Tag Archives: Belgium

Cédric Gerbehaye’s Belgium: A Country in Flux

Photographer Cédric Gerbehaye has spent the past nine years working on long-term documentary projects, often in underreported regions including South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A project in the latter country, which opened Gerbehaye’s eyes to the long and conflicted relationship the DRC has with its former colonial occupier, eventually led him to turn his lens back home, to Belgium.

In June 2010, Gerbehaye’s own country fell into turmoil and transition when the two leading political parties in the country – the New Flemish Alliance and the Socialist Party – were unable to reach a consensus on a coalition to form a new government. Belgium broke the record for being a nation without a government for a consecutive period of time, clocking in at 541 days before a new Prime Minister was appointed in December 2011. It was a period of immense political and social tension for the people of Belgium—a country comprised mainly of two distinct cultural groups.

“The idea of a separation of the country was more present than ever,” Gerbehaye said. “Belgium is a state assembling two people which initially have nothing in common—they speak different languages, they do not have the same economy and vote in opposite ways.”

The Flemish-speaking north and French-speaking south largely keep to their separate sides, differentiated by a linguistic border that slices the country from east to west.

Seeing the issues he had spent so many years exploring abroad bubble to the surface at home, Gerbehaye set out to document these two communities and the friction that is created from people who separate themselves as distinct groups that gather together under the same flag. The resulting series — simply titled Belgium — digs into the tensions inherent in the mixing of these communities and to the new identities that emerge from such co-mingling. The first chapter of the work, which was completed during this spring and summer, was produced for the International Festival Photoreporter in Saint Brieuc and will be on view from Oct. 19 to Nov. 11.

Weaving together images of workers on the brink of losing their jobs with countrymen engaged in religious traditions, Gerbehaye sought to convey the social and political dynamics within the small nation’s borders. But Belgium also serves as an exploration of physical space, and the photographer zig-zagged the country in order to document steelworkers in the French-speaking region and fishermen in the Flemish-speaking north. For work grappling with what it means to be Belgian, viewing the country from its outer limits was key.  “For the fishermen, it was a way of speaking of a job that is disappearing now, but it’s also a way to give some limits to the work, to give a border,” Gerbehaye said. “They are in the sea, at the border of the country, on the coast of the country.”

Gerbehaye does not attempt to make a definitive comparison of his country’s two linguistic regions. Rather, he seeks through his photos of Catholic devotees, night revelers, and farmers — ordinary Belgians living their everyday lives — to create a “partial and personal inventory of the human territory.”

 Cédric Gerbehaye is a photographer with VU. LightBox previously featured Gerbehaye’s photographs of Birth and Death in Sudan.

Steve Davis, Old Pacific Highway

Steve Davis, Old Pacific Highway

Steve Davis

Old Pacific Highway,
Near Castle Rock, Washington, 2008
Website – SteveDavisPhotography.com

Steve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer. His work is in many collections, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Musee de la Photographie in Belgium. He is a former first place recipient of CENTER's Project Competition Award, and has received two Washington Arts Commission/Artist Trust Fellowships. He is represented by the James Harris Gallery, Seattle.

Steve Davis, Richard & Ron

Steve Davis, Richard & Ron

Steve Davis

Richard & Ron,
Buckley, Washington, 2006
Website – SteveDavisPhotography.com

Steve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer. His work is in many collections, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Musee de la Photographie in Belgium. He is a former first place recipient of CENTER's Project Competition Award, and has received two Washington Arts Commission/Artist Trust Fellowships. He is represented by the James Harris Gallery, Seattle.

Photographer #439: Colin Delfosse

Colin Delfosse, 1981, Belgium, is a documentary photographer who studied Journalism. Together with three other photographers he founded the Out of Focus collective in 2005. As a collective (5 photographers) they focus on social issues. One of his latest projects focuses on Kazakhstan where he concentrates on the Soviet legacy in the country, still visually present. In 2010 he portrayed a large number of Congolese wrestlers and the culture around it. This series won the PDN photo annual award in 2011. Colin has traveled extensively for his strong and intimate projects. He has been to countries as China, Mali and Iraqi Kurdistan where he documented the movement of the Free Women of Kurdistan movement. Colin’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Le Monde and The International Herald Tribune to name a few. The following images come from the series Polygon – Soviet Legacy in Kazakhstan, part I, Congolese Wrestlers and The PKK Amazons.


Website: www.outoffocus.be

Pictures of the Week, December 9 – December 16

From a shooting in Belgium and Congo protests to the lunar eclipse, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Photographer #382: Cédric Gerbehaye

Cédric Gerbehaye, 1977, Belgium, was trained as a journalist who chose photography as his medium to tell his stories. In 2002 he started to follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a long-term project. He created several bodies of work in the conflict area about Hebron, Gaza and on the economic crisis in Israel, showing that a large number of Israelis today live below the poverty line due to war and the fact that the occupation of Palestinian territories costs a lot of money to the Israeli government who are therefore spending much less on social programs. Since 2007 he has been focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is where he created the images for his book Congo in Limbo, telling the story of the armed conflict that killed nearly four million people. In the eastern regions of Congo, filled with mineral resources, the situation is still very tense. One of his latest series is Land of Cush. He went to the Nuba Mounts, to the north of the demarcation line that now separates the South Sudan state and Sudan. The inhabitants, who used to fight with the southern separatists soldiers for 20 years, are now victims of aerial bombardments from the Khartoum regime as retaliation. The following images come from the stories Land of Cush – South Sudan, Congo in Limbo and Gaza: Summer Rains.

Direct link to Cedric’s work: www.agencevu.com

Photographer #350: Jessica Hilltout

Jessica Hilltout, 1977, Belgium, is a documentary photographer who studied at the Art College in Blackpool, England. She has completed various overland travels for her photography. One of the first trips which resulted in the series Faces and Places was from Brussels to Mongolia and home via Africa (80.000km) in an old Jeep. In 2008 she started the project called AMEN. She visiting countries as Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Benin, Malawi and Ghana amongst others. She wanted to take a different look at the meaning of football to this continent and capture the soul of African football. She focused on the players and their clothing, their self-made balls and the improvised goals. Along with her rolls of film she also took new footballs with her to exchange with their self-made balls. She self-published the project as a coffee table book in 2010 and exhibited the series in South Africa and Belgium. The following images come from the series AMEN, Imperfection and Faces.

Website: www.jessicahilltout.com & www.jessicahilltout.com/amen

Photographer #340: Xavier Delory

Xavier Delory, 1973, Belgium, is a conceptual photographer with a focus on architecture. He studied Interior Architecture, Computer Graphics / 3D and Photography. He is currently working on his series Formes Urbaines. He studies the recurrent characteristics of modern cities, with Brussels as his first field of research. The series consists of three chapters, Bare d’ilôt, Dom-ino and Façade Libre. In his series Fermé le Dimanche he questions whether commercial centres are the new temples of our society. He combined religious architectural forms with supermarkets and other stores. In Habitat he focused on the recognizable style of Belgian houses which he uses to explore the concept of protection. By eliminating windows, doors and any other openings in usual houses he pushes this to its extremes. Xavier has exhibited his work on numerous occasions throughout Belgium and France. The following images come from the series Formes Urbaines (Dom-ino), Fermé le Dimanche and Habitat.

Website: www.xavierdelory.be