Let’s be honest. Vilvoorde doesn’t have the best reputation. For years Vilvoorde has the most run down train station imaginable. It looked absolutely terrible 10 years ago and it hasn’t improved much since. If you haven’t actually been in Vilvoorde, it’s probably the only thing you’ve seen. So you just assume the rest of the city is just as awful. 

I wasn't much different. It was my job that made me end up there, not the city. I worked in Vilvoorde for 8 years, from 2012 until 2020.

My first time in Vilvoorde was my first day of work. I wasn’t immediately convinced. It took me some years to get to know the city a little bit better. Vilvoorde is the kind of place that has a rough exterior, but if you get to know it better it shows its charm. The best way I can put is this: It’s like that song you don’t like at first, but get to love when you get to know all the little details that are put in there.
While I started working there, I was doing more and more photography. Sometimes I would go on a walk after work, taking my camera with me. While I made a lot of images I didn’t like, more and more I was starting to see the photographic potential. Unwittingly I had started a long running photo project with Vilvoorde as my subject. 

Near the end of working there I dedicated a few Sundays to this project. I wanted to give a piece of this photographic project to my colleagues as a way to say thank you. This subjective deadline gave me a push to edit the images and add a few more to round off this project.
Vilvoorde is a small working class city at the crossroads of society. There is a large industrial and logistical part to Vilvoorde. In this area you often find homes at the edge of factories, which make for interesting subjects. There are remnants of a christian catholic past. You’ll find little chapels and churches all around this city. Again you’ll find other purposes creeping in. 

When photographing Vilvoorde you can really feel how this once provincial town has grown but still hasn’t found its definitive shape. It’s that mix and that conflict between these elements that make it an interesting place to visit.  

Most of all, it’s a lesson that there are opportunities to be creative everywhere. We just need to stay curious, open our eyes to what we see as worthwhile, even if this isn’t always apparent at first glance. 

Thank you Vilvoorde for the great years.  
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