Flying High

Busy times, hence the small blog hiatus - but I'm quite excited about today's post! I spent a great few hours with Belgium's 'Modelplane flying' champion (I'm not entirely sure what the title should actually be... but you get the gist). Benoit Dierickx has been a pilot for the past thirty years but when he steps out of the cockpit he lives and breathes model airplanes and has done since he designed his first one at the age of 12 (pictured). He has added a large annex to his house which is crammed full of half built models of varying sizes, motors, wing parts, tools, saws, paint cans... has bought a van especially to transport them, competes across Europe most weekends and now coaches the future generations (he is particularly excited about an 11 year old who is the 'most talented' in his age group he has ever seen!). It all sounds a bit mad until you see him in action and then it somehow all makes sense:
 

The Very Centre of Belgium

I was driving home from a gig this morning when I spotted a tourist (brown background) sign for the 'geographical centre of Belgium' - thinking it might be fun to stand in the middle of a country, I followed the - very methodical - signposting to a small car park with a walking sign pointing down a small path. I followed this for a few hundred metres until it petered out and became a messy mudpit instead... The whole thing was slightly underwhelming! Lovely day though, and I can knock 'standing-in-the-middle-of-Belgium' off my bucket list (I'm making it up as I go along, it's more satisfying).

2012 it is

Happy new year! I hope it's a good one (and that the Mayas had it wrong). Back in comfy Brussels after a really nice xmas - I may have to stop wine and food in 2012 though!A selection of shots from the Lot et Garonne and Dordogne - everyone should visit (and when they do, stay at my parents B&B!). I also managed to catch up with François & Aurélie who were xmassing nearby... we picked a half way spot on the map and ended up in La Roche Chalais where the one restaurant will stuff you to the gills for 12 euros - what more could you ask for?

Seasons Greetings

I'm cruising down to the South West of France tomorrow to do the whole Christmas, family, overeating, under exercising, constant state of mild drunkenness thing... should be nice. I'll also be meeting my newest nephew for the first time (the one who waited for me to leave Madrid to be born, so I'm not sure he's quite as keen on meeting me come to think about it...).I won't be blogging while I'm down there but I will be shooting so I'll have a bunch of material for when I get back. I'm also going to post '11 from 2011' to kick off next year - I'm quite looking forward to selecting the best moments. It's been a pretty good year. In the meantime the weather has been pretty mild in Brussels but we did have one evening of proper snow... so that's my xmas card of sorts.

Transient

Working Hard

I like the style of these meeting shots from a gig last week. I wanted to make sure I grabbed some good portraits and edited them to look modern. I will try to blog more regularly in 2012 but I've been making a lot of changes to how I organise, store and edit images, all improvement I think so while I get to grips with all of that I'm holding off a little. You can check out the whole meeting set on flickr.

TEDx Brussels

It was pretty fun to shoot the TEDx event in Brussels last month - the theme was 'a day in the deep future' (as in 50 years from now, when I could possibly still be alive, how exhausting!). Thought provoking stuff about singularity, the future of health, cars, open source and so on. Standout moments: John Bohannon - Dance your PHD, Peter Hinssen - The tiger and the rock and Leila Janah - The microwork revolution. I finally got around to setting up a flickr account which may or may not be useful, I'll test it for a bit and find out - more TEDx shots over here.

Pink Ribbon

Breast cancer awareness month rolls around in October each year. Sanoma media, with it's numerous publications, reaches over 60% of the female readership in Belgium and the 'Pink Ribbon magazine' is distributed for free alongside all those publications in order to promote breast cancer awareness. This year, the Pink Ribbon team decided to build a website and keep the campaign rolling throughout the year. I was asked to set up a temporary studio at a recent event and add to the ongoing collection of such shots on the facebook page (you can even upload your own shot by downloading the cover art from the website).

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some faces

I took a little break after hitting the one year mark... a few weeks of leaving the house without feeling guilty if I didn't bring my camera, time to redo my website, make it simpler, faster and so on - mostly thanks to my brother, James (he makes really good music, you should buy some).  Anyway, it's not quite ready... still figuring out a good system for ordering prints - should take a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can always email me a request. The last month has been pretty busy, mostly client work - I'll post a small selection tomorrow, when I'll be fully done with my editing. For now, here are a few faces I've met this month.

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October 25 2011

Said goodbye to Tom & Maya off to work and nursery respectively. Quick coffee with Becs and then home to Brussels. About twenty minutes after landing, Tom called to say that Becs was in hospital ready to give birth - Typical! Brand new Leo was eventually born around 11pm and, despite his terrible sense of timing, I can't wait to meet him. Not sure how people manage with two babies though - Angie and me exhausted from a few days of just the one ball of concentrated energy.

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October 24 2011

Visited Tom's offices in the morning and took head shots of his team - paying for my keep. I got completely lost on the way back, wandering around in the pouring rain for a good hour cursing my useless sense of direction (I blame my genes). I ate a bacon sandwich when I finally made it back which starting the degrumping process - a process completed by a trip to the park with Angie and a happy little Maya. Nephew still refusing to be born.

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October 23 2011

Up early to catch the Rugby world cup final - bit of a rush trying to find somewhere with any place. Good game, not the ideal result but not too bad. Tapas lunch close to Tom & Bec's place; I could eat tapas for every meal. Not a lie. According to my wishful schedule Becs was supposed to give birth to my nephew this evening but he's being stubborn!

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October 21 2011

And warm Madrid it is. Visiting Tom, Becs & my little niece Maya who live conveniently close to the airport. I haven't seen Maya since last September so quite a change - she knows loads of words, understands pretty much everything, runs around like she's on a mission, laughs constantly  - very lovable. I didn't shoot anything in Madrid yet, so here's one from the am in Brussels.

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October 18 2011

Julie Annen is a playwright and director. Her latest piece focuses on fatherhood and is aptly named 'Les Pères'. After giving birth to her first child, she was immediately fascinated by her husband's approach to his new role and found herself wondering about the universality or not of fatherhood. Over the course of 5 years, she traveled the world, interviewing over 100 men. She recorded all these interviews and translated them into a 90minute play which you can check out at the Théâtre de Poche from the 8-26 November. Hearing her talk about it so passionately, I will definitely be going to see it. On a sort of similar note, welcome to the world to the Levina-Leon's second little boy!

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October 15 2011

Up early to catch some of the rugby semi final but ended up listening to most of it on the radio on the way to Paris (a tight, tense game + negotiating Paris traffic = not a very good combo). I headed to Noemi & Eliot's for a brief hello as they had stuff on in the pm and then off to lunch at Alex & Vanessa's, with Lisa. Spent the remainder of the afternoon in Parc Monceau with them, little Liorah and Mirna who joined us. Paris is still beautiful. Drove home in the dark; tired and solo, not much fun.

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