Belgian gal Eva de Gols is a fresh graduate of Brussels’ Narafi photography school who impressed us with her end-of-year graduation project, a series that captures the private life of a financially disadvantaged family with six children. Have a look at the captivating images below as well as an interview with the lady herself. 

How did you hear about the family’s story and why did it appeal to you?

I was looking for a special family with lots of kids who lived with basic financial and material resources, and yet live in a warm and cosy “nest”. I found this family through my mother who is a teacher at a special school for children who can’t go to a “normal” primary school due to personal or behavioural problems. I was inspired by Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter, a member of Magnum who made series of the families with whom she stayed during her visit to Russia and Syria. The way she made her images was so intense and moving that it inspired me to try to capture the same intensity and atmosphere, but with a family in my local environment.

How did you approach the family? 

I took the advantage of a school party where all the parents were invited. I knew this family would be present because one of the children is in my mother’s class. So I took pictures of the party for the school, and that gave the family an idea of how I capture images and moments. Then at the end of the party I approached them and told them about myself, what I study and why I wanted them to act as the theme for my paper. To my surprise they were very open. They felt honoured, and they were enthusiastic about being chosen to become part of my project.

What was your first impression when you first went to the house?

Oh my god ! Chaotic, toys and clothes everywhere, six children making noise, playing and running around and two happy and proud parents looking at all the activity with a big smile, welcoming me into their small home, almost like another family member. The integration was immediate.

Having lived with a large family, what are your thoughts on the subject? 

They made the conscious decision to invest in a large family and sacrifice their time for their loved ones, their children, not just two or three but six! They wanted to have a large family because they see this as a real life. They chose sharing and caring and creating a warm home, financially independent or not. Their choice requires immense personal sacrifice. They want their children to have their own personality and do this by giving them the space to learn and experience and interact with each other and at the same time have fun.

Which photographers you feel most influenced this work? 

Bieke Depoorter, Donald Weber, Christophe Agou, Diane Arbus, Tim Dirven, Weegee.

What do you hope people will take away from the series?

Any choice you make in life, make it worthwhile and be conscious and accepting of the consequences so that what you aim for can be achieved. These parents want to create a “warm nest” against all odds, to see their children grow in a happy and warm family.