Brussels Terror alert weekend

This was a crazy week. For the entire (Western) world but also for me as a photographer. I was asked to go to Molenbeek about 10 times this week.

Nothing to photograph there but innocent, scary, angry or annoyed citizens. Photographing ‘nothing’ but buildings where terrorists lived, drank their tea, or where there parents live. And photographing other journalist at work.. Not much of a challenge for a photographer who wants to shoot something special, or change this world for the better…

And photographing in times can even mean risking your life?…So….

No, the weekend wasn’t much better. Photographing in a ‘locked out’ Brussels wasn’t much else then a normal weekend.

Because most of the Brussels’ Sundays are very quiet. Most diplomats don’t visit the city and stay at home or in their foreign hometown every weekend. In fact Brussels is just very busy during the work week, when hundred of thousands international andFlemish workers come to the capital and work.

Most weekends are quiet though not for shopping zones and night life. This weekend was a little different…

Military and police squads everywhere. It’s a strange contrast with the medieval city center, or a couple getting married last Saturday. Even (Boy Pee) Manneken Pis was being protected! And in fact it was one of the few places where more then 15 people gathered at the same time this weekend.

The picture of the marrying couple ended up being the most used by media, and that is a good thing. It has something positive, the bride looking up in the air. The most used picture is this one where she looks up.

Another picture I sold was made five years ago, when part of Brussels was called a no-go zone. In fact I had just arrived living in Brussels and I didn’t know much about this neighborhood and I was glad with the assignment.Schermafbeelding 2015-11-21 om 18.50.15

It’s a piece in De Standaard on the youth in these difficult neighborhoods, and the image illustrates the atmosphere a little dramatized. Though it’s not a positive image, this picture makes people read the article, and that’s exactly what strong photography should do..

Real ‘positive’ news could be mentioned as the fact that many people became nicer since the Paris Attacks. People greet each other, open doors, smile more, have eye contact more often. Though a lot of people feel depressed, another sentiment can be felt too. That of endurance, optimism, relativism.

I hope it works.


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