Singing a song thinking this is the life

Alex Callier, Hooverphonic

If I was interested in photographing a little over a dozen singer-songwriters for his book, that was the question Julian De Backer asked me early last year. Julian and I both went to the same college to study journalism, but we actually go way back to kindergarten. As toddlers, we were in the same class, until my parents decided to move about fifty kilometers away. Twenty years later, we serendipitously ended up in the same school once again, and Julian actually became one of my first models when I just started dipping my toe into photography.

Julian De Backer

Fast forward another ten years (man am I’m old or what?), and we were working on Songwriters (by publishing group Lannoo), Julian’s first but definitely not last book. In this work Julian has collected interviews with singer-songwriters, going in-depth about the life and art of professional song writing.

Kris Wauters, Clouseau
Isolde Lasoen

I was honoured to be a part of this project and to catch a glimpse of how some of Belgium’s most famous artists go through life. I also don’t know anyone who could have been a better author for this book, as Julian is a wonderful writer and clearly a walking music encyclopedia, and it was lovely to see him and his interviewees get so deep into the subject at times I feared I had lost them forever. ;)

Featured in this blogpost are some of my favorite images, but there are lots more to be seen in the book itself, which also features a cd with never before released demo’s, which is quite a treat. Available in stores or here and here, to name a few.

Ozark Henry

Pink is my favorite crayon

There are two kinds of photographers: those who prefer to shoot black and white, and those who prefer to shoot in color. Even though I really like black and white at times, I will always prefer taking a good color photo over a monochrome one. It’s of course a totally personal preference, but there’s just something about color that really sticks with me. I guess it just feels more me. And whenever I have the chance to experiment with some color, I just get happy. Color makes me happy. So here’s some experimenting with a pink background with lovely and sweet Marie.

Model: Marie @ Flag Models
© Els Vanopstal

At the heart of it all

It is true: shooting digital is faster, easier, safer and gives you a whole lot of frames to choose from. There are times when I feel my film camera is just weighing me down, and as it is also heavy and slow, it has been getting left behind quite a bit lately. But honestly, when I think about it: I just can’t get over film. I just love the emotion of it. And while I love my 6×7 camera (Mamiya RZ67), maybe the square has had me from the start. So here is one from the archives, with model Renée Van Osta and makeup artist Kathleen Van Walle.

An eternity of memories

Three years ago today, I lost my fiancé Christophe to cancer. Just three years. Three already. The idea is absurd. This time feels like an eternity to me, as well as a blink of an eye. This all happened yesterday. But I’ve been missing him now, for so long. I cannot comprehend this time, and I cannot explain it. I cannot tell you how my heart feels today or how my stomach still turns at the thought of what he had to go through. And I cannot imagine how I’ll feel a year from now, or five, or ten. But by now I know one thing: time cannot heal all wounds. Sometimes we just get strong enough to carry them around. Even though there are times when we feel weak and broken, undeserving and scared, if you are reading this, you are still here. We are here. We are here. And I for one, am keeping all the memories.