performer

Qotob Trio

In May 2017, Bassel invited me to a concert the trio was going to give in the greenhouses of the commune of Schaerbeek, in Parc Josaphat.

At Bozar

At Bozar

In the studio

In the studio

I had originally met Bassel when he played a gig with another group at Muziekpublique. We got on well and he liked my photos, and later he asked me to shoot concerts at Bozar and Recyclart. Qotob Trio brings together Bassel's cello, the accordeon of Piet Maris and the piano of Jean-Baptiste Delneuville. I also spent a day shooting in the studio during the recording of the group's album, Entity.

The evening of the concert in Parc Jospahat, we took the opportunity to make some shots for the album booklet.

Manual focus

I was recently asked to shoot the rehearsal of a dance performance at La Raffinerie in Molenbeek (Brussels). The studio was windowless and the piece is choreographed – for three dancers, a musician and a reader – with almost no lighting except low spotlights of varying intensity on three sides. The Nikon D810's autofocus is supposed to be miraculous in low light, but in light that low it really didn't work at all. The dancers were in contuous movement and I couldn't afford to wait while my lens hunted up and down for something it could get a grip on, so I switched to manual.

I found it strangely liberating. Often, there was not even enough light for me to judge the focus in the viewfinder. But I was making choices, and sometimes I deliberately chose to soften the focus on what would normally be considered the subject. 

Muziekpublique

Muziekpublique organises a year-round series of 'world music' concerts in the centre of Brussels. Most take place in the Théâtre Molière, a small, traditional theatre hidden under an unpromising office block at Porte de Namur, just beside the Matonge district. Unusually, Muziekpublique is an entirely bilingual (Dutch/French) organisation. Perhaps for this reason it seems to embody what I think of as Brussels' real character – open and welcoming.

It is an enormous privilege to be able to meet and photograph top artists from around the world. When I can, I arrive at the theatre early enough to shoot during the sound check as well as at the concert itself. This enables me to get up on stage and work close to the musicians, with a much wider choice of angles. During the concert itself, I'm limited to the sides of the stage at the front of the auditorium, the balcony above, and the wings. 

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I've created a gallery of some of my favourite photos from live performances – many of them taken at Muziekpublique concerts. Take a look.