Renato D’Agostin from Venice, ltaly
Renato D’Agostin was born in 1983. He started his career in photography in Venice, Italy in 2001. The atmosphere of city life nourished his curiosity to capture life situations with the camera. For this, in 2002, he journeys through the capitals of Western Europe. After a period in Milan where he worked with the production studio Maison Sabbatini, he moved overseas exploring photography in New York. In the dynamic city life he had the chance to meet photographer Ralph Gibson and later on become his assistance.
In 2007, he presented Metropolis at the Leica Gallery in New York. Other exhibitions followed in The United States, Europe and Asia in the years after. His works have been published in numerous books and some of his prints have in the years become part of public collections such as The Library of Congress and The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, as well as the Center for Creative Photography in Arizona and the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris among others.
Dislocating subjects from their realities, he depicts his perception of the space around him, the relationship between the architecture and people, opening a new portal in the spectator’s imagination.
Please introduce yourself to MAPS readers.
What was your first camera that you owned and what do you use now?
My first camera was a Nikon F60. My father gave it to me and I took it as my only companion on a trip across Europe by train after high school, a trip that was supposed to tell me if photography could be my future. I now use Leica M6, M7 and Nikon F100.
Which film do you prefer to take b/w photo?
I mostly use Kodak Tri-x 400. Sometimes Ilford 3200, it depends on the project. And sometimes whatever I find. I’m not very technical, as I believe in the photographic result rather than the way I got there or what I’ve used.
Do you print film by yourself?
I process film by myself, and then print the photographs in my darkroom, which has become an essential part of my life.
What do you think is the most important step of photography? From seeing, capturing the moment to printing.
Every step is relevant, from seeing, thinking, shooting, printing the photograph in the darkroom. Some photographs depend more on the shooting moment, other subjects on the later steps of printing and finding the perfect tonalities in the darkroom. Most subjects strongly depend on both.
Do you remember the first object or person you became obsessed with taking pictures of?
How would you describe “7439” series?
7439 is the number of miles I travelled through from New York to California, on my 1983 BMW motorcycle in 2015. 7439 is a series of photographs of what I encountered on that trip, my version of the traditional coast to coast.
Do you have any message that you want to speak through your works?
My vision is a possible vision. I try to translate the reality I see through the alphabet of my photography, dislocating subjects from their realities, and trying to reach what I like to call ‘infinity’.
What kind of reaction do you hope to get the audience on your photography?
I hope viewers can experience my photography in their own way, different from person to person. I look somehow into universality in my photography, avoiding all the elements that would narrate a specific moment, or feeling, but instead opening up a possible intimate connection between the viewer and the way I translate into two dimensions what I see.
You started photography in Europe and now you are based in New York. What’s the difference between two locations for living as a photographer?
New York was for me the place where photography was treated in the way I was hoping for. Open, fresh, where age didn’t really matter, but the only thing that mattered was the work I was proposing. I love Europe and I go back very often. I need the balance between the two to exist.
Do you take photos everyday? If so, how many approximately?
I don’t. Sometimes weeks go by without grabbing my camera. This is because I tend to work intensely on specific projects, and then follow the next steps of the production, such as printing in the darkroom, making the layout for the eventual book, thinking about the exhibition, and all the other elements that will take that thought into reality.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m not very fond of free time. Free time means shooting new work, or printing old work, visiting exhibitions, looking at books, studying the next subjects. Being an art photographer I think means being on it full time.
What is the most important for you?
My lonely moment in the darkroom thinking about what my photography is and what I want it to be.