My first guest is the photographer Hatim Kaghat. I met him at the opening of his exhibition Rituals some three weeks ago. Here is what he has shared about himself:
“I was born in 1972 in Fes, Morocco. At the age of 23 I moved to Belgium to finish my studies.
Photography has aroused an abiding interest in me since my childhood. Unfortunately I could do it neither part time nor full time. 2010 was a turning point in my career and my life as well, since I decided to receive an academic education in photography. Consequently, this has enabled me to (re)discover myself through photos. In each photo I took, I was true to myself but especially to my feelings. The result was very encouraging. I have won many prizes in many contests worldwide. I was finalist in many international competitions, namely “Shoot The Face” as well as “Professional Photographer of the year 2012” in UK.
All this recognition has deepened my self-confidence about my talent as a photographer. For the time being, I strongly believe that photography is not what I do but it’s what I am. My photos are the language I use to express my loneliness, my feelings, my opinions and my own vision of the world. Hearing from people that they are touched when they look at them does not only swell my heart with joy and pride, but I just simply find it priceless.”
One of your photos was shown for a mond at the National Art Exhibition in New York this year. How did this happen?
I participated via Internet in a contest organised by New York Center for Photographic Art. I just wanted to try my chance and compete with other photographers. After a month, I got an email announcing that I was third in the competition and my work was going to be shown in New York. I was so happy and proud. Especially when seeing the quality of the jury and the number of participants. It was a great experience.
Where did the inspiration for your exhibition Rituals, of which this photo is part, came from?
The idea of the exhibition came from the fact that the documentary of Rituals has had a lot of positive feedback in the whole world. I won many competitions with it. The last one was top 20 of the Photographer of the Year 2012 in London organised by Professional Photographer magazine. Also, the collaboration with the artist Jesus Azogue, who made the video version of the documentary Rituals. Together we have decided to prepare this exhibition and we were happy that people have enjoyed it.
Does your camera have preferred themes?
I would not say “themes”, but style. I love documentary photography. I love emotions and humanity. I love to express some issues through photography. Most of my art is about loneliness, melancholy or happiness. I try through photography to see the inside of the people of whom I take a picture. I don’t call it my camera, I call it my third eye. Through my camera I don’t see things, I try to feel things. Sometimes I feel sad when walking in the street, I see an image, a scene but am not having my camera with me. I have the feeling I miss a part of my body. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that much that I walk around without my camera.
What is your connection to Brussels?
My connection to Brussels is like a relationship to an old partner. I love her, but I can hate her. I can even be mad at her and mad about her. I admit that sometimes I want to quit her, but I know I can’t find better. And finally, it’s easier to find solutions to continue to live together than to change with the risk to find worse. My camera helps me to discover her more, to love her more. Everytime I go for a photography walk in Brussels I feel closer and closer to her.
Which are your favourite spots in the city?
My favorite spots are les Marolles, Bois de la Cambre and Antoine Dansaert area. I love going out the whole night in Brussels. I like the people and their spontaneity.
How does your “private Brussels” look like?
My private Brussels is private :-). I don’t want to share it.