The title of his second photo book ‘Waiting Walking Working part II’ is a reference to the WWW or World Wide Web. The book was subtitled ‘On the way to no man’s land’, which means that the pictures are about waiting, walking and working, everywhere and nowhere.
Bernard Noffels (68) is a creative cultural centipede. In September 2020, he published a collection of poems Scratching time was published, his first photo book came out in April 2021 Waiting Going Working and now he proudly displays his second photo book.
“The common thread in my photo book? That we are more alike than we think”, says Bernard with a smile and ties his long flowing gray hair in a small ponytail. The book looks sober, like the first, but is impressive. You read and look and look again. The life of ordinary people in everyday life, here in Belgium as well as in Cuba, Lisbon, Berlin or elsewhere. Each picture is a snapshot and a little story in itself, and all the pictures together tell the story of people like you and me.
Bernard Noffels won the Culture Prize 2021 in Kuurne. He is primarily active as a photographer, but is also a member of various cultural associations, was a member and chairman of the cultural council for many years and is chairman of Fotocollectief Retina. He was the initiator and jury member of the Cultuurprijs for five years and he has been organizing the Kuurne Comedy Festival through Curieus Kuurne for about ten years now. So a busy bee, still.
When asked whether he plans to continue writing poetry or participate in photo exhibitions, like last year at Track & Trace in Kortrijk, he replies: “For me, photography is the poetry of life. It was never planned. There are still many ideas in my head, but when they will become reality, I really can’t say. I don’t sit still, I’m always working on some cultural project.”
My photography is everyday poetry
“But first and foremost I’m a photographer,” he continues. “For me, photography is the art of observation. It’s about seeing something interesting in an ordinary place. It was written in the stars that there would be a sequel to my first book Waiting Walking Works – Part I because during the compilation of my first photo book I found that I still had more than enough material to fill at least one more book, apart from the photos that were added afterwards. This release was subtitled ‘On the Road to No Man’s Land’, indicating that this is a continuation of a journey that started some time ago and has not yet ended. It is the journey to eternal oblivion.” Bernard pauses for a moment and then continues: “The common thread that people everywhere in the world follow stereotypical patterns, have the same needs and wants, perform the same actions and that we are much more alike than we think remains the same as in my first book. The book tells something about how we move in life towards the ultimate absence, towards remembrance and oblivion. I especially appreciate the simplicity of the ordinary, of the daily routine, of the coincidences that give color to our little stories, of the unexpected and the beauty of simplicity, and I try to document this through my pictures of people everywhere and nowhere. “
The images in this second book are often gruesome and mainly tell the lives of ordinary people. “I prefer to photograph people when they are not aware of my presence. While they are preoccupied with something or someone worthy of their attention. Leader. listens to. think. waiting. Working. On the way to something or someone. In this way I can capture the openness of my images. Observe without disturbing their intimacy. Without my camera impressing or intimidating them and making them assume some awkward pose, it’s just a matter of looking good. Very occasionally our eyes meet, and then there is a brief moment of complicity, with a certain shared intimacy. We’ve been allies for a while, and that’s the beauty of it”, concludes Bernard. (ADM)
The book ‘Waiting, Walking Working Part II’ can be ordered through the publisher Boekscout: https://www.boekscout.nl/shop2/boek. php?bit=13391. Information: paperback, 24 x 21 cm, 154 pages, price: 26.50 euros (incl. shipping costs in Belgium and the Netherlands) or via Bernad Norffels himself: email@example.com.