The work of Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata (born 1961) explores themes of addiction, sex, prostitution and other taboo subject matters. This volume presents the photographer’s nightmarish, unflinching Lilith series, in which d’Agata portrays his relations with a Cambodian woman who is addicted to methamphetamines and has worked as a prostitute since she was 12 years old. “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,” d’Agata has said. “Part of my recent work could be easily described as some chaotic and biased sociology of ecstasy.”
Antoine d’Agata: Lilith is the first title in La Fábrica’s new 64P series of photobooks which aim to explore the creative possibilities of a condensed photo-essay format akin to the short story.
Published by RM. Text by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Nicolas Arraitz, Bruno Le Dantec, Tania Bohorquèz, Alfonso Morales.
Over the past 30 years, French photographer Antoine d’Agata (born 1961) has undertaken various journeys in Mexico. As a photographer, d’Agata tends to focus on societal taboos like addiction and prostitution, and embroil himself directly in these darker parts of human nature. “It’s not how photographers look at the world that is important,” d’Agata has remarked. “It’s their intimate relationship with it.”
This book is a record of the photographer’s Mexican travels, a tense, immobile diary of his experiences in the devastated landscapes of an increasingly volatile criminal society. Still images, cinematographic narratives and texts make up a personal diary that, through intimate, sexual and narcotic encounters, constructs an increasingly sickening reality. Mirroring his journey as he wanders through a lonely and marginal world, d’Agata’s photographic language seems to fracture and degenerate page by page.
As a whole, Mexico presents a complex, difficult portrait of a period that has been constructed as a time of lawlessness and criminality in Mexican society. D’Agata structures the book around six photographic movements, relating directly to different times in the contemporary history of Mexico. These chapters suggest ruptures in the continuity of history, even as D’Agata creates a narrative of descent into pain and savagery.