After returning from years of war coverage, Peter van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and family, in a landscape which has become as surreal as the war he left behind.
I am a photographer born in 1993. From 2011 to 2014, I studied Cinema in Montpellier, France, then, from 2015 to 2019 I specialized in photographic documentaries during my years at Le Septantecinq in Brussels.
Two years ago, I was in Lebanon for a project I called Ma fi madineh bala baher. I wanted to discover this country beyond my readings. I felt attracted to it like a night butterfly to a flame. It’s still a dream to go back, longer, in Beirut, specially now, with the revolution still in progress.
During the last two years, I worked on a project, Eldorado, about the youth living in the south of France, where I come from. As I was taking portraits and pictures of the young people living there, I noticed I was looking for answers through my subjects, also about my desire to leave my region of birth. I think these questions are reflected in my images: there is a kind of hesitation, an expectation that something is happening, mixing sometimes underlying violence and tenderness.
In my work, my favorites subjects are about memory, relationships, and the link between a person and a land and the stories behind it. I’m currently working on a project, a bit of oxytocin, experimenting with the lack of human contact.