“ That day, I thought that I held something important and that my life would be changed. But nothing of this nature is acquired definitively. Like water, the world traverses you, and for a while, lends you its colours. It then draws back, leaving you once again to face the emptiness that one carries in oneself, to face that central insufficiency of the spirit that one must learn to live with, to fight, and which, paradoxically, is possibly our surest driving force.”
Nicolas Bouvier, The Way of the World
I take photographs and I write. I record lives. « Documentary photographer » makes it serious, but at the end of the day, it’s a matter of making the picture with a sense of belonging, ethnographic intelligence and empathy. Some people call it humanism, I just call it presence : my photographs are about them through me.
Photography is a dance, a recital and a play. I perform body techniques in connection with others at a certain pace, focusing on mouvements, meanings and beings. I am attracted by any form of resistance, territories, animal cultures, migration, border crossing, gender issues and pastoralism – life before cities existed. I love complexity. I believe in good words, good boots and the changing lights of the seasons. Photography is not a naive « universal language », it’s rather a strong call to value the singularity of each visual culture and therefore enhance the dialogue between their differences. I’m not a lonesome cowboy as without the work of the fixers, most of my photographs could not be done – we owe them a lot. I stand at the intersection of activism and photography, confronting – anywhere and anytime – the unbearable injustice which consists in passing off misery and its blind mechanisms of alienation as normal processes of alteration and fatality. More than feminist or ecologist, equilibrist and minimalist. Equality as the end goal, equity as the means to get there, with balance and fairness as a common ground for all beings. I commit myself to long term projects for I know everything is too short and too fast. I deliver my pictures and my writings to NGO’s, they use it to make a difference.
My sensitivity to non-European contexts comes from my parents who raised me in a family environment made of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. I studied History (MA), Philosophy (MA) and Anthropology (DEA). I described mechanisms of identity alteration in migratory contexts before conducting a research (PhD) in epistemology about binary thinking applied to ecology, using ethnographic material from Japan. Books, wilderness, early morning cycling and (lots of) tea. As the poet says, « if fire would catch in my place, I would save fire », I write poetry. I studied piano, I study the cello and there is always a musical instrument at hand. I race bikes, cyclocross bikes only – it’s my Belgian DNA.
Nominated, finalists or winner of these grants and awards : SPES Foundation 2012, Renaissance Photography Prize 2012, Deeper Perspective at International Photographer of the Year 2012, Lucie Awards 2012, IPA 2012 Top Country Picks for Belgium, Terry O’Neill TAG Award 2012, Leica Oscar Barnack Awards 2013, American Photographic Artists 2013, top-rated entry at LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014, top-rated entry at Magnum Photography Award 2016
Exhibitions: Mall Gallery in London, European Parliament, Museum of Photography in Charleroi, Palais des Expositions in Montreal, National Institute of Art History in Paris, Ecole du Louvre, Espace MAGH, Peinture Fraîche bookshop and art gallery, Cultural Center of the Embassy of Japan in Belgium, Cultural Center of Namur, Embassy of France in Dushanbe, Leica Gallery in Lille, …
They trust my skills : Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles, Théâtre de la Roseraie, Unité de Soins Palliatifs Saint-François, Fédération Wallonne des Soins Palliatifs, Fédération Bruxelloises des Soins Palliatifs et Continus, NHK World, Artemis Productions, Centre d’Action Inter-culturel de Namur, Espace MAGH, Société de Croix Rouge du Luxembourg, Société de Croix Rouge de Belgique, Eurocontrol, Photographes du Monde, People in Need, ASIA-NGO, Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières, GERES, United Nations Offices in Mongolia, National Center Against Domestic Violence, Musée du Quai Branly, Bank of Asia, United Nations Fund for Population Activities-UNFPA, Terre des Hommes, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Unicef, Goethe Institut, Ambassade de France en Mongolie, UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup races Namur & Dendermonde, Belgian Cycling, Save the Children North Western Balkans, Atina, Arsis, Equal Legal Aid, Elpida Home.
They publish my pictures and my texts: NGOs, 6mois, le Bec en l’air Editions, magnumphotos.com, The New York Times, GEO, Polka, Sony Europe
I am a Sony Ambassador.