What do you do with a dual family culture? Embark the women of your life in a VW camper and go immerse yourself in the heart of the wife’s Chilean roots. A whole year, to suspend one’s life to the road of the Andes, to capt the young girls laughter that clashed against the severity of the landscapes. Catching up with the past mystical beliefs to better live the future, is the initiatory journey of Simon Vansteenwinckel and his family, presented in black and white images. A book and an exhibition to see in Belgium.
“Carolina, my wife, was born in Valdivia, Chile. I am belgian. And we had three beautiful little girls together. Anna, Clara, and Elena. On September 2, 2014, we left for a five-year trip across the Andes, to meet the family of Carolina, who stayed behind, to show our daughters Chile, their half-country, to discover these people whom they know only from stories, to see and to look at this country coiled between Pacific and Cordillera, strewn with volcanoes, lagoons, torn between deserts and glaciers, nourished by the stories of their mother and their grandparents. […] » Simon Vansteenwinckel.
Why did you photograph your family trip?
Before the departure, I had as project to make a reportage / a documentary in parallel to our trip. I did a lot of research on different topics that interested me in Chile. Then, a photographer friend advised me to take care and enjoy the trip and my family. I thought about it and told myself that, finally, the subject of this reportage was to be our family, us. I would kill two birds with one stone and, above all, I could work every day of the trip.
What need did you want to answer?
I wanted to respond to this intense need to go out and see the world. Curiosity, then. But also, going to meet the family of Carolina, my wife, that our daughters did not know, and discover this unknown country that was part of them.
What did you “give up” to leave?
Not much, except for a few certainties.
A photo missed?
Very much. All the photos that were not taken are missed photos. But some missed pictures are etched in the memory. There are images that I have not been able to do for various reasons that I still see in my head today.
How to avoid regretting?
By doing things, simply, with humility and sincerity.
How to photograph the impalpable?
I think that everything is palpable. It all depends on who is watching.
The hardest part of the Nosotros adventure?
Undeniably, the return. The most difficult thing is to go home, see friends and family, and realize that nothing has really changed, while your mind is still bubbling with discoveries and encounters.
Why black and white?
Because the reality is in color and that to make photos to transcribe the reality does not interest me. Black and white interprets, sublimates the lights and moods and plunges us into an indefinite time. There are other ways to get to that, but I like the evocation, and also, the grain …
What compliment do you hope for?
The compliment that gives me the greatest pleasure is when people tell me they were moved, especially by the representation of the family, our family, which in my opinion is more important than the trip. It is the journey that brought us together but it is not the center of the subject.
What feeling dominates now?
Full satisfaction The book is for me the most beautiful finality of the photographic work and I hope that our girls will later plunge there with pleasure, to see in it the representation of what we lived together and of the love we had at this moment of our lives.
17 x 24 cm
Du 20 octobre au 10 novembre
L’image sans Nom
Place Vivegnis 6