Every night temo ser la dinner is a seemingly random yet intensely vibrant narrative arranged around the photographer’s meetings with eleven men across the city of Madrid. Ayarzagoitia’s photographs present a non-linear set of micro-narratives that fold us into the intimate succession of her encounters. She deftly uses her camera to capture and convey the intense moments she experienced.
In the photographer’s words, “The title of the book is a metaphor full of irony regarding the way I felt some of those nights […] In this primarily male universe, there was created between me and the person photographed a kind of erotic performance (even if only symbolically). This relationship left many doors open…”
Consistent with the book’s deeply subjective point of view, the work’s title and all the book’s texts are written in a seemingly nonsensical—at times indecipherable—mix of Spanish and English. In fact, Ayarzagoitia is using pocho: a unique dialect/subculture that blends Spanish and English and is found almost exclusively in the northern part of Mexico where Ayarzagoitia grew up; a perfect melting pot language through which to convey her own boundary-crossing experiences in Madrid.
Similarly, her aesthetic—and, in particular, her unconventional methods of working—is informed by documentary photography. This can be seen in the empathetic relationship she establishes with her subjects. But unlike many documentary photographers, Ayarzagoitia is not trying to pass on a singular message or meaning. Rather, she is putting us in her shoes and sharing her personal vision of the world with us.
As she puts it:
“It’s all about intimacy. It’s a diary of my life and the way I see the world…everything seems disconnected and I still do not know what it is I’m looking for. Maybe its something that I’ll never find—or something that I’ve already found. I’m trying to put the chapters in order—to piece together the puzzle of my life which I can never seem to figure out…The front flash I used made it seem like something had been discovered, that something could not stay in the dark anymore. I hoped it would be like a secret that had finally been let out.”
Editors’ note: In 2016, Sofia Ayarzagoitia was named a FOAM Talent. Her work, alongside the other 23 talents, will be shown at an exhibition in Brooklyn running from March 30 to April 16, 2017. Don’t miss out on this great showcase of up-and-coming photographic artists from around the world.
Her book “Every night temo ser la dinner” was included in our year-end list, 2016 Photobooks of the Year: 32 Personal Favorites.