrong aisle…SPARTAN !!!

    or maybe this




  • 3:41 am…
    We survived the night..
    All good! Exhausted! Don’t forget to check tumblr and see u early in the morning..
    SF Jason , yes, MAN CAMPS ,INDIAN RESERVATIONS tomorrow at 7am
    One love!
    Big hug from me DAH and D’AGATA..
    Goodnight from the “gorgeous” town of Williston..
    The creepy little town that the testosterone flows like a cascade…
    Generator off, lights off, 0 C degrees outside, heater off..
    Life on the road is good, great , unique…

  • frost frog ……………. next time when u r here …we have to meet up ………..

  • Thanks, John.

    Marchand and Meffre are very much like the Bechers, in that one shot is taken, with the actual shooter left anonymous. Who made the image? How does the actual technique of one react to the other? We don’t know.

    I’d be interested in viewing other work where any non-pj event was covered by at least two photographers. Maybe there is the issue of the stifling of artistic license and freedom, which some would consider distasteful. Picasso and Braque were able to overcome the notion, as were Van Gogh and Gauguin prior. Limiting one’s creative self-expression in the company of others seems to me to be a precious sophomoric argument made by independent-minded, iconoclastic artists, but it is such a novel approach I think it bears some study.

  • When it comes to duets or even groups, in rock music there are cases where inspiration runs highest when both people hate each others guts. Kind of tug of war trying their best to keep the limelight all to themselves.
    Van Halen (Eddie versus David lee Roth) Metallica (Hetfield versus Mustaine) Guns and Roses (Axl versus Slash) and I’m sure there are loads more. Although it’s not the case in North Dakota it would be interesting to pit two photographers on the same assignment together who couldn’t stand each other…

  • To Paul’s point about rock duets, the greatest performance I’ve ever seen (only on video, unfortunately) is John Cale and Lou Reed performing “Forever Changed” in the “Songs for Drella” concert at BAM. Don’t know if they hated each other, but there was certainly a rivalry and you can just see them trying to attain new heights during that performance.

    As to the North Dakota trip, sounds great. I’ve driven through that part of the country several times and did some seedy bar tourism along the way. Visually, I loved both the landscape and the people as well as the small town architecture and diner culture. Look forward to seeing the results.

  • John – Thanks for the link. I had not seen this work. Even online, it is stunning.

    Panos – This is one trip I really wish I could be on. But maybe later, by myself. I have applied for a grant that would take me back to that part of the world – but for a wholly different purpose. I doubt I will get it, but when I read your words I sure hope so.

    Vivek – I hope so. And the same is true should you ever make it to Alaska.

    Civi – You are Hellene for certain, your message all the stronger in your gentle and loving voice.

  • Like the cow, dislike the phrase “one of the most unique.” Unique is an absolute: something is either unique or it isn’t.

  • @ PANOS:
    What an intense experience, what an intense sort of internship on the road… can I call it “roadnership”? Much, much better than a workshop! Keep reporting, even though if you don’t have internet access. Write down in the Notepad of you iPhone or whatever…, when ideas that you witness from DAH and Antoine are poping out your mind then, with wifi, copy & paste in Burn. Best way of learnin’.
    What about a Top Five daily list??

    Be aware of the testosterone…
    I love the limits on Google Maps of North Dakota. A simple rectangle… what else?

    Have a nice Friday!

  • Sounds like a fantastic project and some great stuff coming up here!
    Look forward to hearing more about this trip
    Have a great opening in Australia David.

  • http://instagr.am/p/J51QdlBrYu/

    ALL… Big hug from DAH and D’Agata!
    Traveling all day.. Mostly no Internet ..
    Nobody ignoring you.. We have terrible reception around here..
    I have to TETHER iPhone as a hotspot to blog and work..
    Not cheap..
    Antoine will answer .. keep asking..
    Keep shooting.. Keep having fun
    We love you!

  • We are on the road again.. Plan changes all the time…
    We expect the unexpected and act accordingly..
    Plz don’t forget to check the MAGNUM TUMBLR site..
    We will update with new photos after midnight.. Driving shooting all day and working
    usually between midnight to 3pm in our MOBILE “office”;)



  • “Strippers In Williston, North Dakota Raking In $2,000 Per Night In Tips ” CNNMoney reports.

  • Bill. Been redoing my website and I thought of your recent trip when this lot went up.

  • Following your instagrams Panos…..and looking at the tumblr.
    Keep it coming!!! and stay safe!

  • Question:

    There is only one picture by Antoine in the tumblr….maybe Antoine can talk on his view about online showcasing of images and the whole instagram phenomena?


    Thanks for that link to the set of photos from India. There are many beautiful, striking, and memorable pictures among those… material for a book.

  • John Gladdy…

    Absolutely beautiful images, of course your BW photos are really something else. They really kind of overshadow the colour work which is just as brilliant. But the BW stuff is hauntingly special…

  • Sweet baby Jesus on a pogo stick. I’m normally not the giddy fan type, but here we have a Cowboy and an Outlaw. And vodka. Smelling salts please!

  • I always enjoy a chance to come along for the ride, if only digitally. Thanks for the opportunity yet again!

    Curious as to when and where you draw the line as to the viability of a photo story and of course the inevitable regrouping and victory.

  • John, thanks! You see in depth, with thought, feeling and in beauty.

    I think by Monday I should finish this India series – but with a bit left over for later, should it feel right. I never intended to let it go on and on like this, but I guess I just don’t want to leave India behind.

  • Correction – I was thinking it is Saturday night. It is Friday night. So hopefully I will finish the series by Sunday night – not Monday. In India, I almost never knew what day it was. I thought I was over that. Guess not.

  • I was looking images and reading captions in the other blog site. Thanks Panos, DAH and Antoine for posting. I see D’Agata having not so fun… in that rainy day, between the camper and the wall. I bet, that he were thinking about French elections, and the 20% score of LePen’s (extreme right) results last Sunday. Geeeeez!

    In North Dakota, I found a similarity with southern Patagonia in Argentina. Big, big flat land, oil below, indians that will lose they home or land, wind, low density of people by square kilometer, not muhc to do (besides working and sleeping).

