Every Monday and Tuesday we show on our FOTODOK Instagram work of international students about family. With this Instagram Take-Over we want to give young makers a platform. This week we introduce the Belgian photographer Dinaya Waeyaert. Dinaya is recently studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Gent. Her very personal series ‘WAEYAERT’ touched our hearts deeply. Read her story here:
“In 1990 there was a robbery on the train from Brussels to Milan on which my father was on duty. At the border of Switzerland- Italy he was found dead in a sleeping compartment.”
Please tell us something about the series you are showing on our Instagram.
“My series is called ‘WAEYAERT’ referring to my last name and it contains black and white pictures shot with an analogue Hasselblad camera. The subject I worked on for a couple of months is about my father who has been dead since I was four months old. He worked for the firm ‘Wagon-Lits’ that was known for their sleeping trains that went through Europe. In 1990 there was a robbery on the train from Brussels to Milan on which my father was on duty. At the border of Switzerland- Italy he was found dead in a sleeping compartment.
Twenty-five years later, I took my camera and got on the train that made the exact same route as my father did. Because I had never known this person I wanted to make some of my own memories through visiting places that he had also seen and feel the same things that he had felt by getting on that train.”
Which role does the idea of family plays in your work?
“Because of the absence of my father I was raised by only my mother and I didn’t know what it was like to have a father figure. Therefore I couldn’t really miss anything. I was just too young to remember what it would be like. I never really asked my mother much about the death of my father, but when I started my work I didn’t have any other choice. This series opened a lot of old boxes that contained so much lost memories that it not only showed me more of that unknown person, but it also gave me a closer connection to my mother.”
What is your favorite photo and could you tell us why?
“My favorite photo is the only one I didn’t shoot for myself. The series begin with a found photo of my father laying dead in a coffin, a photo that was taken by my mother. I claimed that photo and made it my own by reworking it.
I don’t know why I am so drawn to this picture, most persons see it as a very confronting picture but for me it is not. I am just very happy I found the photo somewhere hidden, and made it something I can always look back at as a beautiful image.”
Can you tell us something about your first coming goal in future?
“What I am working on now is something completely different. I changed from black and white to color photography, also with an analogue camera. I’m making a visual diary about myself and my surroundings by putting young people before my camera and showing them how they are in the present. Something that we can all look back at when we are older. I’m trying to put my own life on frame and building some memories for myself so I can always be remembered of the time and place we live in right now. The series collect the joy of life combined with the experimental years we go through in our young adolescence transition towards adulthood.”