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Sunflowers and My Castles

These two series have been made with the pinhole technique, which uses the traditional photographic process, in my case, a simple box with a hole large as a pin's diameter.

My meeting with the pinhole coincided with that of a place called Germoir. At the time, I used to haunt places like abandoned military buildings. These run-down buildings, typical of Brussel's heavy 19th century archictecture, fascinated me in many ways. First, their imposing mass recalled the image of the castle, particularly of the old and high dwelling place lost in wild vegetation, forgotten by men and their swarming activities, an image that constantly occupied my imagination since childhood. An additional point of fascination was the majestic power of the nature that had taken back that which had been abandonned by human beings. Its splendour all the more glorious because of its long duration. Nevertheless, this fabulous world seemed to lose all its importance as soon as I tried to capture it with a conventional camera. How to attempt to take hold of the soul of a place where time is no longer of any importance, in such an infinitesimally short time, 1/500 of a second? In my opinion, only the pinhole can manage to do it, thanks to very long exposure (from a few hours to three weeks). The pinhole gives back the rough material, the organic texture, transcending the uselessness and revealing the imperceptible; the tortuous inhabitants of the border of fallen leaves, the fainted shadows from the half-opened windows, and even the winter race of the solar star … 
Moreover the pinhole implies ritual. At regular intervals, according to the whim of the weather, I went to these deserted places, with my boxes, to deposit some and to remove those which served their time. Throughout an entire year, throughout the four seasons. Ants' work, reiterated distances covered. This was the rhythm that would establish the basis for my future work. I don't consider myself a photographer in the sense that I have an acute gaze on the surrounding reality. I use reality by wringing it out from its underlying substance which I take pleasure in seeing (re)appear. I just "make" pictures, in the literal sense of "to make". The work is long and laborious in the dark room, sometimes resembling a choreography where each gesture is measured in space and in time, reproducing with difficulty the identical. Each print is unique. Since that initial encounter, I mainly work with the pinhole technique, the only one to translate these fragile worlds which exist only for those who can see them.




The Széchenyi Baths

Budapest's baths. Place of daily visits, pleasure and regeneration. The Széchenyi Baths in wintertime. Subject for a pinhole project. I chose a more or less conventional camera due to material conditions. Human beings appear between two waves, their shadows devoured by the mistress mists. In frequenting places, we cling to them and are thereby joined to them. An emotional link develops and with it the the will to give back to the place a poetic, strange dimension that alters, truncates and leaves behind its original utility.

I would like to thank for the precious help : Tom Popper, Tania Decousser, Jodi Greenberg and Hughes Reiter.