Stephan Van Fleteren: Present
FOMU & Hannibal Publishing, 2019
“I was there, I was present.”
– Stephan Vanfleteren
Belgian phorographer Stephan Vanfleteren (° 1969) is best known to the general public for his penetrating black and white portraits, but in recent decades he has also made a wide range of documentary, artistic and personal work. From street photography in world cities like New York to the genocide in Rwanda, from facades and showcases to the mystical landscapes of the Atlantic Wall, from still lifes to penetrating portraits.
This year Vanfleteren turns fifty and he celebrates this with a large retrospective exhibition in the Antwerp Photo Museum (FOMU, 25 October 2019 – 1 March 2020) and with the publication Present, in which he looks back on his fascinating career. “I was there, I was present,” said the photographer, who always feels himself both an accomplice and a witness.
For Present, Vanfleteren made a wide selection of more than three hundred photos from his rich archive, some of which have become iconic images and others have never been published before. In extensive texts he reflects on how photography as a genre, but also his own work, has evolved over the past decades. He links that evolution to some major social changes.
Present is a wonderful overview of Vanfleteren’s oeuvre and gives a complete picture of him as a photographer, as an artist and above all as a human being, who stands with empathy, wonder and curiosity between people and in life.
Previous successful publications by Vanfleteren, such as Belgicum, Portret, Atlantic Wall and Façades & Vitrines, have since grown into true collector’s items.