Tony Baghlali, known by the pseudonym The Focalister, is a young French-Algerian photographer born in Dijon. Self-taught, he trained and specialised in analog photography in Montreal (Canada), where he lived for several years.

Using photography as an art form, his work straddles the line between auteur and documentary photography.

In his series of images « ma cité brille » that he began in 2019 in Chenôve, the photographer explores the irrepressible desire to be elsewhere, the idea he had of it and, in opposition to it his deep attachment to the neighbourhood in which he grew up.

He chose to recount personal, sometimes fanciful accounts of his suburban youth in search of elsewhere, while opening up a debate on subjects such as hybrid identity, mental confinement and the taboo of male sensitivity.

His approach to documentary photography is slightly at odds with tradition creating images with a poetic resonance.

He reveals and embraces beauty by subtly decentring it towards an elsewhere, seeking to convey a sense of place rather than an objective vision of reality.

"His refusal to separate the rural from the urban creates an expanded universe in which analogies and new possibilities emerge.

The work presented also suggests a cinematic influence, both in the choice of images and in their treatment. Portraits, landscapes, close-ups and abstractions echo each other and form part of a fragmented narrative that is nonetheless in the same world.

By opting exclusively for black and white, the artist deliberately places his images in a form of timelessness like the dream scenes in Andrei Tarkov's films : a state of in-between or suspended time ("sealed", as the director would say), mixing past and present, memory and fiction ". Hugo Pernet

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