True Colors

‘True Colors’ takes us along the streets of Brussels, an inspiring, yet challenging city with many faces. Some might say ‘you hate it or you love it’, but in the end it all comes down to the way you look at this bustling city. Is Brussels still the nostalgic, bourgeois city Jacques Brel so passionately praised in his songs? Maybe not, but instead it has become an international melting pot of cultures, traditions, and languages. A cosmopolitan city that reflects the diversity of society in a globalized world. A place with a soul for people of all ages, gender, nationalities, sexual orientations and social backgrounds.

While roaming the streets of Brussels, we cannot look past its international appeal. People from all over the world line up for the perfect picture at iconic attractions like the Atomium, Grand Place, Manneken-Pis, and many more. Tourists come and take their unfiltered impressions of Brussels back home. Meanwhile the daily life for the people of Brussels continues. People move around the city, going to or coming from work, waiting for public transport or enjoying moments between friends. We can see strangers passing each other on the street or celebrating together at festive events like the colorful Zinneke Parade where bridges are built between cultures, generations and social backgrounds. These moments of connection are very precious, especially against the backdrop of the anonymity that often prevails in big cities like Brussels.

However, Brussels is not free of struggles nor grief. When we cross a rainbow pedestrian crossing, we are reminded that we have to continue stimulating gay and transgender friendliness. When we see a mattress lying on the street, we realize that we often turn a blind eye to poverty and that not all people are given a worthy place in society. When we pass soldiers marching down the street, it takes us back to March 2016 when Brussels was the target of a terror attack and grief brought us together at the Brussels Stock Exchange. As the capital of the European Union and a major center for international politics, Brussels has often been subject to both justified and unjustified criticism.

In this photo essay 14 photographers show us the true colors of Brussels, in all its beauty and roughness at the same time. From the pulsing arteries of the city center to the quite solitude of the backstreets. From the tourist chasing the perfect picture to the fullness of every hour in the daily life of the people living in Brussels. From the terror that tried to polarize to the colors of diversity that reunite. Walk with these photographers and let them show you the streets of Brussels. A city that leaves no one indifferent.

‘True Colors’ is an ongoing project by the Brussels Street Photography Festival and Cakri in collaboration with Diana Di Nitto, featuring the work of 34 local and international photographers.

Text by Diana Di Nitto / Photos (from top to bottom): Barry Talis, Eric Herchaft, Fabricio Santos, Flaviano D’Erasmo, Ivan Put, Jeffrey De Keyser,  Kevin Scarlett, Kristin Van den Eede, Luc Auwaerts, Sebastian Franco, Meuris Merlin, Michel Zeicher,  Kevin Scarlett, Pierre Daxhelet and Vespa Rous.