    Thinking about Kadir Van Lohuizen reportage, inmigration in Americas… money is the real thing…

    Big hug

  • First prints of books 4 and 5 now showing all at burn ……….. catcha soon David a co http://www.etrouko.com/

  • Okay Here are a couple of serious questions for DAH and Antoine.

    What is the purpose of these shoots?
    What are they meant to achieve?
    Why you DAH? and probably more importantly…why you Antoine?? (long flight to shoot a non event)
    Why do I feel completely underwhelmed by whats coming out of this and the Rochester postcard stuff, which, with honorable exceptions, is very average?
    And I dont mean average for a bunch of elite photographers maybe having an off day or three, but just average, period. Formulaic even.
    Apart from ‘sell more stuff using the company logo’ I can see very little reason for it.

    Certainly dont want to piss you guys off at all here, but I am just trying to honestly articulate some questions that have been nagging at me for a while.


  • ALL

    we are having a hard time finding net hotspots…back to you in a few hours to answer ALL questions…Antoine is not comfortable with the net experience and so we will ask him and then give his answers to you …i will quote Antoine…some very good questions coming from all of you and all part of this process….let me get some coffee, try to get to a net cafe (now at McDonalds, not a great place to write) and we will do our best to bring you into what we are up against and to answer questions about expectations…all good..

    cheers, david

  • my own take on this…..

    in general, i’m in total agreement with John about the Magnum forays into the ‘heart of america’…seems more like a stunt that the pursuit of a real vision (and I say this with deep love and respect for David, Alec, Jim, Susan, Michal, Antoine and Panos)…more about Magnum than either america or photography or the photographers vision/work themselves…but that IS the game at the moment, and for that I totally get it (marketing of self, reinvention of book forms, which i liked)…and what is fun to me (about this) is that at least THESE guys have the time and $$ and power behind them to not only road0-trip it, but to have a googleplex of eyes thirsting for what they bring back (though, honestly i’m not really interested in those images…little of the writing from postcards from america or the imagery measured about to more solitary work, like Richard’s Blue Room, for example)….BUT….the i do see this as part of David’s vision (he’s a surfer from young age)…but for me the more interesting choice is antoine…

    and above all, it fits (to me) pretty neatly into the arc of his life and what he has done….from the confines of a room in Cambodia with one woman to the open sky and nearly rejection of what his early work defined…and in this, for me, he is much closer to the heart of what i understand to be picture swinging….

    so, for antoine:

    Votre vie photographique me semble, plus que tout autre photographe Je sais, pour ressembler à la vie de Rimbaud. Les deux c’est de la poésie, le développement de cette poésie, puis le rejet de cette vie. Photo de David d’entre vous dans cette salle (après la vodka?) Me rappelle d’une photo perdue de Rimbaud en Afrique après avoir quitté le monde qui l’avait si bien célébré. Donc ma question: comment peut-on se réconcilier avec toute l’adoration des conneries tout en quêtes. En d’autres termes, posé des questions par des étrangers plutôt à travers l’Internet plutôt que de regarder la lumière du soleil verser sur soi et les autres. Faisons un livre sur la cécité jour aussi, et le rejet de toutes ces autres choses.

    En ce qui concerne et les câlins,


  • So, what have you named the van you guys are in?

  • What’s to criticize about going out and trying to make great photographs? Nothing, far as I can see. Go for it.

  • I’m with MW on this one. I think anyplace a photographer can go, however a photographer gets there – that’s the place to take pictures. If it’s in the United States, be it North Dakota, Kaktovik, Desmoine, Provo or New Haven, then it is in the heart of America. And if someone comes up with device to get them there and draw attention to it that on the surface sounds a little gimmicky, then so be it. In the end, the only thing that matters is that they got there and they took the photographs. Maybe the bulk of the images will not seem to break new ground; maybe to some the images will seem mediocre. Yet, when it is all done, I’ll bet that here and there will be some remarkable images that will make the journey seem worthwhile.

  • Hey David,

    When thinking about how you and D’Agata might approach this subject matter, i seem to be able to see more of what you might be looking for to make pictures, while i am wondering what Antoine will do in this environment to make his kinds of images. David – you seem to be able to make pictures anywhere you happen to be in your very personal kind of way. No matter if you’re in Cuba or Carolina, on the street, in someones home…wherever. The video of you shooting that family next to their house in the field (great, btw) seems like ideal DAH subject matter., but i couldn’t envision D’Agata shooting that content. I could totally see you working the bar near the pool table, but cant picture him.

    Judging by Antoine’s past work (Insomnia, Agonie…) it seems he requires a much more ‘private’ experience to make his kinds of pictures. Undoubtedly, his un-peopled photographs and self-portraits are beautiful, but the bulk of a D’Agata ‘story’ is usually comprised of those very private, sexual and ultra-personal encounters…nudes etc…

    My question to Mr. D’agata is what is it exactly that you are looking for to make one of your pictures in this type of environment and how do you approach your subject matter? Of course, i have no idea what is going on in each of your minds or what you intend to capture, so i am only keying off past work that i have seen.



  • I think both the postcards from and the looking for america projects are the best ideas, Magnum had for a long time. It shows the real life, it creates a publicity and it is core Magnum.
    Even if the pictures look trivial today, they gain worth as documents of the time within the next years…

    Both projects also motivate and inspire.

    My questions to Antoine D’Agata:
    – You are known for long-term projects with your deep integration with the subject. What are the biggest challenges for you with this project? And how to you handle them?
    – The time you have for this project is very short. Which areas would you like to dig deeper, if you could extend the time to stay?

  • It all smacks of a great racehorse on it’s last run. There will be a huge “old” audience at the track the new are there but on their minds elsewhere and probably didn’t bet on the race. Magnum should finish what it started as best it can, reinvention rarely works and even rarer as long term success.
    As for the images it is a bit like a workshop, limited time, an almost forced intent of success once you are there …….. the results are about learning and growing, not sure if magnum can afford the same.

    The photographers will walk away with something.

  • EVA

    this is under my name, but i will quote Antoine..you all pretty much know what i will say, so let’s hear from him…he just not use this format…cool?

