(Un)expected is a memorable photo project about the coping process of surviving relatives of suicides in West Flanders.

In 2008 my mother took her life and just recently a friend did the same. West Flanders, the region where I grew up, has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe, one and a half times higher than the European average and twice as many as the Netherlands. Every month in West-Flanders 20 people commit suicide.

During my research I came into contact with people who had experienced a suicide of a loved one. For some this happened totally unexpected, for another the traumatic event was not unexpected at all.

About the Book
(Un)expected contains five stories about the grief of survivors of suicide and the way people cope with their loss in different ways: the sadness, the grieving process, but also the attempts at finding a new way to live.

There is the story of Hanne who takes a daily walk to the woods for months to sit by the tree where Ime took his life. We see how my father who continues to perform household tasks on autopilot after my mother’s death. How José repeatedly feels the emotion on the train ride as she passes the spot where Steven left his life. The pain and the fight against depression of Kris who lost her son. And the children of Walter who have to cope with the loss of their mother.

I hope that the book will play a socially useful role, and that it is seen by caregivers, general practitioners, specialists, nurses and students in psychology, psychiatry and social work. But above all, I would like the book to be a support for survivors and make the taboo regarding suicide widely debatable.

Essay written by prof. Dirk De Wachter
208 x 290 mm | 144p | cahier | ENG

- Winner at Best Photobook of the Year award at PHotoEspaña (2017)
- Silver Medal for the »Best Book Design from all over the World« 2017 (Stiftung buchkunst)
- (Un)expected has been selected for The Best Dutch Book Design 2016 - dutch only

- Review by Colin Pantall
- Mentioned in 6 'Photobook of the Year'-lists (2016): Martin Amis, Laura El-Tantawy, Awoiska van der Molen, Robin Titchener, Josef Chladek, Yumi Goto
- "A smart unintrusive design makes this one of the most memorable photobooks of the year." Martin Amis (Photobookstore)
Virtual bookshelf of Josef Chladek

OAI13: 'Comment le livre photo a permis à mon sujet d’exister' - french only
Tique art paper: 'Six questions: Peter Dekens'
De Volkskrant about Photobook Belge - dutch only
- Article in dS Weekblad (De Standaard) - dutch only
Interview with Rob van Hoesel (Braakland/ Fomu) - dutch only
- Mentioned in CPHMag (Jörg Colberg): "The Forms and Functions of Photobooks (3)"

- (Un)expected was selected for 'Photobook Belge', the reference on Belgian photo books from 1854 to present. A publication and exhibition by FOMU (Fotomuseum Antwerp)
- Three Belgians are represented at the ‘Photobook Phenomenonon’ exhibition: Peter Dekens, Geert Goiris and Sébastien Van Malleghem.
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