When Daniel Brunemer arrived in Brussels in 1975 to start his photography course at the “Le 75” art college, his camera gave him a sort of free pass or pretext to open doors and photograph the city at night. His series entitled “Quartier Nord” (the city’s red-light district around the Gare du Nord) was deemed too shocking and was censored, despite his claim that his intention had not been to shock,
nor to provoke, but rather to convey the rather “romantic” view of life people of his age then had, and to get to know the women and transsexuals “who were doing a difficult job”.
Having been spotted and driven away from photographing prostitutes in the “vitrines”, he took refuge in the alcoves of strip-tease nightclubs, photographing the hostesses while they were waiting for, or serving, clients… then he moved on to the private gay or lesbian nightclubs in the district around the Stock Exchange.
His next project was to meet couples by answering advertisements in the magazine «Contact International», which led to his “Pornographic” series of photos, which was much more sexually explicit. The photos have a voyeuristic quality which he finds ironic and sometimes cynical: they were taken from a very direct point of view using a flash. This series remains his favourite.
From 1988 onwards, he started creating photographic portraits, that are also nude studies, in his home, all with the same background, with his models noticeably adopting the same pose, using the same angle, the same focal length (35mm, 28mm or 21 mm) and natural light. In parallel, he also embarked on a series of landscape studies (in particular his “Little Streams” series) and more intimate and tender family and holiday photos.
In 2004, fed up with traditional black-and-white photography and the hours spent cooped up in his darkroom developing the prints, he decided to put aside his traditional camera for good and to start using a digital camera instead. Digital technology allowed him to take colour photos and led to his series “Diary 2005-2013”, “Houbi-Houbi Facebook Family Album” and “Holiday Diary”.
Daniel Brunemer has been a Lecturer in Photographic History, Aesthetics and Studio Technique at the St Luke’s Tournai art college at Ramegnies-Chin in Belgium since 1979.
Contretype, Contemporary photography centre
4A Cité Fontainas, 1060 Bruxelles, Belgium
September 13, 2017 to November 05, 2017