from oe menia © Bieke Depoorter, 2011

Bieke Depoorter: Oe Menia & I am About to Call it a Day

Bieke Depoorter (Belgium): Oe Menia & I am About to Call it a Day (in progress)

Gallery offline – updating soon

In Bieke Depoorter’s previous travels and projects, short and intense encounters have been important elements. Her images lead us to the different people she has met along way, into whose personal stories she has been absorbed during a single night. This series is a composition of pictures from two different projects. The first part (slides 1-20), oe media, was photographed in Russia, during 2008 and ’09. A book documenting this project will be released in August 2011. The second part of the series (slides 21-40) was created in America, during 2010 and ’11; this work is still progress. In April 2011 I will spend a fourth month in the United States to continue my work there.

In oe menia, for three periods of one month, I have let the Trans-Siberian train guide me alongside forgotten villages, from living room to living room. Some Russian words, scribbled on a little piece of paper, allowed me to be welcomed and absorbed in the warm chaos of a family. Accidental encounters led me to the places where I could sleep. The living room, the epicenter of their lives, establishes an intimate contact between the Russian inhabitants. For a brief moment, I was part of this. Their couch became my bed for one night. This way, I experienced transient, but very powerful, shared moments.

Parallel with this idea, I have traveled for three months to the United States. Also here, I enter the life of families I’ve met on the street. This series focuses more on the personal space of the people I meet, literally and figuratively. However, the social contact I have with these people (and the mutual trust for them to take me into their most intimate privacy) stays an important element in my work.