Belgian photographer Olivier Bekaert retraces his travels in Latin America, Russia and Asia through his project Con su Permiso. His “liberated” pictures reveal an intuitive and inspired photography.

Olivier Bekaert started photography back in 2000, when a friend invited him to an evening class. Considering himself as an “amateur photographer”, capturing images quickly became natural, and he started carrying his camera everywhere. “When you are a professional, commissions dictate your projects, you have to adapt”, he explains. “This way, I stay completely free, I do whatever I want”. The series take us with him as he travels across the world. We accompany him, sitting down at coffeeshop, hearing the waiter say “con tu permiso” (with your permission, ed.), while clearing the table, a phrase that would stay in Olivier’s mind. There is a sense of intimacy emanating from each image, as if his memory had left a trace on their surface. “My motto is simple : stay free, and do not think too much”, he adds.

Trusting your instinct

A certain energy fill the photographer’s pictures. A will to capture a moment before it fades away. Con su Permiso is full of men, their bodies stopped in action. “The first thing that attracts me when I arrive in a city is the crowd. Facades are timeless, but people are unique”. Camera on hand, his travels inspire him and liberate his photographer’s instinct. His pictures – taken with a film camera – are echoes of his curiosity. “When something picks my interest, I take a picture of it. I know if I have made the right choice when I look at the negatives. It can take me years to reflect upon my creations”. Like an intuition, a familiar feeling, his pictures become entries from a fictive journal, leftovers of fleeting memories. Oliviers likes to distance himself from his pictures to evaluate them over time : “I am trying to create a picture that lasts ; to design photos that become increasingly interesting, the more you stare at them”, he concludes.

© Olivier Bekaert