Elizabeth Krist, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic, and the…
Each week we’ll feature one photographer from the PhotoShelter community, and share his or her story behind the shots that caught our eye.
- Photographer: Christophe Vander Eecken
- Specialty: Photojournalism
- Current Location: Ghent, Belgium
- Clients: National Geographic Traveler, Bonnier, Besix, Taminco
- PhotoShelter Website: christophevde.photoshelter.com
The Shots & Story:
While out on assignment, Christophe Vander Eecken began to question what makes a country, place, and world recognizable. Christophe wanted to explore the idea of capturing a sliver of a place’s identity within one single shot. From these explorations he created Fragmentary World, a series of photographs he refers to as “snapshots that tell you something about how I look at the world, and questions the identities and stereotypes of these places.”
Christophe shot this first image while on assignment to shoot a wedding. “The client asked me to go to Egypt and shoot his wedding ceremony, but for a certain chapter in his [wedding] book he wanted me to cover the atmosphere on the streets of Cairo,” explains Christophe. The details in this photograph – from the color to the chipped paint and loose electrical wires – are what made Christophe add it to the series. “For me this fragment illustrates a little bit about the conditions in Cairo.” he says.
Christophe chose to include this second shot in the series for its sheer mystery – the image depicts a market in Mexico City. “Something is happening, but one doesn’t know what exactly. But you can breathe Mexico in this fragmentary picture.”
This young boy playing with two cymbals in his hands was snapped in China just before Christmas outside of a tourist hotel. Looking back on the photograph he reflects “Somebody told me once that all good pictures might carry a self-portrait within.”
For the final shot, Christophe was intrigued by the idea of portraying the Pyramid of Giza in a way that rooted it in its true place. “I see the romantic postcards of World Wonders such as the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, or The Pyramids, but the reality however is always different than the monument at sunset,” he says. “In this case I wanted to portray an image of the economy and local people who live from the flow of tourists around it.”
What caught our eye:
Christophe’s images take a step back and focus on the typically unseen. He makes conscious decisions to block out faces and crop the top of key elements, yet the viewer is still given just enough clues to place the photograph and complete the story. The entire series in its whole defines Christophe’s place within the world, and allows us to question our own.
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