    “I am never on assignment from anyone…Nor is anyone from Magnum on this..Most of us are always on self assigned projects..Magnum is us, there is no THEY..There is nobody to satisfy..Nothing is happening of interest for me here in Williston..I have no responsibility to anyone” Antoine D’Agata

    this would be my point of view as well…however i am find some interesting things here…just cannot do too much in four days of shooting…still it’s been great being with Antoine and Panos..we have gotten along famously…a real bonding..Antoine is one of my favorite photographers…i am in his fan club…i feel bad he could not find his subject here…we were shut down immediately on the prostitute scene which is what he wanted to do, as you may imagine…he does shoot digital, but has made very few pictures.. dah


    i will (david) answer this….we never intended to shoot exactly the same story…and again, no expectations from anyone that we would pursue exactly the same story anyway…big oil wild west town could mean many things…Antoine was thinking this was a seamy scene that it really is not…i really did not know what to expect…i was disappointed that this “wild west” bit that we had read so much about really is not anything to see…not visually impactful..”get there and see what happens” is pretty much it..i will probably not use much if anything from this myself…knowing what i know now, i would not consider this a good story…but i worked anyway…no problem..i enjoy meeting and getting to know all kinds of people, so i can manage….


    (from dah)we showed up hoping for the Gods of serendipity….honestly we had some research done, but i have always found that “research” happens on the ground when you are there…so we had basic info, but really had no idea of access…most of us hear “no you cannot do this” all the time, then we work our way in anyway…but no way to get the strip clubs…some negative press preceded us here, so all press is viewed suspiciously..so this time, no was really no….


    “man camps” sound dramatic, but neither of us saw any interest at all in them when we saw what they actually were…a “man camp” in India would probably be pretty dynamic…here a man camp is a guy in his private room….neither of us shot a frame of this…maybe if man camps was the only subject, something could come from it, but didn’t worth the effort to either of us…

    CARLO (second question)

    Antione says “I never heard of Instagram. I do not have any smart phone.


    there are no lines… (answer from both of us)


    (from David) Antoine is not happy…at least not happy with anything here…he is depressed…at least with the subject…the two of us are very much enjoying each others company however…and we go out together 16 hours every day…he is trying, he just doesn’t see anything..Antoine has not mentioned French elections….and has never talked about politics at all…that is not his thing imo…


    yours is a very good question John….and for sure nobody is pissed off at your question..at least none of the three of us….

    first off i really do not like ensemble projects…with photographers, musicians, none of it..ok so i liked The Traveling Wilburys…i did choose Antoine as my band mate here because we like each other…just like i wanted you to come to Rio with me….we are so so different stylistically, but are brothers in arms pretty deep..this may surprise you because of the apparent disparity in style but it is true….Panos, Antoine and i have had nothing but fun with each other…and knowing what we know now we would not have flown thousands of miles to be here…Antoine is flat out depressed and i would not have done this squeezing my time up against needing to be in Australia in three days…nightmare…so we have camaraderie but not much picture wise..i can sort of make the best of things generally and so can Panos, but Antoine needs certain subject matter for his art….hell dude, as you know I can enjoy taking a picture of you at breakfast!!

    listen i publish Burn so that all of you know that i am average….Magnum published the Contact Sheet book to show that we are all average, that most of what we shoot is throwaway stuff….with only an occasional pearl…i cannot speak for the others, but i know damn well i do not take good pictures, much less great pictures everyday..only SOMETIMES…it is a struggle , particularly for location photographers i think…still “sometimes” happens…we live for “sometimes”

    i am not being paid a dime on this project, nor are any of us…Magnum gave us our expenses only…Magnum has been near bankruptcy at least three times since i have been a member…none of us work for money, we work for ourselves… we do have a staff who tries to sell our work but i don’t know anyone rich at Magnum except maybe Elliott or Martin…

    here is something you may suspect..but again, i am only speaking for myself, but in these blog diaries, i rarely show my very best pictures on these things…when you see my Rio work, you will quickly realize i never posted even on my paywall my most provocative work…hey, i wanna surprise you in the book!! i never show all here…

    lastly, this is about PROCESS, not PORTFOLIO…we look at these as educational…so that folks out there will realize we are “average”…yet in two years when Looking For America is published, you will find something in there interesting…or not…if you don’t like it, don’t buy it…but yes we will try to sell it if we can…watch a movie being made is not like watching a movie…same kinda thing…and sure , we have made some bad movies….i know YOU get this…

    hey we are gonna lose the net…must stop…i hope i have somewhat at least answered your question..back soonest…we are patched in on the iPhone and running out of credit…

    cheers, david

  • Gone are the days of parenting information…it is here is a device find your own way as opposed of information to here is a book

  • Gone are the days of parenting information……… it is here is a device find your own “way” ……….as opposed to the old days of here is a book of information

  • BOB

    hey amigo, sure there is some hype….my answer to you i already gave to John..i did not see your question when i answered his…again, i would think twice before ever again getting into a group project…group anything is never as good as a singular effort…but you know we do these things i think because we spend so much time alone…hell we just want to hang out with our own brothers and sisters…so we do it…and some of our audience really enjoys them..but nobody ever has a group book at the top of their book list…


    from Antoine “first, i cannot find anything here…nothing….being with David and Panos has been bonding, great..”

  • As someone who is generally supportive of the project and am loathe to make any judgements based on woefully incomplete information, just going by what you all have said publicly, it sounds like you may have fallen into the trap of preconceived notions. My suspicion is that the modern day North Dakota versions of bars and prostitutes is most likely something along the lines of megachurches and meth labs (and prescription pain pills). Ignoring those giant fucking mastadons in the room probably won’t get you much.

  • David – I noticed that things seemed to be bad right from the start. How long does it have to be bad to scrap the idea? I mean, does Magnum ever have a situation where photographers have invested too much money and time and the results just are not there and decide to pull the plug? I’m thinking back to when W. Eugene Smith nearly bankrupted the organization with his Pittsburgh project… Would they allow that today?

    Also maybe this is a good question for Antoine – how do you get into the mood to shoot again? I know of many people who will get into a kind of funk and not have any will to shoot after being in a situation where they were expecting to find work only to end up in a dull situation.

    Travel safe you guys. Panos, don’t let DAH be late to his opening! is Antoine going too or back to France?

