Traditions in Flanders

Saint Antony celebration

Nick Hannes (B) “Traditions in Flanders”. Saint Antony celebration

For more than a year Nick Hannes has been traveling and photographing traditions, rituals and celebrations in Belgium. Well known or small-scale, universal or local, old-fashioned or modern, religious or secular, Flemish, Jewish or Turkish.

Many traditions and festivals over the years have been modernized. His project “Traditions in Flanders” investigates the current state of affairs and examines the traditions transformed over time by immigration. The advent of new traditions, brought a lot of decay. Original handmade costumes have been replaced by mass-produced masks. Look at the guy, wearing a costume of fries during jewish fest Purim, a woman running into the sea with rabbit ears and tail, that links it to the Playboy bunny, even if the celebration is about the Year of the Rabbit…

Old traditions have mixed up with pop-culture and archaic rituals became difficult to understand for a modern man. Slaughtered pigs laying in church near the altar, decorated with slices of oranges and heads of pigs with ribbons or heroes of the past, nowadays looks like a misunderstanding. The fading knowledge of the original iconography and backgrounds of these festivities, many things look paradoxically or even comically.

Nick Hannes

graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent (B) in 1997. After ten years of working as a freelance photojournalist, he got frustrated by not having enough time left to realize his own projects. Instead of being an executer of someone else’s instructions, he decided to become an author, and to concentrate fully on self-initiated long term documentary/artistic projects, mostly about social-political issues. In 2009 he published his first photobook ‘Red Journey’, a documentary about the 15 former Soviet republics. ‘Red Journey’, awarded the Nikon Press Photo Award Belgium 2008, investigates the remains of the communist past and tendencies that emerged after the fall of the USSR. In 2011 he made the book ‘Tradities’, on assignment. It’s a personal interpretation of traditions and party culture in Flanders. He is currently working on the project ‘The Continuity of Man’, a book about the Mediterranean region.

From 2008 onwards Nick Hannes teaches documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (recently renamed School of Arts) in Ghent. He is represented by agencies Hollandse Hoogte (Amsterdam) and Cosmos (Paris). His works have been exhibited in FotoMuseum (Antwerp), Bozar Centre for Fine Arts (Brussels), Flanders Center (Osaka), Breda Photo (Breda), Visa Pour l’Image (Perpignan) and published in Le Monde 2, Paris Match, Photo District News, de Volkskrant, Der Spiegel amongst others.

Nick Hannes (B) "Traditions in Flanders". Preparing for Ros Beiaard

Nick Hannes (B) “Traditions in Flanders”. Preparing for Ros Beiaard