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IDENTITY. LANDSCAPE. CONNECTION.
The core themes around which my photographic work has developed are identity and connection.
These concepts are closely interwoven and also evoke concepts such as roots, home, group, borders, heritage, and so on.
I depict these two core themes in relation to their typical appearance, the landscape, with which everyone's sense of identity is connected. This ranges from the small, intimate and nearby landscape (our home), to the broader landscape in which we live, work and travel.
These can be natural as well as urban, suburban, rural and industrial landscapes.
These subjects sometimes have clear boundaries, but often they partially overlap, especially when they occur together in small geographical areas such as Flanders and Belgium.
My work has a documentary basis - to show and also to preserve - and is built mainly around collections of subjects such as houses, rivers and parks.
I mainly document the Flemish landscape, because for me (literally and figuratively) the distance to it is the shortest.
By extension, my work is also about landscapes and identities that exist in a wider surrounding around my home.
In concrete terms, these are other European countries that share the same or a very similar history, basic values, culture and traditions.
A future vision I have of my photographic trajectory is to observe and document places that are far away and removed from my personal identity.
Japan is of particular interest in this.
I usually portray the identified environments without showing the inhabitants.
I do not want to show human activity; instead, I want to show the visible result of that activity on the environment.
It is my aim to draw the viewer's attention to the interaction between the environment and the sense of identity, and to guide them to appreciate how that environment has shaped them and how they continuously shape that environment over and over again, through each generation.
My work has no activist intent and does not intend to convey a political, ideological or religious message.
The work instead aims to depict as accurately as possible what characterises the Flemish (and by extension the European) landscape.
Of course, because of my personal involvement in selecting and capturing the subject, the images are not neutral in terms of content (this is not the aim).
My personal involvement and subjectivity comes from a personal amazement with the material appearance of our culture. I also take a nuanced approach to the appreciation of the subject’s socio-cultural-economic peculiarities, both in terms of what we experience as pleasant and what we experience as disturbing.
( 20221026 )