Born in 1969 in Montbrison, a small town at the foot of the Forez Hills in the Loire department, France, Christophe Agou left France in 1992 and settled in New York. This early voluntary exile, an urge to immerse himself in a completely different world, was typical of the work that Christophe Agou developed over twenty years: an intuitive and empirical exploration of universes, situations and people that he came to understand by a gradual process of absorption, not realizing it had happened until he found himself resonating intimately with them.
Working with equal ease from black and white to color, from landscape to portrait, he did not favor any particular style, constantly renewing his statements and the forms of his own vision. He came to the notice of international critics for several works, particularly his series of images on subway passengers in New York. The photographs evoke a deep sense of longing and isolation, but with warmth and understanding of his subjects. This work resulted in a book “Life Below,” published in 2004.
Over the years, Christophe Agou extended his expression into other media, always working intuitively, making assemblages, multimedia installations, films and writing short stories. In the winter of 2002, Christophe Agou returned to his native Forez and roamed through the harsh landscape there; it had never left his mind. Over time and through the gradual process of building trust and friendship, the farmers and their families accepted him, allowing him to both photograph and film their daily existence. The resulting body of work, “Face au Silence” (“In the Face of Silence”), was awarded the 17th European Publishers Award for Photography.
Christophe passed away in 2015, a great loss to us here at UP and to the many friends and colleagues whose lives he touched. An homage to Christophe and his work can be read here. We keep his work on this site in loving memory.