My favorite photos of 2019
For many of us the first days of the year are a moment to look back to the last year and to plan the year to come.
I love this little retrospection ritual.
I reviewed the photos I made in 2019 and tried to choose my favorite. With 90,000 photos and 3TB of data, it kept me busy for a few hours.
In my selection of favorite photos, my main criteria was on the emotion that the photos transmit to me.
I also tried to remember what I have learnt and what I have felt when meeting with those people.
A funny day at home in Brussels
I made this picture during a family documentary session.
It was a nice sunny and hot summer day in Brussels. Those three extremely dynamic and unpredictable kids played with water, made giant soap bubbles, jumped around, gave a bath to the cat, climbed around (do you see the climbing gear on one of the guys?).
At one point the mom tried to get a moment of peace on the hammock.
Very quickly one of the kids came and jumped on her, then he was joined by his brother and then by his sister. They hugged, tickled, and then some seconds later the kids were all jumping around again.
I loved this picture because of the genuine fun moment they are having.
When we discussed before the photo session the mom told me that she would like to have a nice natural looking family portrait with the kids. I don’t think you can get it more natural than this.
Grand Parents for Climat – A climate protest in Brussels
This picture is from the very end of the year. My friend and great photographer Iratxe Alvarez is working on a personal project on a grassroots organization called “grandparents for climate”. I joined her on an environmental protest in Brussels. We walked together and I took pictures of her working and also pictures of the participants of the protest.
This is a picture of one of the members of the “grandparents for climate” movement together with Iratxe. A minute before this picture the elderly lady was dancing and laughing in the middle of the street.
When choosing my favorite pictures of 2019 I hesitated between the dancing picture of this lady and this exchange between a protester and a photographer.
I finally chose that one because I love not only the energy and faith in a better future this elderly lady has, but also the great time they were having with Iraxte and the way they connected.
For me, connections is a big part of what I love in photography. In order to capture who you are and what’s important to you, I have to understand who you are and connection is a crucial part of it.
You should definitely have a look on Iratxe’s work.
This picture was taken the morning after the baby’s birth.
The two big sisters came to visit the baby and this is the first time the little girl is looking at her new sister.
I photographed the birth and have many favorites from it. Nevertheless, this is my favorite picture from the time spent with the family. I love the tenderness of the touch and the importance of this first meeting.
That picture makes me imagine the stories they will build together in the future.
Vacation photography in Ireland
That is a portrait of my son at the Irish immigration museum in Dublin. Once per year we book a weekend just for the two of us. It’s an important time in order to spend time together, have fun and connect away from our daily routine and the craziness of our lives.
We spent several hours at this museum. I saw a good framing and light on his face and composed my picture. Then I waited for the right expression.
I love this picture because it’s very representative of my son’s personality. He has a very analytical thinking but always ready for critique. Do you see the way he’s looking? Do you hear him saying – “They should have made this in a different way?” “Their museum is not objective”
Family photography at the studio – keep it natural
As many others, this family are a regular client. They came in 2018 with their first baby and then in 2019 with their second one. We took this family portrait at my studio, where I try to keep the atmosphere relaxed and home feeling. We played pick and boo and the family had fun.
I picked this image as one of my favorites because of the expression of the baby. I love the fact that she is the only one looking at me. I’m attracted by her expression and try to imagine what thoughts she might have had at that moment during the photo session. I’d love to see the family again in the future and see how kids have changed.
Lifelong learning – a documentary session in a retirement home
This picture was part of a photo story on the daily life in a retirement home in Namur. The staff wanted to have some real moment photography representing the life at the retirement home. The aim was to decorate the walls with some of the pictures. This lady was participating in a digital workshop. They were learning new skills and preparing the next issue of their journal.
I love the focused and happy look of the lady. I love the benevolent look of the teacher as well on her. When I get old, I would love to still have the will to learn new things.
Family portrait – Exchanging with teenagers
This is a non-planed portrait of a mother and her two grown up teenage girls. The mom wanted to keep some classic portraits of her girls on her walls.
