Rob Putseys is a self-taught photographer. For many years he practiced the art of making photographs for his travel agency Anders Reizen, which specialises in walking holidays all over the world. While prospecting new trips and as a tour guide, he took attractive photographs to illustrate the travel brochures and website of his company.
His inborn ethnographic interest led him to focus on people and their emotions. What intrigues him most is how ordinary people, living in poor conditions, never seem to loose their optimism, dignity or ‘savoir vivre’. It is his aspiration to capture their underlying dreams, expectations and feelings in portraits that arouse questions about the human condition.
Rob prefers walking and public transportation to get close to the people in remote villages and small cities. As a street photographer he makes impromptu snapshots, trying to capture the decisive moment, always steering clear of staging and mis-en-scène. Rob prefers his photos to be ‘as finished as possible’ while taking them, limiting digital manipulation to aesthetic retouching. Approaching people in a respectful manner when taking photographs is top priority for him. It is his intention to start spending more time at the same place in order to pierce deeper into the daily life of the people he portrays.
Recently, while travelling in Madagascar, he made a series of photos around the ritual of collective circumcision of young boys and the traditional way of bichique fishing by women, both in one of Madagascars tribes, the Antambahoaka. Compared to his earlier work which was characterized by single, standalone photos, this thematic approach marks a shift towards pure documentary photography, allowing him to dig deeper than ‘meets the eye’.
Over the past two years a selection of Rob’s work was on display in 17 cultural houses across Flanders. As of October 4, his solo exhibition “A World of Faces” including recent work will be open for public at CC Den Amer in Diest, Belgium.