MEDITERRANEAN. THE CONTINUITY OF MAN
BY NICK HANNES
Nick Hannes (Belgium, 1974) graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium, in 1997. After working as a freelance photojournalist for ten years, he decided to fully concentrate on self-initiated, long term documentary projects. He published 3 books: ‘Red Journey’ (2009, a documentary about transition in the former Soviet Union), ‘Tradities’ (2011, on traditions and party culture in Flanders), and ‘Mediterranean. The Continuity of Man’ (2014, a portrait the Mediterranean region). He is currently working on ‘The Expanding City ‘(worktitle), a project about urban transformation and consumerism in the United Arab Emirates. Since 2008 Hannes teaches documentary photography at KASK / The School of Arts in Ghent.
“The Pacific may have the most changeless ageless aspect of any ocean, but the Mediterranean Sea celebrates the continuity of man.” (quote by Ernle Bradford)
Rich in history and blessed with a pleasant climat, the Mediterranean is the most popular tourist destination in the world. Over 200 million tourists flock to the Mediterranean beaches every year, putting great pressure on its natural scenery. At the same time the Med functions as an unintentional castle-moat around Fortress Europe. Despite the danger, thousands of desperate immigrants from Africa and Asia continuously attempt to cross the water in shabby boats. From 2010 to 2014, I travelled the length and breadth of the Mediterranean shores, documenting various contemporary issues such as tourism, urbanization and migration in 20 different countries. While I was working on this project, the region continuously hit the headlines: crisis in Greece, the Arab Spring, boat refugees on Lampedusa, wars in Libya, Syria, and Gaza. ‘Mediterranean. The Continuity of Man’ is a caleidoscopic portrait of the region that is considered to be the cradle of civilisation. In my images I try to capture the paradoxes of this region and the spirit of the time. ‘Here, at this crossroads of space and time, where the ancient sea indifferently links or divides people; here, just like in Nick Hannes’ photos, people are coincidental passers-by in the unscrupulous, ever repeating spectacle that we call ‘History’.’ (quote by Michael De Cock).