Interview with Brussels in Motion winner (2018) Charlotte Vandendwije
The Brussels Street Photography Festival interviews Charlotte Vandendwije, the 2018 winner of the Brussels in Motion contest organized by the BSPF in collaboration with The Photo Academy, this interview was included as part of her prize package.
A brief introduction
I’m Charlotte, a 29 year-old teacher living in Saint-Gilles, Brussels. Besides teaching, I am passionate about photography. At the moment I’m experimenting in different areas of photography, from street, to portraits, and architecture. I’m learning a lot and I’m searching who I am and what I want to stand for through my photographs. I follow evening classes at the Sint-Lukas Academie and they help me to develop and be critical in my different experimentations with photography.
What is it that pushes you to street photography, and what attracts you when you are outside looking for pictures?
Making pictures on the streets has always interested me. There is so much going on in each moment. I am attracted by the emotions of people, combining the environment and architecture with strangers going about their day and the light that pours into the streets. Brussels gives me the chance to find all of those things.
What does your routine look like when photographing the streets?
I try to go out every week, walking around Brussels, looking for moments and places to capture.
How does Brussels inspire you?
Brussels gives me structure in chaos, in every street one can find another culture and another piece of the world. This city makes me get out of my comfort zone, I see and learn something new every day and especially when I least expect it. Brussels is in motion and it always makes me realize how important a moment is and how fast it can go away, so it forces me to take the moment, and not be afraid to capture it.
What do you aim to say through your photography?
I love documentary photography, I do not feel ready for this now, but I hope someday I will be and can tell people’s stories through pictures.
Do you find it hard to balance your work life and this artistic pursuit at the same time? How do you manage it?
I find it not so easy, I started a new project at work and it takes a lot of time. I miss having free days to just go out with my camera, so I try to create moments by making pictures in my everyday routine, by following the courses at Sint-Lukas and when I have vacation and have the chance to travel.
What is the story behind your winning picture of the Brussels in Motion contest?
I took the Brussels in Motion picture on a morning, on my way to work. I see possible pictures in so many moments and when I have my camera with me and can leave my fear behind, that’s all I need.
You mentioned fear, what is it that makes you overcome it at the moment of taking the photo?
I did a photo walk with Kevin Scarlett (organized by the BSPF during the 2018 edition) and after that I felt more comfortable. The thing is to just go for it without doubting. Before I used to wait too long to just click the shutter, people feel that and it gives me a bad feeling, as if I am doing something wrong. When people don’t like being photographed, they will hide or tell me so and that’s the worst thing that can happen.
Which experiences did you gain by participating in the Brussels in Motion contest?
It made me more confident and pushed me to just try more