I have always taken pictures. At home, in the city, in the woods, and as a journalist when I took photos for my articles. However, it gained momentum after a series of setbacks in my personal life. Parents died, a relationship ended, a job was lost, money evaporated, all within seven months. I could have jumped in front of a train or lost myself in alcohol and depression, but went out on the street instead and started shooting in a desire for some peace and quiet. I have not yet returned from that trip.
When I started, I categorized most of my work as street photography, but I don’t really care about genre or categories or how people define them. I still take my photographs in public space, in an environment designed by people. My work regularly shows people, but in many cases they are not the subject. I take the viewpoint of an introverted outsider wondering about the world. The results tend towards the abstract, especially in recent years.
I do not pretend to tell stories. I just hope to convey some sort of emotion. What kind of emotion I leave up to the viewer. It may differ from what I feel, and to me, that’s perfectly fine. Photography is at its best when it’s ambiguous.
The Freedom of Chaos
My walks through Antwerp and Brussels are all about observation, without a preconceived plan or goal. I am naturally attracted by dirty glass and reflections, facades and objects marked by the ravages of time, by shapes, layers and textures that we normally ignore, and how they work together. I cherish the freedom of chaos, and I love to surrender to chance.
I take my photos with a simple, handy, mirrorless digital camera. Because modern cameras are designed to reproduce colors as realistically as possible, and since a correct representation of reality does not interest me much, I pay attention to adjusting the colors afterwards. Often I strive for a warmer, more “analog” tone. Other than that, I keep post-processing limited. The street photographer in me resists erasing or adding image elements.
Apart from abstract street photography I also shoot in nature, while experimenting with a broad range of techniques to create a dark and slightly otherwordly atmosphere.
I do not have a formal training in photography or any other visual or artistic profession, but I have always been surrounded by creative people and art and photography books. When the opportunity of taking pictures dropped by, I grabbed it and lost myself to the wonders of the art, just as I spent several years making music, writing or drawing cartoons as a child. I start every chapter in my creative life guided by the old punk ethos, once aptly worded by The Pink Fairies: Don’t think about it, all you’ve got to do is: do it.
I don’t regard myself as a photographer, to be honest. I just create things and on this website it’s photography that I show. What I like most is the process itself, the road to the end result and – this is probably even more important – the hypnotic state that I experience when I’m out and about. I like to think it helps me see things differently.
Belgian street photographer (for lack of a better word) Marc Pennartz was born in the Netherlands, lived in Sweden and is now based in the Antwerp region in Belgium. He has been or is also a journalist, published author, researcher, copywriter, musician and documentary maker. The biggest part of his photographic work is shot in Antwerp, Brussels and other Belgian cities. He regularly gives lectures and workshops on (abstract) street photography.
Marc runs a Dutch-language blog on street photography: straatfotograaf.be
- Weekly column Straatfotograaf (photo & text) in Gazet van Antwerpen
- Work featured in spring magazine Vlaams Radiokoor (Flemish Radio Choir)
- Work featured in spring magazine Brussels Philharmonic
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Brussels, Dessel, Leuven
- Subject of video documentary by Joey Verhelst, AP University Antwerp
- Revised edition of booklet Starten met Straatfotografie
- Work featured in autumn magazine Vlaams Radiokoor (Flemish Radio Choir)
- Interview, Meneer Simmering
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Boortmeerbeek, Brussels, Hasselt, Londerzeel, Herentals, Wilrijk, Zoersel
- Interview Aantwaarpe.be
- Interview on Radio Expres, Antwerpen
- Photo book release “Green”
- Featured artist, Belgium Street Photography Club
- “Inspirational artist” of the Month, Antwerp Photo Collective
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Aalst, Turnhout
- Interview, The Pictorial List
- Featured artist, Belgium Street Photography Club
- Artist of the Day, The Photo Sector
- Searching for Quiet, virtual 3D exhibition (video)
- Searching for Quiet, exhibition catalogue
- Workshops in Antwerp
- Juror street photography contest (B)
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Hove
- Author of the booklet Starten met Straatfotografie
- Interview, Street Photography Magazine, August edition
- Guest teacher street photography, Dag van de Fotografie, Heusden-Zolder (B)
- Interview and Photographer of the Month, June, Gazet van Antwerpen (Belgian newspaper)
- Two nominations for the World Street Photography Book
- Juror street photography contest (NL)
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Ghent, Schelle, Wilrijk
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Ronse, Vlissingen