  • EDIT- Not to say W. Eugene Smith did not have results – he had maybe too many, and so kept at it…

  • Perhaps,Antoine can create some of his signature content with DAH and Panos. :))
    -Motel 8, the “Man Van”,lonely roads,alcohol. Can’t miss. :)

  • Antoine, David..

    Thanks for the answers..

    Looking at your pictures on tumblr (David’s), I can’t help thinking this would be great for your American Family project.. more than force a Boomtown project in such short time.. I don’t say you force, but I think that there definitely are photographs out there, just, as you say, not the story you went there for..

    Also for Antoine.. just with a whole lot more time..

    (Hong Kong airport WiFi refused to post this the first time around.. uhmmm… and not pictures loading to Instagram either.. )

  • Mtomalty – That could give a new meaning to “Big Men look for Big Oil”… so not right…

    I’m sitting NEXT TO ANTOINE D’AGATA and DAH as we speak ..
    This text below is what ANTOINE HIMSELF typed on my phone:

    “Had a glimpsing into the American dream the last five days. And couldn’t t really find my way out of that nightmare. Another boomtown biz was as usual. Up the ass of the poor. Down the pocket of the rich. Liked the people here. But they are a swimming in me old muddy waters. Need to come back soon to understand better. And feel more. And find the right meth spot. Thanks for your concern. Best. A. ”
    -Antoine D’Agata-

  • I get the impression there are too many men up in N Dakota. Where are the women?

  • Paul. Im guessing you rent them by the hour.

  • John Gladdy…

    Laughing!! I suppose the Magnum’s accountant will not accept this as expenses.

  • “These young Native Americans are being evicted from their land in N Dakota right in the middle of an oil boom all around them. Their traditional grasslands turned into oil lands.”

    My question to you US citizens is: how can that happen, again, today?
    I confess, I do not know much about US home affairs, but this really still happens in 2012?

  • Eva…

    As far as I know anyone, anywhere can be evicted from their homes if local governments believe there’s good enough reason. A local friend of mine lost a lovely piece of land he inherited from his grandparents so the local council could add two new lanes to the motorway. Very unfair especially as he got paid next to nothing for it.

  • Paul..

    I find very interesting the comparison of the captions on David’s photos on tumblr, owner of land getting rich vs. the above.. As said I don’t know much about this at all, it sure would be an interesting story to explore.. at least in text, visually I don’t know if feasible..

    I just wonder if there have been overall evictions, or limited to Native Americans in this specific case..

  • EVA,

    “I just wonder if there have been overall evictions, or limited to Native Americans in this specific case..”

    this wonders me, too.
    Here in the Rhine Area, it happens from time to time that complete villages are evicted and newly build somewhere else for brown coal. (Lookup Gartzweiler 2), it may also be, that 20, 30 years later the new village is demolished and the people moved further. However, this is not limited to a specific ethnic group.

  • DAH, Panos, Antoine – How do you guys find the right subjects in this situation – It seems like you’ve rolled into town without setting up a list of contacts – are you meeting them as you go? do you just roll up to a house and knock on the door or meet them at the bar? Whats your approach?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Can I sing now?


    I had to change my website address.
    I updated it in the wordpress section of this site, but it is not pointing to the right place.
    Is this a time issue ?(ie 24 hours to kick in) or have I cocked up somehow?
    Proper address is

    but this site keeps pointing at

    Thank you please.

  • Jason..
    MAGNUM OFFICE had us already set up with a list of contacts but a list never guarantees anything..
    A list is a list and good luck with it..
    No no.. Searching, digging, talking to strangers, knocking on doors in Indian reservations in middle of the night etc…
    I’ll go deeper in this questions soon..

  • Panos – Stop texting and driving man! Thank you for the confirmation. I can wait for more details.

  • John , nope! No fixer no contacts.. We found the fixers/contacts there.. More later..
    Love to All

  • Please, more information on this one:

    “These young Native Americans are being evicted from their land in N Dakota right in the middle of an oil boom all around them. Their traditional grasslands turned into oil lands.”

    Is this happening in “Indian Country” – tribal lands? Native allotments inside reservation boundaries? Off-reservation private lands? Who is evicting them? By what legal stricture?

  • Bill great great question..
    I think I need to let DAH elaborate on this one..
    I’m not sure if at this point (at least) I ( personally speaking ) should
    point fingers or name publicly the “bad guys”..
    Although its easy to google who is the “owner(s)” of oil companies that creating all that.
    ( in some cases , even corruption inside the tribes- some get paid ( the higher up in ladder ) and some get a check of only $15 , yes u heard well, only $15 as a “gift” along with their eviction papers..
    In some cases many families have to “evacuate” as fast as 30 days etc…
    The more I was digging info the more I was getting depressed..
    ( I have up to 2 hours audio – Indian families interviews and I also wanna do a slide show so you hear THEIR VOICE.. Not just my opinions-judgements ..
    More info soon but I have to be very careful revealing “names” at this point..
    Thank you ALL..
    Driving …

  • John Gladdy…

    Love the new work on your site, I’ll be on the lookout for your Cuba work once you upload it.

  • 2 hours… thats good. I think this is a story just being pried open! Congrats on the groundbreaking work guys!

  • @ DAH,
    Thanks a lot for the answer even thought there is a lack of internet hot spots in ND. I appreciate very much your time, as well as Panos’ one and Antoine.

    When you say “depressed” is because Antoine did not find interesting shooting there, nothing “hardcore” happens for him in North Dakota? or is because he is in a bad mood in his personal life?
    Knowing Marseille street life (his town), Williston life is at the opposite… and it’s hard for him.

    A la prochaine

  • @ ALL:
    The best fixer are the locals.
    THEY got the info!
    In counterpart you MUST give them small print pictures. So the best way to be friend with them is to carry a small ink jet printer in the camper with some photographic paper and voilà!
    Sometimes a bottle of wine also helps…


  • The mineral boom/coal seam gas exploration etc here in Australia is really tearing our rural communities apart here in Australia

  • DAH, Antoine, Panos,

    thank you very much for your answers.

    Would you do such a trip again, if you had more time, another destination, what other reasons?

    Yes, that’s the plan..

    EXACTLY.. U nailed it!

