Interview with Made in Bruxsel (2018) winner Merlin Meuris
Born and resident in Brussels (Belgium), Merlin Meuris is a photographer whose work focuses on landscape, street and food photography. However, he develops his projects all around the world and, consequently, he travels as much as he can. He has been as well a winner of the ClikClik in collaboration with the BSPF photography contest in Brussels organized in 2017.
How do the diverse urban spaces of Brussels influence your work?
Brussels does influence me a lot, I have been walking in the streets of the city since I am a kid, first with skateboarding, then with graffiti. Trying to find the best spots was my everyday goal. I had to understand the complexity of this city to domesticate it. Then when I discovered photography, I started taking pictures of architecture. Brussels is so diverse in terms of urbanism, it is a big melting pot.
In which ways Brussels works as a source of inspiration for your photography?
Brussels is small compared to NYC or Paris, so you have to support the city and be your own engine to create artistic projects. This makes it sometimes exhausting but at the same time much more interesting. People here really pushed themselves to innovate in any field. I see much more proudness about the city now that a few years ago.
Could you please tell us about your line of work and your objectives with it?
I try to capture people in the everyday life, I like to see how they evolve in this manmade landscape of concrete. I shoot most of my pictures in sunny weather, which makes it more complicated in Brussels. If the weather is cloudy, I look for the artificial light in metro stations, museums etc.
Which other projects are you working on and what is your motivation?
For the moment, I am working on a project about Japan called “Lost in translation”. It is a book about my three weeks trip to Japan that I did a few months ago. It will also be mainly street shoots. In terms of a city, Tokyo is an endless playground for a photographer. I am also working with a photographers collective called RAW7 on an exhibition in Paris.
What about your methodology of work?
I usually go out around 4 PM in summer, when the chances to catch people in the street are higher. I walk for a few hours without taking pictures, just to immerse myself in the city. Then, when the tiredness comes and the light is going down, I start to take pictures, I chase the light, and I shoot mostly isolated persons. At the end of the day (after walking around three hours), if I am lucky I have one or two pictures, if not, I format my SD card for the next day of shooting.
Could you please tell us the story behind the winning picture for the Made in Bruxsel by BSPF contest?
The picture was taken last summer, just after the inauguration of the place Rogier. It is a central spot in Brussels where you can see all the different aspects of the cityscape mixing together in terms of architecture as well as culture. That’s why it reflects the diversity of the city. I went to this place about ten times before I could get the shot I wanted. Finally, at the end of that day, I captured the moment when the kids were playing in the fountain and one of them just fell on the floor.
Which experiences did you gain by participating in the Made in Bruxsel by BSPF contest?
It is a great platform to discover the work of the other photographers through their eyes.