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Artist Profile: Yves de Brabander

by Justin Violini - May 2010


From Antwerp comes the "minimalistic dormant boyroticism" of photographer Yves de Brabander. 

Through the series of network connections via the ever so lovely Facebook I came across Yves and studied his site, wall posts and what not for about a week. 

It is sort of funny the read and reaction you can get from people based on this.  I still wasn't sure, but I approached him about The Fearless Project and submitting something for Instant or just as an artist contributor for the site/blog. I had just come off of two encounters where I was told that I was "setting art back" and "the type of person that someone should not piss on if they were on fire"...so you can understand my hesitations.

Influenced by Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin and Larry Clark I instantly became attracted and intrigued by his work that often explores the relationship of boyhood as it relates from intimate scenes in the bathtub with a lover to the unfamiliar and large surroundings of the Scandinavian tundra. 

Yves' goal through photography is to "uncover an emotional momentum-snap of the model's inner feelings" through he channels through the style of the American snapshot-photographers in an updated and contemporary aesthetic.

Best explained by Yves "I tend to isolate, mentally locking them up in a place far from home.  I want to create a fashionable semi-erotic report of individuals in an environment they have never seen before. do they feel comfortable? How do they react? Do they start jumping around naked or do they crawl in a little corner behind the couch...?"  In a similar fashion I drew my own inspriation from this with a video for a Fearless fan where he came over, I gave him a jock strap and started filming him up on my roof which is over looked by other apartments and a high-rise luxury hotel.

Working in this way Yves is "happy doing [his] own things, following [his] heart and shooting the images trapped in [his] head."  He no longer has to justify in school the sexist or homophobic comments like "Yves, you've been shooting boys again" made by teachers and peers.  

However, he senses looming wave of homophobia that is overcoming Central Europe where "men aren't supposed to be pictured naked in vulnerable situations or settings."  The lazy critic easily identifies such work as pornographic and can easily cause people to turn away from the work without actually delving into the meaning of the photo.  They are not nude or exposed to be sexual, they are vulnerable. As a flagrant disregard of that Yves has submitted a nude FEARLESS submission and will be sending in a Polaroid for "Instant".

Yves is afraid of clowns. Coulrophobia

selfportrait in antwerp studio
Selfportrait in Antwerp studio. 2020
at work in antwerp studio
At work in Antwerp studio. 2020