My name is Dirk Christeaens, I was born and raised and live in the historical city of Leuven. Leuven is a bustling student town as it is home to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven which is the largest and oldest university of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg together, and it is home as well to the world’s largest brewery group. So, students and beers… I guess that combination doesn’t need any further explanation It is actually only very recently that I picked up photography, but once I did it seemed such an obvious choice as I have always been a person who very much likes to observe. I am also very much a city person, I love to roam the streets, feel the hustle and bustle of the city, and observe people going about their daily business. As such it was quite logical that I started out with “candid” street photography at first. For the past half year however my focus has been shifting more towards urban stills.There’s no big message behind my photos. I simply try to show the streets of my hometown the way they are. I thereby prefer places that to most passersby look rather uninteresting, uninspiring, banal, or too grimy to take notice. By working with composition, colors, contrasts, lines and shapes I try to reveal the beauty and poetry these places nevertheless contain.
These photos were all made on March 6th 2013
They offer a view of the state of retail in one of the less fortunate streets in the in the once prosperous industrial town (iron foundries and leather) Green Lane has become isolated from the main body of the town by the A 4148 duel carriageway which speeds traffic through the town but, discourages stopping, and is difficult to cross.
Green lane was a once a local high street of about 60 retail units (all independent traders I would guess) serving the foundry and tanning district (now gone)
I have included one serviving shop (Walsall2-ns selling second hand goods) and the only local pub (Walsall2-c) as the 1 to 4 ratio of open to closed would reflect the make-up of the street. The other three I have chosen to reflect the progressive state of the streets decline ,All the open shops were well fortified
The street offers extensive free parking and has a free car park (now derelict and surrounded by steel shuttering), but has very little footfall.
I have always been surrounded by cameras.
My father was a press photographer in Communist Hungary. As you can imagine, this proved to be tricky. My brother also is a very accomplished ‘tog. I remember as a small child using my dads Nikon F, which I have to this day. So it was inevitable that I loved photography from a very young age.
After a series of hand-me-downs, and point and shoots, I purchased a D200 and never looked back.
As far as my photographic style goes, I am yet to settle on a genre, but I love the soft light of night, and making something beautiful out of something that is not. The more I travel down this path, the less “generic beauty” appeals to me. Occasionally I still feed my soul with a beautiful vista, or the splashing of waves, but generally, give me a dirty alley or a minimalist urban scene any day. ”