performance photography

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.

Running around Brussels

Last weekend I covered a series of 'pop-up' concerts organised in the Parc Royale as part of the annual car-free Sunday (journée sans voiture). Another photographer was supposed to be there as well, but he didn't show up so in the end I covered all 12 concerts myself. Sometimes I had to run between the four stages, but I had a great time.

I was able to get really close to the musicians, and it was nice to shoot concerts in daylight for a change – for once, I could show musicians and audiences sharing the moment and the space together.

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During the afternoon I ran into a number of old friends as well as meeting plenty of people for the first time. Belgians know how to have a good time, and the atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and open. The beer flowed and there was an occasional whiff of grass, but I didn't notice anyone getting out of order. Between concerts, I especially enjoyed talking to (and taking pictures of) people looking at an exhibition of old black and white photographs of Brussels and Tournai set up across the park.

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Every year I am surprised by how clear the air is, how brilliant the light is, on Brussels' car-free Sunday. It's astonishing how cleanly and sharply one sees everything after just a few hours without the city's usual blanket of exhaust fumes. For a photographer, it is heaven.