Description

Together with Agata, Bieke Depoorter explores the complexities of the photographic enterprise, grappling with the relationship between photographer and subject. By diving deep into a collaborative working dynamic with a Polish woman she met in a strip club in Paris, she creates a small alternate universe that raises more questions than it offers answers: Who made these images? Who is the subject? Who is Agata? This project is both the story of a young woman searching for identity by playing with it as if it were a toy and the story of Depoorter experimenting with the fragility of photographic authorship. Most of all, it’s the product of a photographer and a subject consciously agreeing to, as both Agata and Depoorter have put it, “use each other.”

Photography guides me into the routes where I can stay amazed

Bieke Depoorter
© Bieke Depoorter | Magnum Photos

Bieke Depoorter (1986, Belgium) received a master’s degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009. Three years later, when just 25 years old, she was made a nominee of Magnum Photos, of which she was named a full member in 2016.

The relationships Depoorter establishes with the subjects of her photographs lie at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are the starting point, and how these interactions naturally develop dictates the nature of Depoorter’s work. But several recent projects have been the result of Depoorter questioning the medium. In As it May Be, she gradually became more aware of her status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. So, in 2017, she revisited Egypt with the first draft of the book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs.

In the ongoing project Agata, a project about a young women Depoorter met at a striptease bar in Paris in October 2017, she explores her interest in collaborative portraiture. It’s an example of Depoorter’s interest in finding people that can work with her in telling a story. These stories are always partially hers, and partially theirs."

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