eurovision connections

Yves Barbieux is a passionate musician, he plays umpteen instruments and spends his days composing and working on all his various projects, the main one being 'Les Déménageurs', a music band/show for children which is hugely successful (tickets sell out within days!). Prior to that project, he set up Urban Trad which eurovision geeks may remember from the 2003 competition in Latvia, where they came second with 'Sanomi', sung in a completely invented language in order not to have to pick one of the three official Belgian ones! 

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Madame Pauline

A few kilometres along the Sambre river from Namur, in the Val St Georges, lives great grandmother Pauline Marchal.

Every Thursday she heads to the local nursery school to read stories to the children - her arrival greeted with excited calls of 'Mme Pauline'. Mme Pauline is a bit of a legend around these parts - other than reading to them, she babysits nightly, helps with homework, looks after them when they are ill and dresses up as St Nicolas once a year. The walls of her home are pasted with photographs of hundreds of smiley young faces - she refers to them all as her grandchildren. She tells me proudly of one woman who has become a teacher, moved to Liège and found her own 'Mme Pauline' to read to her classroom. 

She doesn't enjoy talking about herself as much - she has lost her husband and two of her sons. Although the memories are bittersweet, she plays me some home videos from the time she spent living in the Congo in the late 50s, when she was my age now and her children were not much older than the ones she reads to today. 

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Robertson Associates

I shot these headshots a couple of weeks ago - I tend to avoid posting huge amounts of corporate headshots but I do think these are quite nice... the brief was to shoot dynamic shots to the waist which makes things interesting since you have to chat and interact. I believe I spoke about football with two (European championship this summer - my 'outsider' bet is on the Czech Republic, watch this space), politics with three (this was just before the French elections), Expat life with another and so on... a really nice bunch of people so if you need international management consulting, you should definitely check them out (leading you the team page with the photos they chose)

Blue Lagoon portrait session

An outtake from Day 2 in Malta - We (those that were able to make it to the rendez-vous by 11am after the night before!) spent the day in Gozo. On the way back to Malta we stopped off at the Blue Lagoon - consistently in the 'top 3 things to do in Malta' lists. Impeccable water, uninhabited rocky island... but tends to be very touristy. The 6 of us arrived in the early evening and were completely alone, not another soul around... quite blissful. It was a little too chilly to swim but we did anyway, very worth it.Speedy impro shoot of our international group - Maher (Tunisia), Lucie (France), Kjersti (Norway), Angie (Austria) & Lea (Switzerland/Another planet):

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:
 

ICC Mediation Competition

I recently spent a week shooting the 7th International Mediation Competition organised by the International Chamber of Commerce. Over 500 students and mediation professionals from around the world converged in Paris to participate in this massive competition. Throughout, university students faced international business problems, which they attempted to resolve by mediation. Occasionally, the photographer has the best job - in this case, it meant being the only person who could sneak in and out of the rooms and follow many sessions at once. All in all, a fun week with lots of great faces, encounters, chats and champagne! The full sets are here. To all my Paris friends, I apologise for not having a second to see you.

Open Space @ The HUB

The HUB Brussels is an amazing, innovative co working space right around the corner from me. I'm often tempted to grab myself a desk there but can't quite justify it ... a lot of my editing is done later at night and I have a perfectly good space at home. It's always nice to have an excuse to spend some time there though, which is what MediatEUr's open space event offered me on Friday. So two posts in one really - some open space action and some HUB vibe. Here's the full flickr set

Away game

Busy, fun weekend. We (rugby team) had an away game in Heusden-Zolder on Saturday -  a small place in the middle of the Limbourg region. As we left Brussels, it was pouring with rain and absolutely freezing meaning none of us were feeling very pumped but the closer we got to Heusden the bluer the skies and it ended up being pretty perfect! I bought my camera along to snap a couple of team shots and then it struck me that it would be fun to shoot all the changing rooms and club houses of the places we play at... they are all fairly unique. I've missed half of them this season, so I suppose that means I'm condemned to playing at least another year if I want to catch all of them!Band shoot with Ziggy today but I haven't even loaded those yet so that'll have to wait.

Mr SMART

Julek Jurowicz is a bit of a celebrity in my circle. He co-founded SMART - a non profit organisation which handles contracts for artists and other people working on short contracts. Thanks to SMART people like me don't have to pay through the nose or suffocate under a pile of paperwork in order to work independently. They also publish helpful guides, provide trainings and fight for the rights of those on short term contracts. It's not perfect - there is still a fair amount of paperwork and my salary is not always paid quite on time...but all in all, it's a great idea/help that is being rolled out in France and will no doubt spread further. Julek is ridiculously busy and has been doing this for 20 years but still lights up when discussing the latest fight with the national employment agency involving artists' right to subsidies. Sam the dog is the office mascot.

Transient

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?

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.

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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