Living room live

Imagine having a group of world-class musicians playing in your living-room for a whole Sunday afternoon.

Each year, Brussels-based world music promoter Muziekpublique takes ten acts 'on the road' in a different city district. This year, it was the turn of the Solvay quarter of Ixelles, my own commune. I managed to catch half-hour concerts by five acts, three of which included a dancer.

The gigs I saw included classical Indian song and dance, a Syrian whirling dervish, Brazilian 'choro', flamenco guitar, and traditional Congolese dance. Each would have been spell-binding in a theatre. But in an ordinary living-room, with the artists literally within touching distance, they were extraordinary. 

Photographing the concerts, I tried to capture the atmosphere of the different homes that provided their settings, and the interactions between the performers and the audiences. 

They spelt my name wrong and didn't link to my site, but hey! I'm famous in Colombia

I received a nice message this week from the manager of a Colombian group – Totó la Momposina y Sus Tambores – whose concert at Muziekpublique I covered at the end of May. John had spotted an article in a Colombian online news source which used a couple of my images.

 Screenshot of the article with a mistake in the photo credit

I am generally very happy to share my photos with almost anyone. I just ask that when images are republished they are accompanied by a proper photo credit and a link to this website. Noisey/Vice did not manage this. There is no copyright symbol, no link, and my name is spelled wrong.

On the positive side, I'm pleased that the article gave John a reason to get in touch. I hope we'll meet again next time the band is in Brussels.

Photographing families – beyond the studio portrait

Last weekend I photographed a young family in their home just outside Brussels. It was the second time in a week that a client had told me: "We want something less formal, more spontaneous."

I had a great time, chatting with the parents, sitting on the floor with the children (aged three and one), and getting really close as they became absorbed in a story or a game. I started shooting the moment I arrived, and in the two hours I was there I don't think I even asked for a head to be turned more than two or three times.

A tripod or a flash would have made it much harder to get the children – and perhaps the parents, too – to relax and be themselves. So I was pleased that there was midday light pouring in through a big picture window. I shot fairly wide open in order to separate my subjects from the background clutter of furniture and toys. But despite that, I had to compromise with shutter speed and ISO, except for the 15 minutes when we went out into the garden.

 young Belgian couple at home

Technically, the resulting images are not as perfect as those that a studio photographer would have produced. But nor are they stiff or stilted. They capture the personalities of four members of a family on a particular day in the winter of 2017, enjoying one another's company in their own environment. That is, after all, what my clients wanted. And they are super happy with the results.

I'm not posting any images of the children here, because the parents specifically asked me not to publish these online.