a FILM BY

TOM WILLEMS (DIRECTION)

HEIDI PETRE (CONTENT)

GEERT VERSTRAETE (CAMERA)

It was photography or architecture. Photography became my choice of study and architecture in photography became my work. I love straight lines. Shadow and light and what they can do to an image.

I was obsessed, as a child, with a pocket camera I found in my parents' cupboard. Such an old thing, with a flash you had to replace the bulbs in every time you took a photo. Later, when I was 14, I got a second-hand camera and a hefty dose of passion on top. I didn't understand the kit, but I took photos of everything I saw. My dad, standing chatting to a neighbour: click. I was only interested in framing and focussing. The subject matter was incidental. After my studies, architecture became a constant presence in my images. As subject matter yes, but also as style. That's how it had to be.

My work evolved when we moved house to aNTWERP. I worked out my architectural style in still life works, into personal compositions that were an extension of my love for architecture. Yet again, these straight lines, shadow and light, soft colours that merged in their complementarity. Micro-architecture that tended towards painting. People sometimes called them miniature paintings. This was a compliment, as I really wished I could paint. Painting inspires me. And frustrates me. This is why I try to get close to it in my photography. I want to reach down to the essence in my compositions and still life work. Saying as much as possible by showing as little as possible. Aesthetic abstraction. Perhaps I glorify things a bit by doing this, present them as being bit more attractive than they actually are. But I'm not aware of doing this.

I work in a really controlled way. Weighing and balancing until my image finds its equilibrium. This singles me out as a photographer. But not as a human being. Because, in my mind, I'm a scatterbrain. This is why I love still life. In my head as well as in my images. Stillness is important for working efficiently. That perfect balance between stillness and noise, that's what I'm after.

Perhaps I underestimate this constant inspiration. I'm convinced that I'm getting inspiration from things and people all the time, without realising it. Except when I pick up my camera. Then I use everything that I've subconsciously soaked up beforehand.

I have a healthy envy of photographers who do what I don't do. They inspire me because they're different from me. Because they do things that I'd like to be able to do. Some photographers tell the most wonderful stories with portraits. I tend more to tell a story about someone by using the setting in which I photograph that person. This abstraction and form has to be there, and I get less of it from portraits of people. Saul Leiter, for instance, can do things I can only dream of; maybe because he was also a painter. Photography and painting, hand-in-hand; that's what inspires me.

Inspiration is beauty for me. If there's beauty, then you can also provide some beauty in your image. 

WORDS BY HEIDI PETRE

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monography

index 2006-2016

uitgeverij luster (publisher)

WORDS BY JINA KHAYYER (English)

graphic design by sven beirnaert

20,5CM x 27,5cm

softcover

224 pages

ISBN 9789460581960

buy online

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Former projects include collaborations with magazines such as:

THE NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE / T MAGAZINE

Wall street journal magazine

M LE MAGAZINE DU MONDE

LE MONDE D'HERMèS

HOW TO SPEND IT

Wallpaper

surface

KINFOLK

DOCUMENT JOURNAL

Architectural Digest Germany

A MAGAZINE

the plant

L'OFFICIEL HOMMES paris

Christie's magazine

CASA VOGUE

Case da Abitare

Dwell

Elle Decoration

Ideat

domus

Frame

Mark

Some of his clients are:

hermès

DELVAUX

TIFFANY&CO

VALENTINO

RAF SIMONS

DIOR HOMME

TOMMY HILFIGER

UNIQLO

vincent van duysen

muller van severen

axel vervoordt

FLOS

VILLA EUGENIE

AIRBNB

Coca cola

pmi

SAMSONITE

KOMONO

ray ban

EASTPAK

ESSENTIEL antwerp

MARIE JO

KIPLING

ikea

CAPCO

Novy

RABOBANK

ENI

AKZO NOBEL

BRUSSELS AIRPORT

UNILIN

casalis

limited edition carpets

Graanmarkt 13

And many museums, publishers and architects

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Very special thanks to:

Lies Muys AND the whole initials la team

Karine quadriga and the whole quadriga team

Christian schütt and the whole Bird production team

STEVEN DECROOS

STEVEN LEDOUX

LOUIS-PHILIPPE BEAUDUIN

LIES VAN GEEL

deborah bloemen

BOB VERHELST

Dimitra Apostolidis

A big thank you to all the homeowners whose house I've had the pleasure to photograph, to all the writers, stylists, architects, designers, make-up artists, assistants, digital operators, models, producers, art directors who've ever been part of my team

And  to the publishers and all my clients: thank you for believing in me

And last but not least a big kiss to Lies, Estelle and Maurits