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Charleroi Museum of Photography : NOOR – 18th national competition Photographie Ouverte – Aurore Dal Mas – Galerie du Soir


After a successful exhibition on the world of Witkin, the images from NOOR bring us face to face with reality. In addition, the winners of the 18th national competition PHOTOGRAPHIE OUVERTE are presented,  a film project of Aurore Dal Mas (1981) is also shown, and finally, a nostalgic tour is undertaken with the youth competitions near the seaside of the newspaper Le Soir.

18th national competition PHOTOGRAPHIE OUVERTE

The national “Open Photography” competition is now in its 18th edition. The photo competition is called “open”, which means that there are no restrictions on the participants (e.g. age, background, origin) and no subject matter is imposed. As the organisers rightly point out, the lack of guidelines can be confusing.

At least this had no effect on the field of participants: more than 403 candidates send in their applications, the highest number ever. The jury evaluated the anonymous entries and finally selected the following eleven winners, some of whom also received a special award:

  • Héloïse Berns (Fotografie Circuit Vlaanderen Award)
  • Collectif Huma (Johanna de Tessières, Virginie Nguyen Hoang, Frédéric Pauwels and four journalists, Laure Derenne, Aurelie Moreau, Valentine Van Vyve and Sabine Verhest) (Roger Anthoine Photography Award)
  • Paul D’Haese (Minister of Culture Award)
  • Sebastiaan Franco (Nikon BeLux Award)
  • Arnold Grojean (National Open Photography Prize & RTBF Award)
  • Maël G. Lagadec (SOFAM Award)
  • Anne Marquet (Award of Le Soir)
  • Sebastian Steveniers
  • Jef Van den Bossche
  • Sébastien Van Malleghem
  • Pierre Vanneste (Vedi Award)

The National Open Photography Competition was founded in 1979 by Georges Vercheval with Pierre d’Harville, Franco Meraglia, Charles De Rouck and Robert Rousseau and was organised regularly until its 16th edition in 2010. For budgetary reasons, the initiative was not revived until 2018. However, the impact of the initiative is undeniable and the list of winners from previous editions is quite impressive: Colin Delfosse, Max Pinckers, Sanne De Wilde, Anne Sophie Costenoble, Simon Vansteenwinckel and Marina Cox, to name but a few.

This list is bound to grow, as the new winners are once again showing exciting and diverse works.  A photograph of each winner ,and a short commentary on some of the winning series are presented.

The Huma Collective is making a reportage on the relationship of women with football – something that makes some of the male football amateurs smile. The collective shows women not only as supporters, but also as athletes. We see football clubs and football fields as places of change and emancipation in Belgium, Palestine, Benin and Argentina, to name but a few. Strong images with a lot of empathy, that document and promote social change.

Sebastiaan Franco (1992) lived with the Traveller community in Ireland for two years. Since 1966, this nomadic group with its own language has been forced to settle down for at least part of the year. The images show the struggle to preserve their own culture, but also poverty, alcoholism and drug addiction.

Maël G. Lagadec (1984) is the author of a most extraordinary project. In 1986, when he was two years old, his parents divorced and he lost all contact with his father. In 2017, he had to pass on the news of his mother’s death to his alienated father, and he receives from him a USB stick with pictures from the summer of 1986. When his father innocently asked him “if he could separate the images” he realised that this is not what he wanted, literally or figuratively.

Sébastien Steveniers (1982) documents the Bosfights. Hooliganism may have disappeared from the stadiums, but the culture of violence is still present. The hard core of football clubs challenge each other to fights in remote locations with clear rules. The images are raw and strong, and give a glimpse of a brutal world. But that’s not all: in the same week that he received his award, the author was convicted by the Antwerp court. The court found that the photographer had participated in the organisation of the fighting. His images were seized, and to this day he has not been able to get them back. Of course, he has appealed, but in any case, this verdict is an attack on the status and independence of the photojournalist.

Pierre Vanneste (1988) lives between Brussels, Belgium and Senegal. For the Dremwell project he followed fishermen between Brittany, the Atlantic Ocean and Senegal for four years. At first sight, it is a penetrating reportage with strong images of the great differences between production methods (e.g. steel trawlers versus wooden canoes), but under the skin, it is also a reflection on the exponential growth of the world’s population, the human needs that this entails. The Dremmwell project is certainly one of the exhibition’s highlights.

