For today’s cameo we’re having 33 year-old Belgian photographer Joris Hermans, who shares with us his new, previously unpublished series Grey Summer Garden. The work is a subjective reportage about a social housing community right across the street from where Joris lives which, he found, doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it has with the rest of the city.
Ciao Joris, how are you?
I’m very well, thank you!
What is photography for you?
In short: people and their surroundings. I love to discover new places and meet the people who inhabit them; but I’m not interested in strictly objective documentation. My approach is more subjective—I try to capture the poetry in my subjects and in the places I explore. Viewers should see and feel what I saw and felt when I was in a certain location, and not necessarily what they would see and feel if they went there. This is why I often go back several times to take the same picture: I want to capture a specific mood and energy, not simply an image. The same scene can look totally different the next day or even an hour later. It’s a slow process sometimes, but this way it also makes it relaxing for me.
What is Grey Summer Garden about?
Grey Summer Garden is a portrait of a small community close to where I live. It mainly consists of social housing for people with low income. The area has a rather negative reputation, so last summer I went there with my camera almost every evening to see for myself what it actually looks like. I found an entirely opposite reality to how it’s commonly described. The people were incredibly open to a stranger with a camera, and sometimes the place made me feel like I was entering a different world. It’s awesome to discover that kind of beauty right next door.