Preview: an interview with Belgian photographer Julie Calbert

Since October, we’ve been working our fingers to the bone putting together a totally revamped and shiny new version of The Word Magazine. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has finally come: 12 April sees the relaunch of the made-over magazine, a super-sexy melange of art and music, people and passions, plus an awesome new feature in the form of a separate photography section which includes, among a whole load of other great stuff, the two latest mesmerising series by Belgian photographer Julie Calbert (27), called Aquariums and Funerariums. Born in the Ardennes, Julie arrived in Brussels eight years ago and has been busy developing her signature mystifying, mysterious and dreamy atmosphere in her photography. Here we present a selection of images from her latest fashion shoots, plus a little chat with the scene-stealing photographer about her work.

How did it all get started for you? 

I started photographing when I found an old camera from my parents. I was 18 at the time. At the beginning I photographed mostly empty places – and never people, though later I started taking pictures of my friends. After school I studied communication at ULB but as I was photographing every day, all day long, it was just natural to sign up for a photography course. So I took up Applied Photography at Brussels’ INRACI.

How has your work developed over the years?                                

When you grow up and get older and develop personally, it shows in your photography. I can’t really put my finger on anything specific. I really like to photograph people now, which was not the case in the beginning. I was very, very shy before, but photographing gives me an excuse to meet people. The camera reassures me, makes me feel safe.

When did you start doing fashion?

I did my first fashion series when I was still at school. I used my sister and some other girls I knew as models and dressed them up. Now it’s all very different: I do fashion series for magazines and blogs with professional stylists and hairdressers. 

 The camera reassures me, makes me feel safe.

What is it that you like about fashion photography?

It allows me to develop a whole new concept and unique universe around clothing. It’s very creative and it gives me a break from my personal practice; it lets me breathe a bit. What also makes it very different from my personal work is that I have to work to deadlines. 

How would you describe your approach?  

I would call it quite narrative, but also very intuitive. Locations are important for me too; I’m constantly on the lookout for new spots. My work is mostly fed by the everyday and I’m also inspired by architecture, painting, music… Often you can’t really plan it, something just happens when you’re together with a person in a room.

What’s next?

I’m focusing a bit more on getting my work out there and being shown in exhibitions. For example some of my photos were featured in an expo in Rotterdam’s Fotomuseum; a show that you can currently visit in Liège’s BIP             

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Until 8th June
BIP, Place des Carmes, 8 – 4000 Liège / Luik
www.chiroux.be