Wouter Van der Voorde maakt zijn foto’s tijdens zijn lange roadtrips in Australië, waar hij zich tien jaar nadat hij er zich vestigde, nog steeds als een toerist voelt. Hij exploreert het duistere en verlaten platteland, de weidse landschappen, de bossen, dorpen en interieurs. We zijn getuige van de voortdurende cyclus van vernietiging en regeneratie. Van de Voorde is een ontdekkingsreiziger. Als kind al zocht hij plaatsen op waar hij werd overvallen door een gevoel van eenzaamheid en veredelde angst en verlatenheid. Hij was altijd benieuwd wat er was aan de Andere Kant. Zijn beelden zijn ook  vandaag het resultaat van de kinderlijke sensatie van de ontdekking. Zijn beelden geven de kijker geen antwoorden, alleen de zekerheid over de schoonheid van het mysterie.

 

Wouter Van de Voorde feels like he has cultivated his alien perspective of this strange island continent, as Australia is an extremely surreal place to him. Reading about the culture and studying their art gave him some insights into what living on this side of the world could mean: their culture is not one of cathedrals, cobble stone streets and hand written illuminated bibles; to them the mountains and hills are cathedrals, recounted stories their bibles or encyclopedias.

“ I am essentially a landscape painter. When I started making images I was painting outside with my easel in the middle of the night, trying to capture the darkness in oil-painting. I explore(d) my urban environment by foot or by bike, carefully mapping my battleground. From day one it was all about capturing places that had an atmospherical charge to it. Through a shit-storm of soul-searching and surrealist detours in painting, photography has brought me back to the essence of my love for image making: portraying fragments of reality, attempting to construct images strong enough to carry the mood I wish to create. I can’t restrict myself to one particular concept, although the vowels and consonants of the landscape’s alphabet dictate my phrases. Moving from Belgium to Australia has made me into a photographer in exile. As a permanent tourist I seek refuge in my images, trying to create a sense of belonging for myself. ” – Wouter Van de Voorde

Van de Voorde is an adventurer, an explorer. As a kid he was looking for places where he was overwhelmed by loneliness or a refined sentiment of fear and abandonment, wondering what was on the other side. Exploration, reconnaissance, training his eyes to see more stuff. Maybe it’s recognition of a child-like amazement, the thrill of discovery.

“ Pursuing originality is a waste of time to me. I often can’t really tell where my work ends and someone else’s continues. If my photography would be about trying to stand out from the crowd I would have to stop photographing like I’m a Google Street View car… The more I can erase my ego from my pictures the better. We are one gigantic body of photographing ants, a hive mind creating an ever expanding collection of data. ” – Wouter Van de Voorde

What is important for the photographer is that, even though his work might seem rather personal, he doesn’t think his personality matters that much. He attempts to make ‘objective’ representations of places that grab his attention. He doesn’t believe in uniqueness – we are all the same people; there are hundreds of photographers out there who could make exactly the same images -. He doesn’t believe art should be a manifestation of a person’s ego with all the little quirks and narratives. He believes in strong images and attempts to achieve some degree of objectivity in his photographs. He love central compositions – there is certain honesty in placing the object of interest right in the middle of the frame and using straight lines and as little distortion as possible -.