The Unremarkable Flemish Coast

Why go surfing in Australia when you could go to the West Flemish Coast? Eva Roefs shows us her answer.

When planning a vacation to unwind and to break predictable patterns, people tend to fly to far-flung corners of the earth to get away from it all. Few people choose the Belgian coast, and that’s exactly why photographer Eva Roefs booked her trip there.

Roefs explained to the British Journal of Photography, “I started thinking, ‘Why go to Australia, Canada or South America when beauty can also be found at my neighbour’s house? So I decided to go to Belgium, where people have smaller holidays that aren’t particularly fancy. It’s just family, the sea, food – not very good food – and animals, all together. It’s not at all like going to surf in Australia or going to Dubai to see big buildings. It really is the root of holidays and how they began.”

Roefs, who is also the Volkskrant Magazine photo editor, was onto something when she decided to walk around the North Sea coast accompanied by her camera and flash. She captured the absurdity of Belgian life (the photo of the “Jennifer” trailer is case in point) without dehumanizing her subjects. Her photos have a spirit of Martin Parr but she manages not to mock the people she photographed.

“It doesn’t matter where you are going; you can always find beautiful scenes, beautiful people and beautiful moments, that’s the feeling that I get with the west Flemish coast. It’s not a very remarkable place but it is super interesting when you make it beautiful through your own vision,” according to Roefs. 

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