This is Sète in winter. Sète as a discovery in terra incognita for someone who has accustomed us, rather, to distant lands – Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan – with projects that depict worlds in crisis, victims of their history. Sète as a return to Europe, and to roots; Sète as a break in the work he has been engaged on back home in Belgium for the first time, having spent so long elsewhere.
No small talk, verbiage, vapidity; no temptation to narrate, or to explain. No road map. In other words, the converse of the major projects based on long investigations into socio-political issues, and the way history traverses the present. No, it's a question of gauging, seeing, making visible what has been observed, encountered, seen. Hoping that rigour will impose coherence on it all. Documenting in the true sense of the term, both accepting the impossibility of being "objective", or exhaustive, and affirming a wish to confront someone unknown, yet so close, along with those, unknown, who are nonetheless our contemporaries.
Strict portraits: those who stand in verticality like pillars along a route which, starting out in the direction of fishing and immigration, still awaits images. Because these are frank and direct, accepting the wager of proximity, forcing a confrontation that is as direct as it is devoid of animosity, exercising restraint as a mode of respect. Maintaining distance and letting the eye pass on, sustaining it close up, accepting it in the impeccable rectangle without disturbing or being disturbed; passing no judgement and indulging in no psychological readings or romanticism. Continuing to document: such is the intent.
(Extracts from the book Sète#13)