Enrico Dagnino, Kaboul 1995
Enrico Dagnino, Croatia 1991
Enrico Dagnino, Vukovar, Croatia 1991
Enrico Dagnino, Bosnia, 1995
Enrico Dagnino, Croatia, 1991
Enrico Dagnino, Kosovo, 1999
Enrico Dagnino, Chechnia, 1995
Enrico Dagnino, Chechnia, 1995
Enrico Dagnino, Vukovar, Croatia, 1991
Enrico Dagnino, Sarajevo, Bosnia, 1995
Enrico Dagnino, Tora Bora, Afgahnistan, 2001
Enrico Dagnino, Kaboul, 1996
Enrico Dagnino, Mogadisho, Somalia 1992
Enrico Dagnino at the War Zone exhibition. Photo by Jean-Louis Atlan
Caroline Mangez, senior editor at Paris Match, and Enrico Dagnino’s companion, tells us about him: "Smoke is billowing out of his « Mac », the computer that serves as his office, his alter ego, his pillow: that’s Enrico when he is not in the field. Day and night, he hunts out the latest news, capable of absorbing the 40,000 secret documents released by Wikileaks between his morning coffee and dinner. And before turning in for the night, he can easily take time to read a story about photography in a vintage book gleaned from a Seine river second-hand bookseller. He is unbeatable, knows the history of photojournalism like the back of his hand, and admires every last detail of his predecessors’ and peers’ work. I am not going to say what a great guy he is, I know him too well… Between us, there is no longer any objectivity, he is my daughter’s father, our lives have been intersecting for nearly ten years. Addicted to news, injected with photojournalism, he is infernal!
For the past twenty years, the life that fascinates this Genovese (of Pirate descent) is nowhere, everywhere, wherever conflicts arise in the world. He is not the type to avoid frontlines, he heads right for them. In 2006, at 46 years old, he still had the strength to jump like a rabbit away from a horde of Congolese militia armed with machetes chasing after him… running away from death is the only athletic activity he’s ever had!
From time to time, when he settles in Paris where he has established as his base, Enrico dives into the sacred boxes that are piled throughout the apartment to rifle through his prints. He draws on them. It is his way of reliving “his” conflicts, his journey. He can spend an incredible amount of time getting lost in his memories: 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cornerstone to his life in photojournalism; dozens of trips to the war in former Yugoslavia; a detour in Somalia; a non-stop trip from Nagorno to Karabakh; long trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories; Afghanistan during the Russian occupation, after September 11; Irak… without forgetting the countless failed attempts at democracy throughout the African continent. He never feels like he has seen enough. He will die in orbit… He doesn’t chase after prizes, or publications, he simply seeks to understand what people don’t want to see. Perhaps that is why, when looking at his pictures lined up on a gallery wall, one can be a bit unsettled. The reality he captures is raw, dark, as are his pictures. He is Mr. “Zero concession”, we would be with less… He is empathetic, judging by the dozens of people in his pictures who continue to keep in touch, to call him for help, but he keeps that to himself. Enrico Dagnino never embellishes anything, he would regret it. He is a veritable purist. One day, in an interview with Photo magazine, his colleague and friend Laurent Van Der Stockt said that he considered him one of the world’s greatest photographers. Enrico blushed, and I thought Laurent was just using that as joke, mocking some of the better-known names in the esteemed photographic hall of fame. I was wrong. When I discovered the retrospective of Enrico’s pictures displayed at the 2.8 gallery in Washington, DC, I stepped back and realized that Laurent was right. In today’s whirlwind of pictures, these deserve a second look. Oh, and I forgot, in evenings, when Enrico finishes his last cigarette and turns off his computer, exhausted, he sometimes has nightmares. They are often so vivid he has a hard time believing they aren’t true."
About Jean-Louis Atlan, owner of the Zone 2.8 Gallery in Washington:
After 36 years in Photojournalism, at Sygma and then Paris Match, I
was able to satisfy my love of photography with this Gallery. With
Pascaline Steiner, as crazy about photography as me, we opened Zone 2.8 in Washington (www.zone2point8.com). This gallery is unlike others in that it has, in addition to its exhibition space, a fully
equipped black and white darkroom for making prints from film (from
35mm to medium format). In a world where traditional laboratories are disappearing one after another, we are providing photographers with a space to show works they themselves printed on location (or supervise their printing alongside our lab technician). This combination, gallery/darkroom, allows us to show limited edition series (Zone Series) whose “birthing” is very particular. We can show the public, and collectors, photos guaranteed to run in limited quantities, and that boast a veritable signature.
Jusqu’au 30 Novembre
1000 Wisconsin Avenue
Washington DC 20007