The work of Arnold Grojean & Paul D’Haese are treated separately .

The exhibition and the competition are accompanied by a beautiful publication with images of the winners, but also present the works of Louise Bossut, Pierre Carette, Sébastien Fayard, Alexis Gicart, Brigitte Grignet, Adina Ionescu, Frédéric Pauwels, Fab Rideti, Maïté Skirole, Florine Thiebaud and Jan Vanhulle. 116 pages in full-colour for the price of 10 €, it could not be cheaper! You will find ordering information at the foot of this article.

Their works can be seen until September 19th in the Photography Museum of Charleroi


.    – NOOR / PULSE


Nina Berman (USA), Pep Bonet (Spain), Andrea Bruce (USA), Sanne de Wilde (Belgium), Alixandra Fazzina (UK), Stanley Greene (USA), Tanya Habjouqa (USA & Jordan), Yuri Kozyrev (Russia), Olga Kravets (Russia), Bénédicte Kurzen (France), Sebastián Liste (Spain), Jon Lowenstein (USA), Kadir van Lohuizen (The Netherlands), Francesco Zizola (Italy).

The NOOR/PULSE exhibition at the Museum of Photography in Charleroi is an original idea developed by NOOR and the Museum.

The NOOR/PULSE exhibition highlights the essence of the collective’s DNA:

  • long-term projects;
  • the issue of migration crises and conflicts;
  • political and climate issues.

Through a thematic tour, the visitors discover various series of the 14 NOOR photographers. Individual and collective works rub shoulders in a broad fresco of our recent history. The diversity of the subjects corresponds to the international character of the members of the collective. Exploiting all the possibilities of the images, the photographers have also been developing, for many years, a video language that can also be seen with the exhibition.

Seeking to understand in depth the underlying issues of current affairs, keeping the living and the human at the centre of their questioning, denouncing in order to act in the face of injustice, these are some of the paths taken by NOOR. The exhibition offers an overview of the photographic work, keeping in mind one of the fundamental ideas inscribed in the Manifesto of its foundation as formulated by Stanley Greene. : “some things simply need to be seen”…

Unfortunately, only four illustrations have been made available – 4 for 14 reputed photographers who all have their own stories to tell, as you can see in the exhibition. Subscribers of the L’Œil de la Photographie who wish to read up on the subject before visiting the exhibition will find below a selection of articles already devoted to NOOR photographers.

This initiative of the Museum of Photography gives an insight into the themes, commitment and empathy of NOOR’s photographers, and is well worth a visit.

Galerie du Soir : Through the Archives: Sandcastle building Contest

To conclude, a nostalgic look in the archives of Le Soir. From 1923 to 1979, this newspaper ran an animation campaign on the Belgian coast, with a Sandcastle Building Contest from 1928 onwards.

A competition was organised in each seaside resort, with teams of children raising their dam, their castle. The rising water would relentlessly swallow up the architectural exploits. The winners were those who built the sandcastle that lasted the longest, but that couldn’t spoil the fun, because in the end everyone went home with a prize. Rest assured that the next day the young dam builders were back at it again, consider this the testimony of a participant.

The laureates of the 18th National Competition PHOTOGRAPHIE OUVERTE in the Eye of Photography

Collectif Huma

Paul D’Haese

Sebastien Van Malleghem

Pierre Vanneste

NOOR in the Eye of Photography

Nina Berman

Pep Bonet


Andrea Bruce

Sanne de Wilde

Alixandra Fazzina

Stanley Greene



Tanya Habjouqa

Yuri Kozyrev


Olga Kravets


Bénédicte Kurzen


Sebastián Liste


Kadir van Lohuizen

Francesco Zizola


The publication

18e Prix National Photographie Ouverte, Christelle Rousseau (Introduction), 118p, €10, ISBN 978-2-87183-082-5
can be ordered through the Museum in Charleroi


Practical information

Exhibitions open till 19th September

Museum of Photography
Center of Contemporary Art of the Walloon – Brussels Federation

11, av. Paul Pastur (GPS : Place des Essarts)
B-6032 Charleroi (Mont-sur-Marchienne)
T +32 (0)71 43.58.10.
F +32 (0)71 36.46.45
[email protected]

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18.
Access to the Museum is subject to a reservation via


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