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Agence VU - Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt
Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt

Belgian. Born in 1947. Lives in Brussels.

While one of his favourite subjects has been dogs (to which he has devoted an entire book), it would be totally unfair to reduce Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt’s amusing but sad work to anything less than a troubling look into the relationships between pets and their masters.

Coming from a tradition of reportage linked intimately with the press, he began his personal work with ensembles devoted to the “Concours belges” and immigrants to his country. Since he began looking through his Leica’s viewfinder, he has created pure and elegant photographs marked by a constant sense of humour. This balance has allowed him to adopt a fair and playful distance from what is going on before his eyes. His resulting compositions are arranged with a steady eye while managing to transform real life moments into often mysterious images without reverting to the anecdotal.

Although he often provokes a smile, this initial reaction turns instantly to a series of questions on the nature of what he is showing us. His effective use of reflections is especially troubling in this regard. In this sense – or the absence of sense – he acknowledges the attitudes or situations of his subjects.


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Portfolio

Stories

Last nomadic people at the european border (2012)

The Yoruk or « those who walk », claim to have pure Turkish roots. They are the last nomadic shepherds of Turkey. Only a few hundred remain. They raise goats and mutton. They spend their entire year under a tent. They roam the plains from November to May. Once warmer days arrive, they migrate with their flock towards mid-altitude mountains. This voyage can take anywhere between 1 and 2 months. After having set up camp, they come back down, taking all their belongings with them on camelback (or tractors for those who are more affluent). The night having arrived, it is 2AM when the Kush Ali family has finally set up camp after a long day of hiking under torrential downpours. ...

Belgium, Erasme Hospital (2003)

Cleanliness, precision and technologies are the very words of the work in an hospital. Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt seems to follow those rules to the letter. The photographer also know how to catch the relaxing moments of the teams of doctors. But very quickly, the importance of what's at stake is coming over: blood is dripping in tubes, but also in patients' veins.

Works and days (1999)

Photographer Michel Vanden Eeckoudt is watching daily works. The aim is not to explain but to give to see what everybody would see when twisting your head. The instantaneity of the picture does not aim exhaustivity nor examplification. But the picture creates moments of life, sometimes funny, often tender. The photographer seems to have make his own word the phrase " work well, amuse well"

Martinique, remembering slavery (1998)

White Creole. White, they are 3 000 in Martinique (over 350 000 inhabitants, including 100 000 unemployed people). Arrived at the 17th century, former masters of slaves and plantations, they still own nowadays 80 % of the land and control most of the economy and of the trade business. They do have a sharp sense for caste and secret : "Great honours are great burdens".

Dogs (1996)

Concours de beauté, écoles vétérinaires, dressages: durant dix ans, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt a "épinglé" le chien dans tous ses états.

Japan (1996)

Withdraws into itself for a long time, Japan open to trade and world influences only in the twentieth century. From its story, the country keeps a very strong relationship with its own culture. Entrancing, it can be also disconcerting, indeed incomprehensible for an uninitiated. Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt went in Japan, without any a priori, to discover a world. He photographs Japan in its modernity, and hunt down traditions’ breaches.

Books

Doux-amer

Monkey or dog, animals strange or familiar, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt does not differentiate. He fixes a moment of meeting between two beings, so close, so different. Beyond the bizarre, beyond the comical nature that underscores without caricaturizing, here is a respect for the other, a tenderness, a humility in his photographs that charges them with emotion. His resulting compositions are arranged with a steady eye while managing to transform real life moments into often mysterious images without reverting to the anecdotal.
Text by: Jean-Christophe Bailly

Publisher: Delpire (2013)
112 pages
Size: 28 x 20 cm
ISBN :2851072676   

Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt (Photo Poche)

Si l'on s'en tenait à leur seul sens de l'humour, à leur amour des chiens et à leur virtuosité technique, on pourrait se demander si Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt n'est pas à la photographie européenne ce qu'Elliot Erwitt est à la photographie américaine. Mais il y a plus...

