‘Once upon a time’ shows remarkable places and people I meet by chance in cities like Liège and Charleroi.
They live in the harsh reality of high levels of unemployment and social tensions between groups in a multi cultural community. Both Belgium cities are often described as the ugliest places in Europe. They were once important industrial centers in steel making, mining and gunsmithing.
Is it the misery of a bankrupt society that attracts me and makes me come back over and over? I discovered that I’m less interested in abandoned factories than in how the people live, surrounded by relics of a surreal post-industrial world. I’m fascinated by this strange mixture of roughness, urban chaos and surprisingly friendly people. What moves me is that the majority simply seems to accept the circumstances and tries to make the best out of it.
About HJ Hunter
I’m a storyteller. In my puberty I discovered a talent for writing. I studied literature and wanted to become a journalist or novelist, but instead I developed a career as commercial writer. All my life I’ve had a ‘silent’ passion for photography. In the analog period I did some courses and had a dark room at home. But it’s only some four years ago that photography turned my life upside down. In 2012 I bought a decent camera and started doing what I should have done a long time ago: taking photography serious. Since then I work, eat and dream with photography. Finally I follow my heart, not yet knowing where this will bring me to.
Although my motivation comes from inside, it helps to get attention and support from professionals in the industry. That’s why I started to publish my work on curated websites like 1X.com and to participate in worldwide competitions. As a result, I saw my pictures published in the prestigious yearbooks ‘Passion’ (2013) and ‘Mono’ (2014) from 1X.com. Recently I joined the Magnum-award competition on LensCulture and saw my project ‘Once upon a time’ selected for the competion galery on their website. And from april to june 2015 I had my first solo-exhibition with streetphotography in a art galery in the Netherlands (‘Lost in the City’, Galerie De Gau, Vaals).