May 25, 2020
Feline is a Social Worker and self-taught Belgian photographer who uses photography as a way to connect with other people, and at the same time, to document her daily life and her surroundings. Inspired by quotidian happenings and the "small things in life", Feline possess a fascinating style that makes us engage with her subjects and reflect about their happenings and conversations. With her uncomplicated but expressive takes, Feline conveys a relaxed atmosphere, which is as well intriguing and mysterious.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
FDC - My name is Feline De Coninck. I am 28 years old and living and working in Ghent (Belgium). I grew up in the countryside near Ghent with my parents, my older Brother Brecht and our dog, Bessy. I have a Bachelor Degree in Social Work and started working as a social worker 7 years ago (already!). I've always been fascinated by people and the lives they live. So, having conversations, trying to solve problems and listening, are aspects which are essential in my job. It seems to me that this is nowadays more important than ever!
Since my job is quite demanding, I like to focus on other things in my free time like for example photography. I didn't study photography, but I don't like to think about it that much. I like to focus more on connecting to and having a conversation with my subject while photographing. I recently started developing my own photos in my father's darkroom. The process of developing became some sort of a therapy for me.
I really like the balance between my photography and my job as a social worker. I wouldn't want it any other way.
am - How did you start in photography?
FDC - Photography is something I grew up with as a child. It has always been around. My father was always seeking for an image that he could capture and I can’t think of him not holding a camera. I became more and more curious and wanted to spend time with my father in the darkroom, it started to lure me as a sort of haven.
Whenever my father showed the results of his work, my love for photography got kindled unconsciously. I am grateful that my parents gave me an education where there was room for art in general.
During primary school, I got disposable cameras under the guise of “toys to play with”. When I got older, my father gave me a digital reflex camera and later on I found some analogue cameras of my grandfather in the attic. It is with these cameras that I discovered my preference towards analogue photography. And when I graduated, I got a Leica M6 from my father (I feel so lucky). I would say that my father is my one and only mentor.
Personally, the challenge with analogue photography lies in the fact that I need to understand the “moment” I want to capture, rather than the looking for that perfect snapshot. It is in the search for that “moment” I find solace. At first, I took photos leisurely, but soon I realised that the process of taking photos was a way of expressing myself and an outlet for my feelings. My photos could phrase what I couldn’t say in words.
am - What inspires your work?
FDC - Are the little things in our daily lives that affect me as a photographer; observing people, being with beloved ones (as well as being alone), the soothing presence of nature, the beauty of stormy weather. These are examples of things that keep my eyes open.
am - What are your main interests as an artist?
FDC - What excites me the most about photography is that you get enabled to be curious. While I‘m taking pictures, it fascinates me that people can be open and allow my presence for a brief moment in their personal lives, even though I barely know them. I account this to art in general, but photography allures to emotions that people tend to pass by in the rush of their daily lives. With my work I try to give a view in how I perceive the world and how I feel about certain things and people in my surroundings.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
FDC - That list is constantly changing and growing and it depends on how I am feeling. There are a lot of photographers who inspired me like Anders Petersen, Dirk Braeckman, Francesca Woodman, Saul Leiter, Vivian Maier, but as well contemporary photographers like Lina Scheynius, Lara Gasparotto, Margaret Lansink, Julie Van der Vaart, etc... In literature I'm fascinated by writers like Haruki Murakami, Connie Palmen, Johan Harstad and Siri Hustvedt. Music is also a very important part of my life. Big Thief, for example, has been very inspiring to me.
am - What is your favourite movie?
FDC - I can't pick one film in particular. I know I was completely blown away by 'La Meglio Gioventù' (Marco Tullio Giordana), 'Mommy' (Xavier Dolan) and 'La Double Vie de Véronique' (Krzysztof Kieślowski). Some of my favourite directors are: Xavier Dolan, David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Dardenne brothers, Almodovar...
am - What is your favourite photo book?
FDC - One of my favourite photo books is 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency' by Nan Goldin. It’s a ballad of love. It’s about men alone, women alone, women being beaten, men and women falling in and out of love, about living and dying. It’s a visual diary about life, about living in the moment. She talks about photographs creating their own memories. The pictures are really intriguing and she has been a big inspiration for me.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
FDC - Thank YOU!
All images © Feline De Coninck