Publisher: Actes Sud (2007)
144 pages
Size: 13x19 cm
ISBN :2742766669   

L'enfermement

Collectif : photographies de Jane Evelyn Atwood, Jean-Marc Bodson, Gaël Turine, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, Hugues de Wurstemberger
La prison est un lieu oĂč la sociĂ©tĂ© enferme non seulement des personnes, mais aussi ses peurs, comme si la sĂ©curitĂ© gĂ©nĂ©rale pouvait ĂȘtre apprĂ©ciĂ©e Ă  l’indice du nombre des dĂ©tenus. Outre les commentaires de certains dĂ©tenus, les photos de ce livre sont loin d’ĂȘtre muettes : elles interrogent non seulement sur les conditions de l’enfermement, mais aussi sur sa raison d’ĂȘtre. La prison peut-elle rester cet endroit clos oĂč l’on parque Ă  l’aveugle ceux qui ont commis, ou en sont seulement soupçonnĂ©s, des faits attentatoires Ă  la sĂ©curitĂ© publique, aussitĂŽt enfermĂ©s, aussitĂŽt oubliĂ©s ?
Text by: Alain Wiame, Delphine Paci, Dan Kaminski et Philippe Mary

Publisher: Husson (2006)
142 pages
ISBN :978-2916249094   

Justice en France

Ce livre est une adaptation des " Carnets de justice ", une des plus célÚbres chroniques de Libération, créée en 1998 par Dominique Simonnot.
Text by: Dominique Simonnot

Publisher: Editions de la Martiniere (2003)
396 pages
ISBN :2846750734   

Traces de sucre

Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt est un photographe passionnĂ© par les petites choses de la vie; il s'intĂ©resse Ă  une main et un couteau qui dĂ©collĂštent une betterave, comme Ă  une pile de vieux sacs qui traĂźnent, ou Ă  une malheureuse betterave prisonniĂšre de fils barbelĂ©s. Il va mĂȘme jusqu'Ă  les photographier.
Text by: Patricia Dewames-Halkin

Publisher: Quo vadis (2001)
85 pages
Size: 21x26 cm
ISBN :90-5349-373-5   

Les fours Ă  chaux de Chercq

Il y a le regard d'un photographe, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, sur un site industriel en friche qui participe autant de brutalitĂ© de l'architecture miliaire moyenĂągeuse que du charme dĂ©suet de certains jardins anglais oĂč l'opposition entre le clair et l'obscur Ă©voque la nostalgie des paradis perdus.
Michel Husson
Text by: Patricia Dewames-Halkin

Publisher: Quo vadis (2001)
ISBN :90-5349-379-4   

Duo

Singe ou chien, animal Ă©trange ou familier, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt ne dĂ©crit pas. Il fixe l’instant d’une rencontre entre deux ĂȘtres si proches, si diffĂ©rents. Au-delĂ  de l’insolite, d’une cocasserie qu’il souligne sans caricaturer, il y a un respect de l’autre, une tendresse, une humilitĂ© dans ses photographies qui les chargent d’une rare Ă©motion.
Text by: DaniĂšle Sallenave

Publisher: Nathan/Delpire (2000)
120 pages
ISBN :209-754193-3   

Les travaux et les jours

Manuel Våzquez Montalbån rÚgle leur compte au jargon et aux prétentions de certains praticiens des sciences humaines. Dans le viseur de Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, les travailleurs existent bel et bien. C'est avec un humour constant que les deux approches dialogues pour installer une vision amusée mais sérieuse du monde du travail, entre tendresse et grand éclat de rire.
Text by: Manuel Vazquez Montalban

Publisher: Actes sud (1999)
128 pages
Size: 15x21 cm
ISBN :2742707085   

Chiens

Concours de beautĂ©, Ă©coles vĂ©tĂ©rinaires, dressages: durant dix ans, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt a "Ă©pinglĂ©" le chien dans tous ses Ă©tats. De la Suisse au NĂ©pal, de l'Ecosse Ă  l'Ile Maurice, ses images tour Ă  tour sensibles et dĂ©sopilantes sont accompagnĂ©es d'une sĂ©rie d'interviews oĂč, dans un style direct, maĂźtre-chien, vĂ©tĂ©rinaire, aveugle, Ă©leveur et artiste de cirque parlent de leur relation profonde avec les chiens.

Publisher: Marval (1997)
120 pages
ISBN :2-86234-234-3   

Sur la ligne

Autour de la ligne de la frontiÚre, s'est aussi forgé, au fil du temps, un espace particulier marqué par la circulation des hommes et les projections mentales. La préoccupation de Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt pour ce type de lieu troublants et révélateurs à incité le Centre Régional de la Photographie à le solliciter.
Text by: GĂ©rard Dupuy

Publisher: Centre régional de la photographie (1994)
ISBN :2-904-538-43-7   

Concours Belges

Chaque image montre une scĂšne de concours belge, du concours de coiffure Ă  l'exposition canine.
(1985)
64 pages
Size: 15,8x21,6 cm

