The Brussels’ human landscape

Cities grew in the crossroads of commercial routes becoming an essential element of a territorial economic system. By exchanging goods, people also exchanged culture and knowledge. Thus, the cities became places of great diversity and heterogeneous population, the spaces for human interaction, the ultimate human habitat.

Brussels is still a crossroad, today and more than ever. Brussels is the place of political, military and economical exchange in a global scale and literally the crossroad of transnational transport networks (the North-South Junction is the world’s busiest railway tunnel). Despite international restrictions for human flows, national borders have proven to be very porous. Brussels as a global centrality keeps on attracting citizens from different latitudes into its relatively small territory. As a consequence Brussels has reinvented its urban landscape in order to provide infrastructure, square meters and a global image for this exchange to happen. Nevertheless, at the human scale, the traditional urban places are still the stage that holds face to face human interaction. Besides the daily flows of joyful tourists, the native Bruxellois, the Flemish and Walloon communities, the expats, the immigrants and all the possible combination between them, have made of Brussels’ streets a showroom of the human race in all its shapes and colors.

Is quite surprising to think that on a daily basis more that 95% of the faces I encounter are totally new, unique combinations of facial features never seen before. Few weeks ago I stumbled upon the work of a Venezuelan photographer who decided to register this situation. Since his arrival to Brussels, Dani Oshi has been persistently keeping record of the great human diversity that inhabits Brussels spaces. By simply stopping passersby and kindly asking them to pose for him, Daniel has been able to capture the faces of strangers and to make some good friends. His online archive of portraits “faces and photography” is beautiful and stunning (as described by one of his followers) and is estimated to go beyond 1100 unique human faces, all neutral, all taken using the same light, the same composition and displayed in the same format.

For us, his work goes beyond the beauty of a single portrait or the interesting features of a single face; his work is about the whole. His collection of faces confronts the spectator with a vast and homogeneous mass of human faces, all different but all part of the same, reminding us that despite the great diversity in phenotypes, cultures, races and styles, we all belong to the same beautiful human landscape.

“Just remember you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else” (Margaret Mead)

(Text: Diego Luna Quintanilla // photos: Dani Oshi )


Photo gallery

Olivia Wobbe Olga Laetitia Johan Jeremy Florijn Cynthia Agathe