    Thank you for your answer! U nailed it! Yes , the LOCALS, the INSIDERS…
    give them their photos.. And yes WINE has its own magic when we “enter” someone’s house..
    Sorry I meant to say “soul”…

  • http://instagr.am/p/KB0KqQhrVF/

    This is a photo I shot of DAH “asking/gaining access”..
    It was raining hard.. DAH did not care.. I had to stay inside the RV because I could get shot.. The house DAH was approaching was in between two meth distribution centers..
    ( not that we were aware off )
    Photo shot with Instagram .. No photoshop.. What’s u see as distorted is just the rain from RV window..
    Love u all..
    Ok back to work..
    Tons of stuff to download etc.. Blah blah..
    Stay tuned

    You are good now – the page is cached and it takes a bit to update the old to new.

  • “The mineral boom/coal seam gas exploration etc here in Australia is really tearing our rural communities apart here in Australia”

    I didn’t know that, I’ve always had I suppose this silly romantic idea that Australia was “different” more caring ecologically and closer knit community which managed to learn from the errors of other countries…

  • federico agostini

    Great shot, Panos!

  • Paul our parliament proclaims new paths for as if they are fresh out of Brussels and stripping it bare is the name of the game………..

  • http://www.eastmanhouse.org/events/detail/magnum-04-28-12

    About Rochester: The panelists (Parr was absent, back in England) pretty much discussed the problems they had gaining access, and overturning their personal preconceptions about the city. There was plenty of success; there was a feeling that creativity flowed symbiotically among the photographers all-but-freely. Still, the task for each to produce 100 images for the project was a bit too much, onerous, and some had to revert to old tricks of the trade to fill the quota. In short, there were some creative difficulties and failures, partially mirroring the disheartening experience of David, Antoine and Panos.

    On my drive home however, it was something else that happened that day that so preoccupied me. I met with Maestro right after the discussion, and he virtually kidnapped me for 6 hours. There was a book-signing at the Eastman House, and Bruce invited me to sit beside him at his table. Plenty of people, wanting to talk, to have books and such autographed. It was plenty of fun, exhilarating, and I didn’t mind one bit playing straight man to his caustic wit.

    However, at one point a young woman of 20 slowly approached, and blurted out to Bruce that she was sorry that she was too poor to buy a book, but that she wanted to meet him regardless. Quickly it became apparent to us that she suffered from a marginal personality disorder; Bruce softened a little, took his time with her, and allowed her to open herself up to us. Turns out she suffers from agoraphobia, and is paranoid about the outside world. She would always look to the left, and had done so so much through her life that some sort of rictus had developed in her face. She spent some time at the table, told us of her dream to move to Alaska, of her love for photography. OK?

    In retrospect, it was an amazing moment. Here was a woman, weak, timid and bashful, who undoubtedly had made a big effort, maybe some sort of sacrifice, to get out of her house and travel through Rochester to meet with a photographer who, in my eyes, is the world’s most fearless and boldest street photographer. I understand now her attraction to his work, of how so polarizingly opposite he and she are to one another, that she was compelled to meet with him. Some sort of therapy perhaps? I think so. Never had I considered photography as treatment for some type of illness. Certainly there is the salve of creative doing, but the effect I always looked at internally.

    It was a tremendous moment for me to witness, literally at the elbow of Maestro, this power of art. I had many reasons for attending this day at Rochester, all of which had met and exceeded my expectations, but this experience was the best. The connections of creativity.

    Just wanted to share.

  • Salut Antoine,
    J’espère que tu auras ma question…

    When things get difficult, and you have no courage to keep on the task, no guts, no optimism, nothing but the need of shoting even if you don’t dare to go where the pictures are, how do you work it out? how do you carry on with all the insecurities and fears locking you?

    and another one, where can I have a workshop with you in Europe?

    You can reply in french if it’s more confortable for you.

    Germán Peraire.

  • David, Antoine And Panos:

    Thank you for answering questions! it all sounds like a train wreck….but it reaffirms my belief that there is something to be learned and that something good can come out of even seemingly negatives circumstances.

    Your answer to John is a lesson in itself.

    Wishing you guys a safe trip!

  • Yes Thank you all for taking time to answer our questions! Have a great day today – the weather looks like it will cooperate nicely – low 70’s but very high pollen. aAll that rain is now visiting me in Wisconsin!

  • david/panos/antoine:

    thanks for taking time to answer…as usual, i have to make it quick with a friends phone as still without web…appreciate the thoughts and answers…for me, it is always more interesting the process and the sharing, as insight into the life behind pictures and life behind assignments and work…what i cherish/value about the web…as for me, it’s always interesting that sometimes the life behind a story is even more interesting that the pictures themselves and then sometimes the most extraordinary pictures have a pretty prosaic, almost tideous life before that picture(s) was/were made…most importantly, it seems, is the bonding process between the 3 of y’all….cowboys all…

    btw, a movie ya’ll should watch (doc) is this…in may also help in framing some things


    anyway, be safe…enjoy….and celebrate….

    Danny Wilcox should have gone along for the ride :)))…

    be well guys

  • Curious about something.
    Did Antoine actually shoot during this event?

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Happy birthday MICHELLE…!!!

    Safe travels amigos…WE LOVE YOU ALLLLL….

    First of May…

    I am out there smelling the roses and the guns…Vivaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • CARLO,
    Thank you very much!!!
    I’ll post more later plus preparing a tiny movie ..
    Tons of material, photos, video and Audio from recorder need to put together..

    Absolutely yes, Antoine did shoot a lot but he is very picky of what he likes to be published
    and what not, Antoine is not interested too much in technology therefore he didn’t worry too much
    about instant posting..
    Antoine has a different approach .. For example he never even heard the word
    Instagram before, or Facebook or twitters or instant posting etc..
    But absolutely he shoot a lot and is more into creating a movie of all that instead of photos..
    One thing for sure , you can’t rush him.. He has his own way of thinking and timing..
    He is a master after all…
    But in the actual book we wi all see his work..
    Antoine shot tons of video..
    Anticipation? Yes, yes but be patient !!!
    Big hug!
    DAH flying to Sydney in a bit , Antoine left for Paris and from there straight for his new “secret” assignment

  • Love the intro from Magnum:

    “Looking For America: Boomtown
    David Alan Harvey and Antoine D’Agata in the wild oil boomtowns of North Dakota with nothing but their cameras and an RV…What could go wrong?”

