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Dirk Braeckman

An interview with Dirk Braeckman


“I prefer to keep the pictures apart and want to let them stand for themselves – even though there will of course always be a dialogue between the pieces. There is also book, something that is very important to me. It is not just a usual publication to accompany the exhibition. It includes about 350 images, many of which are published for the first time and in the book only – they don’t even exist as prints. It is a piece of art in itself – I see the book as an additional independent space to present my work.”

“My way of working is very impulsive. I never know what I want before I actually start shooting. I don’t arrange the setting. The golden thread running through my work is the autobiographical aspect – but not in an obvious way. It is autobiographical in the sense that I photograph things close to me, what is around me. And in the end it matters more in which way I print it and how I photograph something than what.”

“There is this one image though where I eliminate almost everything with the flash – all you see is structure. It’s probably my most secretive picture, the most intriguing, mysterious and abstract. I took it about six years ago and some people even considered it as the final point of my work and asked me: ‘What now?’ It is a very important picture for me.”

“(…) I delete all references to when and where the picture is taken. In a way I work against the medium and do the opposite of what photography is originally meant for. My goal is to make the viewer guess and wonder. I want the image to stand by itself – a story is not necessary. It could be taken anywhere. I don’t want to show a certain reality, rather a sensation. My pictures are very tactile, they become objects, like a painting – many viewers actually want to touch them.”

“No, they are all people I meet, some I know well, others just for one night. As I mentioned already, I never stage the setting, but I can still stir it into a certain direction if I want to. But the subjects of my pictures are not important. It is much more about an inner reality, my state of mind, a very personal perspective. Sometimes you don’t see the person on the picture, but they are in the room and you can feel their presence. I don’t want things to be too evident.”