Barbara Iweins is a photographer from Brussels who is drawn to people’s eccentricity, beauty, and all things aesthetic. Nine years ago, she started a project called “Au Coin de ma Rue,” which translates to “At the Corner of My Street.” after she decided to accept this obsession. She bought a camera with a 50 mm lens and took pictures of random people.

This project covers her interaction with different people in the streets and took her years to complete it. Each year, she has a different them and in the fourth year, she decided to capture people and see how they look in the morning and at night. Hence, the 7 A.M./7 P.M. project.

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According to Barbara, “I always wonder what makes me turn to look at one passer-by rather than another when I am mostly indifferent to the rest. I observe them a few seconds and I try to imagine what they are thinking while they are walking. If I had the guts of Sophie Calle, I would amuse myself to follow them for a while but I don’t have this delicious audacity.”

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She also added that due to the domination of social networks, selfies and posting images and videos are widely accepted today. So, people are more welcoming when photographers ask to take their photos. However, 7 years ago, things were quite different. When she asked strangers to pose for her, they were shy and hid in bags, cell phones, etc. Plus, they had an awkward pose, like bending their legs and even their heads.

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Although people are more confident, Barbara wants to capture people’s innocence. So, she decided to catch them when they were most vulnerable. Through this, she was able to see the natural look of people. In an ordinary eye, these photos may not look perfect but to her, authenticity is everything.

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How she did this project was to take their photos at 7 P.M. and then she’d come back, wake them up, and take their photos again at 7 A.M. For Barbara, people are most vulnerable and real the moment they first open their eyes in the morning. 

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According to her, “I [have] always adored this ‘fighting’ moment when our conscious gets out of the irreality of dreams to face reality just the moment before the world hurts us.

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Before taking their pictures, Barbara said that it is evident to her that the person was “taking his face, his body, back in control.” Just a few seconds after, “the vulnerable human being was gone.”

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