Matt Black El Paso, Texas. USA. 2015. © Matt Black | Magnum Photos

A great journey has long been regarded as an access point to creativity; to new experiences, places and people, and often to introspection and self-learning.

In this talk, writer, curator and artist Aaron Schuman joins Magnum photographers Matt Black and Antoine d’Agata in conversation, exploring the concept of the journey as a framework for visually responding to the world.

Matt Black Snowfall outside a shuttered K-Mart. Flint, Michigan, USA. 2016. © Matt Black | Magnum Photos

Matt Black is from California’s Central Valley, an agricultural region in the heart of the state. His work has explored the connections between migration, poverty, agriculture, and the environment in his native rural California and in southern Mexico.

For his ongoing project The Geography of Poverty, Matt Black travelled 48,000 miles across 44 Unites States to photograph designated ‘poverty areas’ and highlight the growing gap between rich and poor. The work was presented as an interactive, digital package by MSNBC, with Black’s images geotagged to a map of the US. Matt Black was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Prize in 2015 for the project. He also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2016 and was named Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective.

Other recent works include The Dry Land, about the impact of drought on California’s agricultural communities, and The Monster in the Mountains, about the disappearance of 43 students in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.  Both of these projects, accompanied by short films, were published by The New Yorker.

Matt Black La Junta, Colorado, USA. 2016. © Matt Black | Magnum Photos

Born in Marseilles, Antoine d’Agata left France in 1983 and remained overseas for the next ten years. Finding himself in New York in 1990, he pursued an interest in photography by taking courses at the International Center of Photography, where his teachers included Larry Clark and Nan Goldin.

For his first books of photographs, De Mala Muerte and Male Noche, d’Agata travelled the world to document characters of the night’s further edges: prostitutes, addicts, war-torn communities and homeless. The books were published in 1998.

In 2001, he published Hometown and won the Niépce Prize for young photographers. Compiling intimate and provocative images, the book focused on his travels in France and personal journey.

Traveling around the world, documenting his personal experiences and encounters, d’Agata continued to publish regularly: Vortex and Insomnia appeared in 2003, accompanying his exhibition 1001 Nuits, which opened in Paris in September; Stigma was published in 2004, and Manifeste in 2005.

Since 2005 Antoine d’Agata has had no settled place of residence but has worked around the world.

Antoine d’ Agata Vigo. Spain. 2000. © Antoine d’ Agata | Magnum Photos
Antoine d’ Agata Zabriskie Point. USA. 2000. © Antoine d’ Agata | Magnum Photos

Aaron Schuman is an artist, writer, editor and curator based in the United Kingdom.

His photographic work is exhibited and published internationally, and is held in a number of public and private collections.

Schuman is the author of FALLING (NB Books, 2017) and FOLK (NB Books, 2016), and has contributed texts to many recent books including George Rodger: Nuba & Latuka—The Colour Photographs (Prestel, 2017), Alec Soth: Gathered Leaves (MACK, 2015), Vision Anew (University of California Press, 2015), The Photographer’s Playbook (Aperture, 2014), andPieter Hugo: This Must Be the Place (Prestel, 2012), amongst others; he aslo regularly writes for magazines such as ApertureFoamFrieze, TIMEHotshoe, The British Journal of Photography and more.  Additionally, Schuman has curated several major exhibitions, including Indivisible: New American Documents (FOMU Antwerp, 2016), In Appropriation (Houston Center of Photography, 2012), Other I: Alec Soth, WassinkLundgren, Viviane Sassen (Hotshoe London, 2011), and Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs (FotoFest, 2010).

In 2014, Schuman served as Chief Curator of Krakow Photomonth 2014 – entitled Re:Search, the main programme featured exhibitions by Taryn Simon, Trevor Paglen, David Campany, Clare Strand, Jason Fulford and more.  Schuman is the founder and editor of SeeSaw Magazine (2004-2014), is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Brighton, and is Course Leader of MA Photography at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.


Antoine d’ Agata Las Palmas, Canaries. 2004. © Antoine d’ Agata | Magnum Photos

This event is part of the Magnum Photos Now talks programme at the Barbican Centre.

Tickets can be purchased here.