  • happy birthday, Michelle!

    Lol… What could go wrong???
    Ha ha… Having me around… Can’t get any worst than that..
    Big hug

  • I’m elated to announce that little Leica Patricia Peterson emerged into this world last night. Mama and baby are doing great (verdict still out on papa:)). Will link to some photos when I get a chance. Life is good. :)

  • And happy birthday Michelle. May 1st women rule (Leica just squeaked in at 12:29 am).

  • Happy Birthday to both Leica Patricia and Michelle!







    CONGRATULATIONS…..( to infinity )

    1st of May! Very symbolic day!
    And myself opening a wine bottle for you as I’m writing this!!!


  • Happy Birthday Michelle and Leica Patricia and congratulations Charles!

  • Charles…


  • Congratulations Charles!

  • WOW! congrats Charles!


    Looking forward to seeing the videos! I liked the one in the blog you posted.
    Interesting to read about Antoine shooting lots of video.

    welcome to this oh so crazy world…
    precious one….
    *Burning michelle*
    happy happy day!!

  • Congratulations Charles!

    Last minute packing (as usual!) before heading off tomorrow to Sydney for HeadOn! Looking forward to meeting David, Lisa, Imants and Sam in a couple of days! It’s going to be great to meet everyone face to face rather than via a Skype screen! :-) A Burn magazine Down Under gathering!

  • Charles and family…CONGRATULATIONS.

    Congrats for the new burnian baby in this world! And what a name…

    @ ROSS:
    Now is your turn to report from Australia!


  • Patricio; I’ll do my best! But no Iphone, Instagram etc…. I’m a bit of a Luddite ;-)

  • «Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.» – Oscar Wilde

  • Happy birthday MICHELLE.

    PANOS :)) Big Hug brother.

    CHARLES! Big, big congatulations! May Day, very cool.

  • Welcome to the world, little Leica.. happy birthday Michelle.. see you soon, Ross..

    David’s show at the ACP will gonna rock, so will Burn show and Bondi Pavilion.. and yesterday I bumped into Sam’s pic being unpacked at TAFE Institute:


    Sorry for bad reporting, but there’s just so many hours in a day.. and nights I don’t know what they are anymore.. off to the Pavilion for Burn show hanging..

  • Eva; it will be nice to finally meet you! I didn’t realise you’d be there too! :-)

  • Hey Harvey Keep Rockin’ Keep drilling down for the REAL story!


  • Charles…
    congrats to you and family… enjoy that special glow : ))

    Burnians Downunder…
    all i can say is, AT LAST : ))) looking forward to meeting some of the Burn Family… safe travels

  • federico agostini

    did you guys check Panos’ ND instagrams??? a-ma-zing!!!

  • new work by Steve Dupont and Rebecca Norris Webb (two of the EPF judges this year)

  • congratulations charles ……….

  • Sam; That Rebecca Norris Webb essay is amazing! :-)

  • a civilian-mass audience

    The Universe is expanding…our BURNIAN family is expandin !!!

    To the CHARLE’S family we wish the best…

    And hmmm…I am still waiting for the cake…MICHELLE …where is the cake?:)

    safe travels to ALL…

    we are going to rock down …Viva AUSSIES…!!!

    p.S Greece will change Europe…the time is now…6th of May…yeap,don’t change this channel..

  • Ok.. so we have a few pics from SYDNEY.. looking great everything:

    Panos prints: http://instagr.am/p/KHAvFksjKV/

    Burn in Print: http://instagr.am/p/KHGwNxsjMT/

    David’s show, tiny tiny part of it: http://instagr.am/p/KHFkAZsjL9/

  • Congratulations, Charles… looking forward to the pix!

  • A lot different than when I walked in yesterday the cupboard was bare

  • CIVI,

    please leave Athens intact, I’ll return on the 14th :)

  • Eva,

    Keep the reporting going!!!

  • wow eva!!!!!!!!!
    thanks for showing us the process….
    the colors of the prints look rich and lush..
    Have a magical time…..

  • Thank you Burnians! Will post a few pics when I get a chance. Thankfully had a point and shoot for the doula as “covering” the birth of your own is really next to impossible. She’s also not as much of a ham as Felix was (is!).

    Good luck to all those in Sydney! Will check Eva’s pics later.

  • Inspirational “quick break”:
    MESSI BREAKS WORLD RECORD ( most goals in one year )
    Record since 1974 hold till today by G.Muller ( Geemany )…
    watch the replay in espn3 free, although game still needs 10min to end,
    Messi already scored 3 times… Geez

  • G.Muller/Germany ( sorry for typos..)


    I’m working on a little “movie” as we speak trying to describe the “whole experience” in North Dakota..
    Stay tubes coz I might need some help on this one since its most probably will go straight to the magnum archives

  • Stay tuned… I meant to say, not tubes..
    Laughing.. Freaking iPhone ;)

  • federico agostini

    keeping fingers crossed, Panos!

  • Federico, i promised magnum office movie will be ready today… but i havent even started yet……….shhhhhhhhhhhhh….. i know nobody reads this….;)

  • the thing is that im trying to record my own music coz i dont want to licence any song..i need to write my own…so yeah sure…good luck with that…i (thought) i recorded a whole song…just one guitar and then i realized that i forgot to press the “record” button ON, on my recording thingy…
    anyway…we need to have fun First..thats the most important..
    Work can always wait ..
    unless you do what u love that in my case means…stop procrastinating..
    movie time soon:)

  • Well made it to Bondi. Went down to the Surf Pavillion to see if anyone was around. They gave me a quick look around; It’s looking good!!! :-) Hopefully catch up with everyone tommorow.

  • Nolly can’t surf

  • I would have tried but your border patrol confiscated my lime green Borat man-kini…. ;-)

  • No mate that was the Bondi vet not the border patrol

  • Go Ross!!!!! Shoot the behind the scenes.. Show us what’s it like to be there please :)

  • Just a quick visual update from Sydney, I leave words to those knowing how to use them much better than me:



    Very VERY very jet lagged:



    Everybody’s asleep, all is silent, I can hear the clock ticking.. almost seems to be alone again.. calm before the storm??

