Renier de Bruyn is a diffuser of smiles. Traversing Namibia, his country, he meets and tells the life stories of those that the world would like to forget. Throughout his portraits, this young photographer shows us that joy is a treasure that cannot be bought.
Situated on the west coast of southern Africa, Namibia is a land of dust. Consisting of two deserts and an arid plateau, only 1% of its land is cultivated. It is in this setting that Renier de Bruyn participated in the meeting of the inhabitants of his country. A true lover of the human race, he seeks to prove the dignity of those who live in poverty. "I try to discover their stories, to prove that these people are happy. They really fight. Their problems are true and more serious than what we can imagine. But hope remains."
It is in the middle of rural areas, where nobody would expect to see developing life, where Renier de Bruyn finds his models. Fascinated by their capacity to survive, he has set a purpose to tell the world, simply, that they exist. Avoiding populated tours with the empty gazes, he goes where no visitors are expected. "Most of the time, they are happy to see new faces and are very inviting, the children especially".
His photos carry the spontaneity of the event and the movement of life. The game, the cheerfulness, the complicity are read on the faces fixed in black and white. Covered with earth, the dark skins offer a simple poetry which the sincere gazes fully support. The camera flash, against the sunlight, sometimes creates halos on the faces here in this land of light. Contrasted, his photos carry the influence of the famous Brazilian photojournalist: Sebastião Salgado.
Working with the abandoned populations of Brazil, he is a major representative of social photography. "All his work is so full of emotion and each angle tells a story. I want to be like him one day.".
For Renier de Bruyn, the contrast is also a way to express how he sees his life, full of dissimilarities: "I like going from one extreme to another, it is maybe what I transfer to my photos while editing". When, he is not traveling, Renier is a journalist, like his parents.
Submersed very early in photography, he was sensitized to light, to framing, and the importance of the subject at an early age.
At 17 years old, his mother gave him her old film camera and he was in the seventh heaven. When he finished high school he got an apprenticeship at a local TV station, owned by Paul van Schalkwyk, a well known film maker and photographer. There he learned film and photography. Since then, Renier has continued on his path and lives at the rhythm of the images he creates. They are portraits, but also buildings and materials damaged by time, music, animals... "I still have a long way to go before I consider myself good at what I do. But for now my life is an adventure and I intend to document the entire experience."