[Photographer, b. 1938, Antwerp, Belgium, d. 2012, Paris.]
My grandfather killed himself falling off the dike in Ostend while photographing my two cousins. This can happen so easily when looking through a lens: for a split second nothing else exists outside the frame.
A photograph is not necessarily a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It’s more like a fleeting, subjective impression.
What I like so much about photography is precisely the moment that cannot be anticipated; one must be constantly on the alert, ready to acclaim the unexpected.
I feel concerned by what happens in the world.... I don’t want to merely “document;” I want to know why a certain thing disturbs or attracts me and how a situation can affect the person involved.
Photography came as a substitute. I was painfully shy and found talking to people difficult; a camera in hand gave me a function, a reason to be somewhere, a witness, but not an actor.
The camera is in itself a frontier, a barrier of sorts that one is constantly breaking down so as to get closer to the subject. In doing so, you step over your limits; there is a sense of daring, of going beyond, of being rude, of wanting to be invisible. To cross on to the other side, you can only get there by momentarily forgetting yourself, by being receptive to others; hence, as a photographer, I am in two different worlds at once. That is all I can really say about what I feel when photographing—the rest remains in the domain of the unconscious. Transgression is the word I have been searching for all along.