  • calm before the storm…

  • Sam, so nice to have met you, even if just for a short while.. we’ll make up tomorrow! And sorry to have missed Ross, dang! Tomorrow!!!

  • Have a nice presentation tonite in Sydney! Ross, Eva, keep reporting! Thanks for your effort and energy.
    Hope someday met this incredibly crew, therefore I HAVE TO fly to Brazil, NYC, Italy, New Zealand, California, Toronto, etc, etc… I will be a big big jet laged :-P.

    Energy flowing, good vibes

  • enjoy a little glimpse here (9 minutes):


  • Thanks Panos interesting stuff………… looks great. Seems as if you got something positive out of the whole caper

  • ” The world is not made out of what we see but from what we do”

    Antoine D’Agata

    (Antoine interview below)

    I respect artists who have the courage to live up to the madness of their art. Céline, Artaud or Rimbaud are geniuses not for the dexterity or subtlety of their words but for their truth. I don’t see art as competition or a spectacle but as a privileged space to give a radical form to one’s perspective on the world. Art has long been the hostage of technique and today the criteria would be intelligence, not to say cynicism. But I look at art when I sense there’s space there for excess and despair. I didn’t have a chance to consider the history of art. I look at Georges Grosz because I find there, instinctively, the monstrosity of society, and in Francis Bacon’s, of the flesh. I look at art when it is shouted or vomited, not conceptualised or marketed.

    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.

    I do think of photography as a perfectly legitimate artistic language, but I believe it is underused or misused most of the time. The world is not made out of what we see but from what we do. Photographers who ignore this state of things—and today, as in the past, most of them do—reduce photography to its capacity for recording reality. They don’t take responsibility for their position while looking at the world and end up assuming voyeuristic, sociological or aesthetic stands. Contrary to writing or painting, you have to confront reality while photographing. The only decent way to do it is to make the best out of your own existence. From a moral point of view, you have to invent your own life, against fear and ignorance, and through the action. Intelligence and beauty don’t compensate for passivity. The only way to keep one’s dignity is to confront human condition and social context through direct action. It is a difficult balance one has to keep between the creation of situations to go through and the development of a narrative technique to share one’s perspective. In this process, life overcomes art at some point, and art perverts life. By deliberately living in this constant tension, I expect to go through existence without having to give up lucidity or experience.

    The few photographers who, like Nan Goldin, have influenced me as I was trying to get accustomed to the history of the medium, have struggled to throw back some of the rawness of the world into photography. This language is often reduced to its capacity to be somehow neutral. What Nan Goldin has taught me is to stand up, against all odds, in a political and existential struggle for survival. I don’t feel close to her because of some similar experience of marginal communities, or some alleged obsession with sex and drugs, but because she never gave up. She never hesitated to compromise her health or sanity for the sake of her work and I am just grateful to her for her courage and stubbornness, for staying faithful to her own pain, fear and desire.

    I am not sure I’ll ever have the strength to make myself understood in a clear and coherent way. I came late to photography as a desperate attempt to stay alive, and I don’t have the discipline or energy to always make sense in the way I try to communicate my understanding of things. My books are careless and full of flaws, my images are messy and my writing is awkward. But all these are just tools, not quite assimilated yet, in an absolutely determined search, that allows no concession or compromise. It is difficult to be as excessive as I am in my work and be completely efficient. Every book, every exhibition, every assignment is just one more small compromise I have to accept. Mistakes are my only possible way, but my route is my own.

    I guess reality is never as dark as the way I used to depict it, but I can’t ignore the feelings that overwhelm me when I go through the horror of the world. Meanwhile, I leave out of my pictures the most dramatic and sordid elements, the appalling conditions of living faced by most of my characters. I try to express, in the most precise and arbitrary way, the indefinable and unbearable beauty of keeping alive, physically, mentally and emotionally, for those who don’t own anything but their own bodies and sell them to survive.

    Most of my photographic strategies are aimed at reaching the highest levels of pleasure or unconsciousness and, in this sense, sex and drugs are highly enjoyable working methods. Part of my recent work could be easily described as some chaotic and biased sociology of ecstasy. I live my life with people who use pleasure as a way to impose their existence and identity in a world that denies them every right. But pleasure can’t be separated from pain and alienation. Pleasure is still a dark territory to me and I am exhausted exploring its limits. It’s just a route. Satisfaction isn’t the aim. Feeling might be the point. I’m hooked on adrenaline.

    My images are innocent because they are accidental. I’ve used every possible method I’ve been able to come up with to give up control. I’ll use whatever I can put my hand on—alcohol, drugs, rage, sex or fear—to push my own limits and make sure the final image is not an illustration or a statement. This doesn’t mean I won’t be a maniac when it comes to building the coherence of the work later. Each image is to some degree independent from my will. Each one is more a product of my nervous system than of my brain. And in the world we live in, I see this type of innocence as subversive in the contemporary struggle between the obscene forces of abstraction, of moral, of religion and the mechanics of the flesh. The instinct against the mind, the ultimate strength of those whose only way to emancipate themselves from physical deprivation, is orgy.

    Through the tension released in narcotic drunkenness, through these bare moments of high emotional fragility, I can explore a sense of annihilation born out of it that I couldn’t reach otherwise. I said drugs allow me not to think too much. They give me the raw energy to break all barriers, and to go beyond acceptable limits. They open a perspective on new possible strategies. As far as I am concerned, I’m done with fighting inhibition through excessive consumption of alcohol. But there’s a new generation of synthetic drugs which allow you to destroy yourself while, on the way, damaging the efficiency and sanity of the system. While fucking and getting high, I reduce myself to a state that is a weird mix of flesh, emptiness and panic. A bare state of being, a most innocent way to experience the world that is essential before trying to make sense out of it.

