You use polaroid and instant films a lot, why is that?
They keep me interested. After all these years Polaroids keep surprising me. As I mostly work with long expired film and old crooked gear, almost anything can go wrong. I’m not in control. I fight the material. I plan and direct but the decayed chemistry and off-focus lenses add their magic. All by themselves. Or they ruin my image. This battle attracts me as much as it frustrates me. I love to create within these limitations, to try to produce the best possible image within the narrow circumstances given. Luckily, I am a sucker for imperfections.
Do you work with people you know or with strangers mostly and why?
I do both. In my work for the printed press, magazines and newspapers, I am often commissioned to portray strangers. Which I find interesting, each new encounter brings along new insights and energy. But for my free work I quite often end up working with friends or even family. Not only because they are nearby and easy to abuse, but more importantly because I love working with people I love. I consider it to be quality time. Another aspect is that I don’t look for perfect beauty in people, as in fashion industry standards, but for authentic people. Not their silicon rip-offs.
What are your inspirations?
Anything of beauty is. Shapes, sounds, lyrics, old drawings, colours, patterns, situations. I hunt for beauty, humor and sensuality.
Are you working on something right now?
Oh yes. I’m preparing a solo-exhibition in April next. A sequel on my series of Odd Stories, which have been published in the Flemish bible of contemporary photography Snoecks, edition 2013. With my Odd Stories I present scenes without educational value. I interpret old collected drawings or make imaginative arrangements of amassed impressions that, once staged and shot, result in a totally different narration. Almost like weird covers on Polaroid. Or else just made up. A series of fourteen images. Cute. And I dare say sensual. I am also working on my second graphic photonovel, based on a story by Alice Munro.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I photograph. Meet friends. I travel. Read. Spend time with my family. Watch HBO series. I sleep. Think. Sometimes I cook for my beloved.
If you could make a short movie, what would it be like?
I can’t think in moving images. I lack that quality. It goes too fast.
Interview by Emma Elina Keira Jones
All photos by Carmen De Vos