It’s been a little over two weeks since that dreadful day when bombs ripped through the check-in area of Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station. The world’s media has long since moved on to cover other atrocities that have, sadly, become a daily occurrence in our news saturated societies. The morning after the attacks, I went to the Place de la Bourse in the centre of Brussels where people had begun laying memorials and tributes to the dead and injured. The world’s press were there in force; almost outnumbering the mourners busily showing their respects with flowers, flags, candles and chalk markings. All poignant moments were pounced upon as news cameras and microphones were shoved, indelicately, toward any display of human emotion for instantaneous consumption by a wired audience worldwide. It felt like a ‘media circus’. It felt sordid. It felt disrespectful. Amidst all the people and paraphernalia of solidarity with the victims, I started taking photographs myself; questioning my motives with each click of the camera shutter. Was I also being disrespectful by taking pictures? The images below are a selection of the photographs I took that day. Hopefully, I have captured the dignity of the day without resorting to journalistic hyperbole. It was quite moving to be among the mourners. Brussels has been my adopted home for nearly 30 years. I felt a sadness and solidarity with my fellow mourners profoundly. The Belgians, of all classes and creeds, are civilised and peaceful; they, of all people, did not deserve such an indiscriminate destruction of life. Thankfully, peace and calm is slowly returning to this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. My deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the dead and injured. All images © Sean Hayes.
Life is but an illusion of permanency. Our consumer culture sells us the promise of health, wealth and happiness as not only being easily obtainable, but once acquired, will remain in our possession indefinitely. The passage of time proves otherwise, yet we still cling to the fantasy that perpetuity is inherent to certain things. Photography being a perfect example: A moment frozen in time. Something you can “own”. Forever. The ethereal images of the British artist, Nettie Edwards, questions this assumption. Using an old photographic printing technique called ‘Anthotypes’, Nettie creates beautiful photos and prints of flowers and plants using light sensitive material from plants themselves. A beautiful conceptual construct that becomes even more compelling when we realise, just like plants themselves, they are fleeting – there is no known way to permanently fix the images. They give enormous joy and delight for a short period of time – and then they disappear. Analogous to life itself. Photography that truly represents the transitory nature of reality. Please visit Nettie’s blog to discover more of her work and fascinating print processes with plants. Link: ANTHOTYPES.
n. The quality of being; existence as something.