Zoologies

L'oeil prĂ©cis, froid et cruel de Michel Van Eeckhoudt nous oblige Ă  voir ce que les badauds du zoo oublient peut-ĂȘtre d'apercevoir: que les bĂȘtes dans leur enclos constituent la grande exposition permanente de la tristesse.
Claude Roy
Text by: Claude Roy

Publisher: Robert Delpire (1982)
ISBN :2-85107-104-1   

Chroniques immigrées

En 1976, Christian Carez et Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt entreprennent un reportage sur l'immigration en Belgique, qui deviendra aprÚs deux ans de travail, "Chroniques immigrées".
Text by: François Rigaux

Publisher: Vie ouvriĂšre (1978)
184 pages

Cambrésis textile

Any attempt to ally Art and Industry would seem like a formidable challenge. This book is living to testimony to the fact that art can be translated into industrial expertise, particularly in the clothing materials sector.
Jack Lang
Text by: Christian Caujolle, Jacques Duquesne et Jack Lang

Publisher: Premier janvier
48 pages

Exhibitions



Doux-Amer (MĂ©rignac)
From 2014-04-26 to 2014-06-08

As part of the exhibition Doux-Amer, the City of Merignac presents one hundred prints of Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt at the Vieille Eglise Saint-Vincent. \"Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt talks about us. He talks us about our children, our days, our loneliness, our liveliness, our tiredness, the death who lurks, about the strange way the world is revolving, he talks about the light which strangely outlines our figures on the absurdity of this world. Intern/extern landscapes which we don’t know anymore, but the look is tense, we go deeply in the universe he describes. The form supports the...

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DOUX - AMER (Paris)
From 2013-12-05 to 2014-01-25

‘The world revealed to us by Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt is not cheerful. Although he doesn’t travel around the planet to testify to the pains of the world, and he doesn’t indulge a fascination for war, drama and blood, we can clearly see that he has made no deals with the world of privilege. He speaks to us of ourselves. Of our children, our days, our solitude, our outbursts of elation, our fatigue, of death that lurks, the curious way in which the Earth turns, the light that strangely cuts out our silhouettes on the world’s absurdity. Interior/exterior landscape, we no longer know, but...

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DOUX-AMER (Arles)
From 2013-07-01 to 2013-09-22

‘The world revealed to us by Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt is not cheerful. Although he doesn’t travel around the planet to testify to the pains of the world, and he doesn’t indulge a fascination for war, drama and blood, we can clearly see that he has made no deals with the world of privilege. He speaks to us of ourselves. Of our children, our days, our solitude, our outbursts of elation, our fatigue, of death that lurks, the curious way in which the Earth turns, the light that strangely cuts out our silhouettes on the world’s absurdity. Interior/exterior landscape, we no longer know, but...

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Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt (Oberkorn)
From 2013-01-17 to 2013-02-17


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El perro desnudo (Barcelona)
From 2012-03-12 to 2012-06-01

In between poetry and photojournalism, faithful to his unclassifiable style, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt offers a discreet yet subtle exposure of our time. His pictures, mostly black and white, are like whispered tales opening on the unknown and on a fantasy world. With animals, particularly dogs, as the main characters of his work, he shares with the viewer unusual and at times ridiculous situations, which can only provoke smiles and laughters.\rMarie van Eupen and Alain D’Hoogue have chosen for this exhibition a selection of 20 images printed in large format, and 6 others smaller. They were...

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Fables (Paris)
From 2011-02-25 to 2011-03-26

Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt participates in a group exhibition, "Fables", in collaboration with six other photographers.\r\rThe fables and fairy tales are attempts to get in tune with other worlds. The children intuitively sense since they are used to hide in corners, behind furniture. There they discovered the cracks through which these different worlds are interconnected.\r\rThese are photographs of the dogs that inspired Sammallahti this text by John Berger (from the preface of the book "Russian way").\r The "gaps" in question are those between human and animal worlds. Photography can be one...

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Gap 05 (Gap)
From 2009-11-10 to 2009-12-19

Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt était, en 2009, photographe en résidence à la Galerie du théùtre La Passerelle. Pendant un an, il a photographié Gap.

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99 photography (Almeria)
From 2008-09-24 to 2008-11-16

At first glance, and if we look at them one by one, Michel vanden Eeckhoudt’s photographs cause surprise or even incredulity, and cannot fail to raise a smile or even a great roar of laughter. It has to be said that seeing unusual formal correspondences, totally unexpected meetings between familiar elements or figures, but which appear to have left our ordinary world behind for a joyous everyday surrealism in the frames which have been cut with a scalpel and in pure compositions without ostentation, we can hardly help wondering about the relevance of our perception of the world. And we can...

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