    Like Nan, I do what I can to create my own route. Like her, I don’t like the idea of looking at the world and I speak about my experiences. It is occasionally acceptable to be a viewer, a spectator, but I use drugs because they make me act and react differently. Drugs can’t be reduced to some mystical way to open a perception of reality. I value the hardest and most physical drugs, which alter and intensify the confrontation to reality. Not the ones which allow you to escape to some fuzzy, comfortable or exotic state of mind. It all comes down to not being a consumer but to take the risk of your own destiny. To consume drugs the way you would consume a TV reality show wouldn’t help. Drugs help me to feel, with my nerves and my stomach, where real life takes place. I don’t know what real life is but I can’t bear feeling anesthetised any more. I try every day to dig out the raw forces of instinct. In modern society, pleasure is the only norm. Everything is done to eradicate all traces of desire, rage, violence, pain, fear and all types of animal drive. Through drugs, through excess, I try to fall back to these essential levels of uncontrolled emotion.

    I wasn’t looking for any kind of exotic context for any specific perversion. But I had the sense of a place where barriers are few and I knew I would encounter more of those people who are victims of global social violence and find, in their own despair, the strength to invent new ways to survive. In Cambodia, this happens through the use of new generations of cheap street drugs related to methamphetamine. I grew tired of the idea of transgression. But I tend to give a chance to immorality, the way it’s been traditionally defined. Life is an impasse, and we have to make the best out of it. But I have my limits, due to my own cultural background. I don’t have that many but they are not flexible. I don’t make a moral issue out of it. It’s just a matter of desire and integrity. To be on the side of innocence has always been at the heart of each one of my moves. I stick to this. It is not an ideology. It’s an intimate philosophy, born out of experience and pain. I have been accused by some anonymous voices on the internet of many things. They are cowardly and insidious attacks. I know where I stand and don’t feel I have to justify myself. As far as what others do with their lives, I don’t judge but react to what I see and feel with my eyes, my heart and my brain

    As for most photographers, it is essential to me to deserve the trust of people I get close to. But unlike them, my ambition is to abolish any kind of political, emotional or physical distance with my subject. This process can only happen if you constantly show respect, love and compassion. My work quickly became even more of an autobiographical journal. This was my very personal way to step away from the traditional documentary photography methods, which I find very frustrating and hypocritical. There’s a part of cowardice in the usual position of documentary photography in between voyeurism and safety. This is where exploitation lies. The last few years, I have been experimenting with new working methods, slowly abandoning the position behind the camera to enter the image itself, as a character within my own images. That’s the only legitimate position. Photography is the only artistic language that has to be elaborate in the very same time that the experience it relates is taking place. I just use photography in the most coherent way, while experimenting with the world in the most intense way, trying to be responsible for my actions and acknowledging the existence and feelings of the persons I photograph.

    The only strategy I can come up with is to follow people all the way in their excessive way of life. I never know where I am headed to but using photography, the way I use it, allows me to escape from the lethargic world that surrounds us. I am the actor of a scenario I develop in a very conscious manner. Self-destruction can be premeditated. More and more, I rely on other people to do the actual shooting, while keeping control, as much as possible, of the light, the perspective, the position of the camera, the angle of the lens towards the subject, the shutter speed. Of course, I lose some kind of control in this process but it allows me to stay, in an absolute way, something other than a mere spectator. The essential in the nature of the situation I provoke is the tension that is released beyond my control. My own personal strategy to go through the violence of the world isn’t to avoid it but to go for it, and not to hurt anybody but myself on the way.

    The violence of the communities I submerge myself into is proportional and adapted to the violence of the economic and political elite. Any weapon will do. I see sex, drugs and criminality as perfectly legitimate ways to stay alive when you are treated as a non-accountable entity. To share time with my characters in the most authentic way, I need to go beyond sympathy or empathy. I don’t want to understand the people I photograph. I want to be with them, but inside them. I don’t want to look at the pain, but feel the pain. Solidarity has to go through the flesh. Words and thoughts are not worth much. They just help to identify the nature of the gap between the other and myself. The common experience of sex and drugs helps me to fill the gap. Prostitutes and drug addicts resist economic oppression and social alienation with their own body and destiny. Violence is part of that process; it’s part of that world. Most people I meet in the margins of the cities had no choice and adapted to the conditions of life imposed upon them.

    As far as I am concerned it’s been a more conscious process in my case, but in the end we share the same position in the world. I learned to accept better the legitimate and scandalous nature of ecstasy or violence. I learned to endure the pain: physically, nervously, and emotionally. I do everything I can to make sure I keep being vulnerable. I do everything I can to make sure fear never overcomes desire, and desire never overcomes compassion.

    I’ve had no home for years. I have the same nomadic habits I had all my life. I don’t see my personal odyssey as a coming back to any mythical home. Movement towards the void, fear of the unknown and the instinct of survival define human existence. I try to live up and survive to my convictions, mistakes and doubts.



    (see questions in link above / answers above on text)

  • ooops…sorry this is the D’Agata room/isle

    reposting here:

    panos skoulidas
    August 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm
    hello ALL,
    from Antoine D’Agata and myself …
    We are in the heart of Texas looking to finish and put a final chapter on
    Antoine’s NEW MOVIE coming out in couple months.
    Stay tuned in my instagram/FB page to follow the trip in the HOT American South…
    some teasers from last night














    next stop should be san francisco for the MOVIE Grand Finale :)
    big hug

    panos skoulidas
    August 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm
    hello ALL,
    from Antoine D’Agata and myself …
    We are in the heart of Texas looking to finish and put a final chapter on
    Antoine’s NEW MOVIE coming out in couple months.
    Stay tuned in my instagram/FB page to follow the trip in the HOT American South…
    some teasers from last night

    (sorry i posted links above but my comment awaits moderation coz i posted lots of links…)




    Lola and Antoine D’Agata


    Jenna texting her boyfriend



    in tha night



    frank and kim






    Jenna’s legs

    myself, Angelique and Antoine D’Agata


    Angelique and Antoine


    (to be continued and to be soon done :)
    love you All!
    Antoine sends LOVE to ALL in Burn..
    ok, back to work ,
    see u tomorrow night y’all;)


  • panos skoulidas
    August 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm
    Antoine D’Agata will arrive in San Francisco Aug 23rd- Sep 2nd. He will be finalizing a short video project that will accompany his latest book release in France 2013. Antoine is seeking contacts that can help locate willing participants to be interviewed and/or filmed for the project. Subject matter should be relevant to his latest project, Ice.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! If you have information, please contact Antoine via: (call me actually at 310-745-7005) or by responding to this FB post directly.


    Much Thanks!!!!!

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