More on YOUTH: Rodrigo Daguerre’s Formal Beauty

by Heather on June 4, 2012

One of my favourite things about this show is that it includes so much variety. Subject matter, technique and of course style- the show is a lovely mixture. Plus, it represents photographers in very different places in their careers. Established shooters like Lee Towndrow are showing fantastic work that warrants more attention. But it’s also thrilling to be include new shooters like Rodrigo Daguerre.

Rodrigo’s work caught my attention during my visits to Sheridan last year and I mentioned him in a blog post here (in that blog post I also mentioned Rebecca Baran’s great Assistant Workshop. She’s running it again this weekend- if you want to get assisting work, this should be a pre-requisit. Go here for more info). So let’s get some back story on Rodrigo, but first, I love the simplicity of this photograph:

I asked Rodrigo some questions:

Where are you from and how did you end up in Toronto?

I was born in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. A few years ago I decided to study photography. I was looking for schools around the world and Sheridan was a good option for me. I arrived in 2009 and fell in love with Toronto and Canadians.

I love the series you did during your last year at Sheridan. You’ve been out of school now for a year- how has your practice and interest in photography evolved? What’s next for you in terms of personal projects?

Thank you, that series was inspired by many things and situations really close to me. I always felt out of place in Buenos Aires, that’s the reason I traveled so much. In that series I tried to express the inability to change surroundings, being stuck in a place where you can’t escape. These characters are unable to move or alter their circumstances, surrounded by cold environments.

Today I am trying to shift my perspective and explore new ideas for my photography. I haven’t done much still life, I think it would be a good exercise to do in order to get me out of my comfort zone.

What’s your take on Youth culture? In my blog post last week about Mark Peckmezian, he referred to the vanity and superficiality of this young generation. The formality and beauty of your portraits seems to play with this idea a bit. And, it stands in contrast to a lot of photography of young people we see now- work that is raw, snapshot, grabbed. What are your thoughts?

It’s quite interesting for me cause I have already lived my teens and twenties and going back to College and being surrounded by younger people has given me an opportunity to re-discover and somehow experience youth again in today’s culture. I don’t think there has a been a more powerful moment for photography like there is now. There is a need to be beautiful, we want to hear it and read it – we need to post our experiences, we want to share them. We need to look good, be beautiful, handsome and receive confirmation, comments and “likes”. The medium is new but the story is the same; the exterior is more relevant than the human condition.

I think I want to give an air of mystery in my portraits and I can’t escape the collective imagination about beauty; I have a need to make people look interesting and beautiful but balance this notion with dark intense shadows, cool tones and locations. A good example is one of the images in the show, a reflecting glass that not only shows the exterior but what lies inside.

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Intrigued? You’ll have to come by PIKTO to see his work in person but in the meantime, here are some past work of Rodrigo’s:

And, lest I forget, the crazy good image on the poster is Rodrigo’s as well. Don’t forget- HMA6 Curates: Youth opens on the 8th at PIKTO in the Distillery. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook here so I can look forward to seeing you there.

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