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Francis Vanhee (°1995), photographer
Who inspires you?
This ranges from photography to sculpting, often from Belgian artists. Berlinde De Bruyckere’s way of interpreting art history and creating something timeless as a result really speaks to me. Francis Bacon might be my biggest inspiration, who first painted, and then altered what was on his canvas. Deciding when you’re done is the most difficult. And of course the quintessential Dirk Braeckman. I recently discovered the work of Johan Tahon which is a revelation. I can’t say much about it yet; I’m still too overwhelmed.
What do you listen to when creating?
Music is my second passion. There’s a lot of it in my workshop: from opera or jazz to techno, Turkish music, … When I want to hear people talking, I replay episodes of Touché (Radio 1) or Pompidou (Klara).
How did you start with photography?
On holidays I took photos with my parents’ digital camera, which made a lot of noise zooming out and in. First flowers and animals, later music bands at the local youth center Uzuz in Gistel. My parents gifted me a real camera for my sixteenth birthday, and I started creating my own world through my (albeit crappy) pictures.
What does a normal day look like?
I wake up around 8.30 and leave for an assignment or for my workshop. My workshop is located in the attic of Het Objectief in Ghent, so I have to climb a mountain before I can start. I’m very thankful for this space though! I put on my working clothes and turn on the music.
People come to my workshop to be photographed, I print the images and then start painting. Currently, I use color paint over color prints, and then a coat of varnish. While the prints dry, I take a lunch break, outside in summer and with a movie or documentary in winter. I tape the prints to a wall, and light them at an angle. When you look at paintings with a coat of varnish from before 1750, you’ll see a light spot when you slightly turn your head; I want to recreate this light spot in my work.
I photograph the result and edit the picture. It’s ready to be printed again, or maybe I might put it on Instagram.
What will you be doing in five years?
I live from day to day, and have a hard time making plans for the future. But I’ve always had ambitions. Five years ago, I dreamed of working for De Morgen, which I still cannot believe I do! In five years, I want to have my first solo show and be in complete control: I dont’ just want to hang photos, but a sound track would be playing, and I’ll make people walk through mud to get to my work, for example. I want it to be a complete installation.I also have a smaller, more realistic dream: becoming a teacher and learning young people about photography