From an international photo historical point of view the Belgian lands – the Dutch speaking Flanders, the French speaking Wallonia and the German speaking East Cantons – are relatively insignificant. A small country – divided by three languages and overshadowed by Brussels – its capital (and now also seat of the EU government . . . ) – it seems quite a cultural nightmare.
The “Photobook Belge 1854 – now” will change all that.
Under the stewardship of Tamara Berghmans and based on years of extensive research by the FOMU-Fotomuseum in Antwerp and the renown contributors Pool Andries, Jan Baetens, Sandrine Colard, Emmanuel d’Autreppe, Johan De Vos, Steven F. Joseph, Johan Pas and Stefan Vanthuyne – a selection of nearly 250 important works are documented and illustrated in this historical record – spanning the years 1854 until today. An amazing, breathtaking – and very significant compilation.
This publication does not present books as a market-driven “Best of . . . “ – but it will be one of the most important teaching tools on Belgian photographic history – and the many fields of social and civic documentation, art, science, propaganda, fashion, advertising – as well as a specific Belgian aspect – that of colonial rule. It will also – and certainly – change the appreciation of many of the photographer’s work included here – and their contributions to our field.
I am very pleased to have been able to see a first proof of this most comprehended publication on Belgian’s published photographic history – and have to admit: I had no idea how well the photographic work represented in the nearly 250 publications presented in Photobook Belge – are equally pared with those publications of other European countries – that I have researched and published during the last 15 years.
(Designer, curator, and expert on and collector of photographs and photobooks, USA)