Contextual research / by Lasma Poisa

Bieke Depoorter I am About to Call it a Day

'Bieke Depoorter traveled to the United States, spending the night at the homes ofperfect strangers, whose paths she crossed upon her wanderings. However, as we leaf through the book, it would hardly cross our minds that these people ever had Bieke’s company. They seem utterly oblivious, about to call it a day, as if the photographer has managed to make herself unseen, leaving only her eye behind. In reality, she won their hearts by candidly admitting to her own vulnerability. In turn, they confided in her, and so we watch these fleeting figures forever waving to us, signaling that they are still here, living their lives despite the strife and struggle.'  Text by Maarten Dings 

I discovered Bieke's work a few years ago in a small photography festival in Bruges and loved it immediately. Her name came up as a reference during the Falmouth f2f event in terms of portraiture and photographing strangers. Her photographs are truly striking and somehow feel very intimate and honest. I also think that her own vulnerability comes across in this body of work, which adds another layer to the reading. 

During my MA studies I have become very interested in photographing strangers, a subject that has always intrigued me, yet I always found myself too cowardly to actually do it. Not being able to travel to continue to photograph my family, I was forced to make work in Manchester where I knew very few people. By approaching and photographing strangers over and over again, I have become very comfortable with the dynamic between myself and my sitters. That is probably one of the most valuable things I have learned so far. Yet I would not be so brave to go as far as Bieke Depoorter.