The heart of Europe through the eyes of photographer
I came across Gert Verbelen project thanks to S4C Brussels and a serendipitous chain of events.
He's a very talented and young belgian Photographer who lately completed his first important visual project ‘The Inner Circle of Europe’.
Gert travelled to all eighteen countries of the Eurozone.
He visited the exact centre of each of these countries, where he spent a week photographing daily life.
In almost every case, his journey took him to areas marked by poverty and isolation.
Europe is very clearly not just the familiar institutions or a collection of destinations for our city breaks. Europe is also godforsaken villages where not a single young person lives anymore because there is no work.
Gert's photo documentary conveys a great sense of sadness and loneliness. At the same time, it reveals the strength of small communities and the strong bond with locality, the home, the kitchen, the living room, the chair in front of the TV.
These little rooms are treasure houses and true worlds in miniature. Every detail tells its own story.
Over the period of a year, I visited the eighteen countries of the Eurozone. I steered clear of their major cities, and was not looking for photogenic sites. I was anything but a tourist. My destination was the centre point of the smallest circle that could be drawn around each country on the map. For a week I went round and round in that little circle, immersing myself in everyday life, walking up and down the same streets, letting people and the environment come to me. And the other way round - going out to the people and their environment.
Usually I ended up in an almost forgotten village. Geographically diverse, but always emotionally recognizable. I started chatting with the locals, often in sign language. Sometimes they invited me in and I joined them at table. The camera around my neck and the fact of travelling alone aroused both curiosity and suspicion. Day after day, I captured images of the stories I found there.
Look closely, I have learned, and you will find stories everywhere.
We all have been intrigued by his work and we are sure he will tremendously contribute to S4C mission to raise awareness on local stories of resilience around Europe and the World.
You can buy his book clicking here.
Here's a small selection of the inner circle of Europe, our home.