Arko Datto: CYBER SEX

Arko Datto (1986) was born in India and studied physics and mathematics in Paris before he decided to study photography in Denmark. Today he lives and works in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. His work has appeared Time Magazine, National Geographic and Newsweek among others.

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India – 
I had started working on my project CYBERSEX during the months of March and April. I have come to the point where I am satisfied with what I have. I do not have anything new to add to the project in terms of layers, depth or angles. In that sense, I have succeeded in making the project I initially set out to do.
My working method is that of taking screenshots from websites that cater to clients interested in virtual prostitution. I have worked within the strict traditions of journalism in the sense that I have not paid money to get access. Whatever I have covered is strictly from the public realm, readily accessible to anybody who might be interested. I focussed my work on the moments when my subjects are on public view, in between paid sexual performances. I have tried mostly to focus on the lives and emotions of my subjects, portraying the human side of this virtual experience. I have also not interacted with the subjects via chat or otherwise that might have led to the images being influenced by my presence, the photographer’s presence. In that sense, this is a pure photographic work that has not been influenced to any degree by the presence of the photographer. As for working time, I have had to spend inordinately long amounts of time searching for interesting people and details that I could document and then subsequently wait for the right moment. It has been a lesson in patience like none other.   This project has been a lesson in patience, as I have had to wait for long amounts of time before I achieved satisfactory results. Also, the very process of editing and selecting images has been an important experience. As for the conceptual side of the project, I have come across a lot of projects that have been done using the web as the prime source, including several that use Google Street View. However, it must be stated that most of them have worked with pre-existing images, thereby defining the works as more of curatorial ventures than photographic endeavors. I have tried to realize my project through the actual act of photographing my subjects. It is also in a sense my personal homage to medium format photography. Despite that fact that the images have been cropped to 1:1 format, I have tried to keep the feel similar to the language used in medium format photography.   Written and Photographed by Arko Datto 

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