Gert Verbelen’s ‘The Inner Circle’
We published some photos from the project ‘The Inner Circle’ by photographer Gert Verbelen in our annual magazine, Common Ground.
“The Inner Circle is my quest for the essence of Europe. For me that meant: Not the Europe of tomorrow, but the Europe of yesterday, the Europe we all came from. Many of the places I visited are still alive in the stories family members tell each other, but not so much in real time. Many of these geographical centres of the countries of the eurozone have seen middle aged persons leave. It’s the elderly and the young families who keep these places alive. These are places people leave, not places people flock to. I did not prepare my visits, did not do much research, even though I had to book a bed and breakfast or arrange for couch-surfing. But I wanted to act like I would have been dropped, blindfolded, in another reality.”
“During my stays in these almost forgotten villages, I would walk around, taking photos. Up to 800 a day. Because I did limit myself to staying with the village boundaries, I could return to spots on different occasions. In the evenings I would start making selections and in my dreams that process just continued. Many of the photos that ended up in the book were not selected on rational arguments but on the feeling they needed to be in. I hope they reflect what this project turned out to be all about: showing these places are as much the beating heart of Europe as the mirror palaces in metropoles.”