New Antwerp gallery opens with big name in photography


De Morgen photographer Tim Dirven's documentary work is on view in Vander Weyden Gallery's first-ever show

Gallery owner says Dirven's work was chosen for its timelessness

Tim Dirven is one of the biggest names in Belgian press and documentary photography. A selection of his work is now on show in the brand new Vander Weyden Gallery in Antwerp.

Anyone who’s had even a glance at the newspaper De Morgen has seen one of Dirven’s photos. Apart from De Morgen, the 45-year-old photographer has also worked for international magazines such as Time and National Geographic. In 1997 and ’98, he was awarded the prize for best Belgian press photographer, and later he received a World Press Photo Award. He has work from several conflict areas, like as Afghanistan, Eritrea and Rwanda.

“The works of Tim Dirven transcend the photography of the moment,” explains Patrick Vander Weyden, the man behind the new gallery. “Therefore, we selected photos from his documentary work, not from his work as a press photographer. I see them as both social and abstract images. In the photos from Afghanistan, for example, everyone will immediately recognise that it is about Afghanistan, but these are not the images that you see in the daily news. There is a certain timelessness to them, a kind of layering. They transcend the present in a certain way. That is why the photos have not  lost their strength after so many years.”

Dirven’s work is laced with a strong social conscience. He shows us the commoners in their everyday reality, usually in high-contrast black and white. “I want to show committed and passionate photographers,” says Vander Weyden. “Hence the choice to open with the work of Tim Dirven. It shows an openness to the world, to its beauty, but also to its conflicts.”

Vander Weyden Gallery chooses one of the biggest names in Belgian press photography for its inaugural exhibition.

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