Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter captures intimate images of strangers' homes as she travels alone across Russia for her project 'Ou Menya'
"Photography guides me into the routes where I can stay amazed"
- Bieke Depoorter
Bieke Depoorter was born in 1986 in Kortrijk, Belgium. She received a Master’s Degree in Photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2009. Her early colour photography work is the result of a unique approach: she captures the privacy of people whom she meets by chance and she gets to invite her into their homes. She captures indescribable, fragile and intense moments, always with kindness.
For the Ou Menya series, the young artist travelled for three months in Russia, to remote villages, guided by the Trans-Siberian Railway. This work won her several awards, including the Magnum Expression Award in 2009. Her first book, Ou Menya, was published by Lannoo (Belgium) in 2011.
For a similar long-term project entitled I am about to call it a day, the photographer went to the United States. A book of the same name was jointly published in 2014 by Edition Patrick Frey (Switzerland) and Hannibal (Belgium). With Sète#15, in photographs taken during an artistic residency for the festival l’image Singulières, it’s for the first time that Depoorter explores the thin line between fiction and documentary. She presents a nocturnal vision of the city, with a filmic dream-like atmosphere. Her photographs convey the muted pulsations of a sleeping city.
Depoorter finalized her first shortmovie ‘Dvalemodus’ in 2017, which she directed together with musician Mattias De Craene. The film talks about the everlasting darkness in a small village in the Northern Norway.
As it may be is Depoorter’s newest book, published by Aperture, Editions Xavier Barral and Hannibal. She has traveled to Egypt regularly since the beginning of the revolution in 2011, making intimate pictures of Egyptian families in their homes. In 2017, she revisited the country with the first draft of her book, inviting those who appear in the images, as well as others, to write comments directly onto the photographs. Contrasting views on country, religion, society and photography arise between people who would otherwise never cross paths. As it may be depicts a population in transition with integrity, commitment, and respect.
When she was just 25 years old, she joined the Magnum agency, of which she became a nominee in 2012 and a full member in 2016.