I have of course done the classic and posed pictures of the girls and they were lovely, but after that we went out for a walk and I made them play. They had real and we all loved the result. What makes this portrait special for me is the way it shows the connection between them.
A newborn baby at the studio
This is a portrait of a 10 days old baby girl.
The baby and her whole family of five came to the studio to capture this special moment of welcoming a new member to the family.
It corresponds to the clean and minimalist look I love for baby photography. Just the baby and her personality, no unrelated props, no baskets, fire machines or hats.
Just a timeless picture that will be a part of the baby’s legacy for many years to come. A picture the family will look 30 years from now and discuss did she already looked a bit as her adult self.
Can you already recognize her personality in this early picture?
An environmental portrait at home
This photo comes from the same documentary photo session as the portrait of the mother and her kids on the hammock.
I made this picture towards the end of the session. The little girl had just taken her bath and we were having a quite chat. As I was already a friend, she was enthusiastically telling me a story.
I like this portrait first of all for its’ minimalistic aspect. Your eyes are directly drawn to her eyes and their expression. I think this portrait also transmits her personality very well – playful, funy and with a strong character. Always ready for a little joke.
NGO documentary work in Bulgaria
In 2019 I participated in a beautiful project of the association for a shared learning
It is a Bulgarian non-governmental organization which aims to give access to quality education for all children. They work with government institutions, but also directly with schools and children.
One of their projects – school makes sense, aims to reduce dropout rate of kids. During one school year, children from disadvantaged schools meet professionals from different sectors once a week and test their jobs. The goal of the project is to encourage children to stay at school and continue to learn.
This first photo was taken during a class visit to a carpenter. The kids built nest boxes together, working with the machines by themselves.
I love this collective laughter. Even though this photo is not perfect from a technical point of view, it puts me in a good mood and makes me want to smile every time I look at it. It also allows me to dream that at least some of those children will become happy and fulfilled adults.
Document the life of 150 teens for a week
This photo was taken during the association’s summer camp. 150 children from 5 different schools spent a week together. At the start everyone was a little distant and stayed in a small group by school or even by class. After a day or two the children mixed up.
I enjoyed watching the new friendships and the passionate exchanges between them. This is what attracts me to this photo.
I didn’t make this photo but I’m nevertheless proud of it. It was made by Simona, one of the participants in the photography workshop that I organized in the same holiday camp.
The goal was to show children that photography is not just about selfies on Instagram. We talked about composition, observation, patience. Their progress in one week has been remarkable.
Here we are posing with Simona in front of the photo exhibition we organized at the end of the camp.
End of life documentary
This photo was the most complicated photo for me this year.
At the end of a photo session at a retirement home, one of the caregivers asked me to take some photos of this lady at the end of her life. The family told me the story about the 20-years long illness, the life of the couple, the love between the lady and her husband.
I like this picture even if is not as optimistic as the other photos of this year. I like to look at the details of the intertwined hands and imagine the stories that they tell.
The lady died a day later. I’m sure the couple of photos taken at the end of the afternoon will remain a precious memory for the family and I’ll keep those hands in my memories.
Wellbeing and documentary photography
At the end a photo taken in the Essentiel wellness center in Namur. This is a center that brings together a team of cancer-related health professionals.
Patients can participate in workshops, group lessons and receive wellness treatments. I spent several days in the center working on a photo story on the life and the atmosphere there.
This photo was taken during a massage.
What attracts me in the picture is the relaxed and serene face of the person receiving the massage. I love the little smile in the corner of the mouth and the positive vision that this photo gives.
In the autumn we organized a photo exhibition in the premises of the center. If you’ve missed it, you can see it again from February 19 in Brussels. I’ll share more information with you soon.
This publication is part of of blogging challenge organised by Jenna Christina. Thank you Jenna.
Happy New Year to all, may it bring you many positive moments!
My wish to myself is to have a 2020 as full of new encounters and experiences as 2019. A year full of near learning opportunitees.
This post is also available in: French