I have always taken pictures. At home, in the city, in the woods, and in a previous life as a journalist when I took photos for my articles. However, it only gained momentum after a series of setbacks in my personal life. Parents died, a relationship ended, a job was lost, my money evaporated, all within seven months. I could have jumped in front of a train, but went out on the street instead and frantically started shooting in a desire for some peace and quiet. I have not yet returned from that trip.
I categorize most of my work as street photography, but I define the genre broadly. I take my photographs in public space, in an environment designed by people, and 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 and often tend towards the abstract. 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. Photography is at its best when it’s ambiguous.
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.
I do not have a formal training in photography or any other visual or artistic profession. The opportunity of taking pictures dropped by and I grabbed it, just as I spent several years of my life making music, writing or drawing cartoons as a child. What I like is the creative process, the road to the end result and the hypnotic state that I experience during my photo walks.
Belgian street photographer Marc Pennartz was born in the Netherlands, lived in Sweden and is now based in the Antwerp region in Belgium. A journalist by profession, he initially picked up a camera to illustrate his articles. In recent years, he has been dedicating his time to his own interpretation of street photography. Most of his work is shot in Antwerp, Brussels and other Belgian cities. He regularly gives lectures and workshops on street photography.
Marc runs a Dutch-language blog on street photography: straatfotograaf.be
- Interview, The Pictorial List
- Feature, F/8 Street Photography Magazine (upcoming)
- Artist of the Day, The Photo Sector
- Searching for Quiet, virtual 3D exhibition
- Workshops in Antwerp
- Juror street photography contest (B)
- Lectures and/or workshops in Antwerp, Hove
- 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
Portrait above shot by Leen De Smedt.