in the Category: art

Loving photo books and short stories

Belgian photographer Joselito Verschaeve prefers to assemble his photographs in books. Through carefully selected sequences, he manages to orchestrate elusive rhythms alongside subtle hints of the story he might be telling. Initially, the black-and-white images may appear extreme. Yet, once your eyes have adjusted, a range of nuances unfold, and you notice that it is really the space in-between that tells all. We took this New Master with us to reflect on Braeckman, Fieret, Kooiker and Štrba at Be-Part in Waregem.

Interview by Elise Dupré
Photos shot in Waregem by Lars Duchateau

What did you think of the exhibition?

I liked it. The four photographers included are clearly all photographer-collectors, working with sizeable archives of material.

 

Would you say you’re a photographer-collector yourself?

I am not a materialist, but I am a collector when it comes to images. I was triggered by photography for the first time when I realised that I could construct narratives with just a handful of images. That is still my methodology. I like to constantly shuffle my images into new narratives. In that sense, I’m longing to grow old, because I’ll have more images to play around with by then.

I’m longing to grow old, because I’ll have more images to play around with

You harbour a particular fondness for photo books, which is similar to Paul Kooiker’s approach. Were you always interested in the book form? 
 

My fascination for books started when I began studying photography. In my work, I am very focused on books, constantly thinking about what image could fit on the next page. I started reading a lot when I started at KASK as well – much more than I previously did.

What are you reading? 

I love reading short stories. I am currently reading Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino, a story in which Palomar goes to the seaside and tries to see a wave from its beginning to its end. The fact that Calvino writes about such a specific action fascinates me. I think I try to focus on seemingly banal instances as well, which resonates with the photographers’ approaches in the exhibition at Be-Part.

I don’t think images are ‘used up’ once you’ve used them in a book

How does your constant shuffling of images relate to your love for the book, a form that is final?

Kooiker employs a similar methodology. If I remember correctly, he uses the same images in different books. I don’t think images are ‘used up’ once you’ve used them in a book.

 

Your focus on books could also suggest an inclination towards narrative in your work… 

I’m rather thinking about themes than constructing a story when I work. And I never pronounce the narrative myself; that’s something that is entirely in the viewer’s hands, not in mine.

In retrospect, I realise that the images remind me of my own recollections – as if they are gateways to my memories

How much of yourself is reflected in these images?

A lot. Sometimes I notice that it’s difficult for me to pinpoint what some of my images represent. In retrospect, I realise that they remind me of my own recollections – as if they are gateways to my memories – even though they were shot in an entirely different context or place. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I think there’s more going on than I can put into words.

Braeckman | Fieret | Kooiker | Štrba at BE PART Waregem
Until 30 May
be-part.be
@joselitoverschaeve