As It May Be by Bieke Depoorter
Signed copies available in NL-FR-UK
The dividing line between private and public is a white lace curtain in the visitor’s room.
Magnum photographer Bieke Depoorter has visited Egypt regularly since 2011. She first went there during the Arab Spring. Travelling through the country, Depoorter set out to explore the downside of the uprising. During this time of great uncertainty and mistrust, each day she would look for a new place to spend the night, preferably with a family in their home. Looking beyond the news and the politics, she searched for the intimate moments that often happen at home.
Though Bieke Depoorter was greeted hospitably, initially she was never invited in. She sensed that people wished to protect their privacy, and felt it would be impossible to gain people’s trust. But it was precisely the impossibility of the task that attracted her.
Her quest for trust was the start of a long journey. An encounter would often begin with a cup of tea and lots of sugar, an invitation from a woman cooling off on her front of doorstep in the evening. Visitors would be given a bed in the guest room, where the chairs have gold legs and Chinese teacups unused since the wedding party stand in the cabinet. The dividing line between private and public is a white lace curtain in the visitor’s room. Beyond that, a pan of lentils stands on the stove, hair is plaited and a school uniform hangs on a hook.
As I kept trying to connect, I gradually became more aware of my status as an outsider, both culturally and as a photographer. I still remained a visitor from the West, a woman, a photographer.B.D