MR BEHLAU, I PRESUME?
The first time I met Dirk face to face was in Belgium a couple of years back just after the release of his last book, Inkarnation. For one of those reasons that are a complete mystery, we felt as though we had met a thousand times before and were simply picking up the threads of a lifelong friendship - in the most manly sense of the phrase, of course. When that chemistry kicks in, it's a walk in the park to work with somebody in absolute trust. Believe me, the work we do might be fun but it has to be right and hit the target first time, every time, otherwise it becomes a lot less fun very, very quickly. There's no second chances when it comes to publishing material that will be paraded in public.
Anyway, down to the important stuff.
My task for this epiloque, was to figure out how to let the world know what makes Dirk's photography so damn good, so accessible and attractive. Basically, some kind of explanation as to why the hell anybody would want to buy ALIVE, let alone be interested in it.
The answer is easy.
It's that damn good because he cares.
He shoots nothing he doesn't care about - that's one of the things we had in common from the beginning. If you don't care, don't do it. Why waste your time giving somebody only half of your attention? All or nothing is the only way because passion is infectious when it comes to words and pictures - and I always know when one of Dirk’s photographs has struck the killing blow when that single picture says more than I ever can wielding the entire alphabet.
I’ve also got to say here that Pixeleye is a more than suitable name for Dirk to brand his company. Hell, it IS Dirk. He's got this magical ability to frame the shot in his head before he even starts work. The picture is taken long before he ever holds the camera up. The camera is nothing but a tool to capture what he sees in his head - you only need to be in his company for five minutes to figure out that this is what he's doing. While that might also be true of most professional photographers twenty years ago, it’s certainly not normal anymore. In an era when you can rattle off thousands of shots and hope for the best, working Dirk's way is an art form in itself.
In fact, it’s a crying shame that Dirk is most notorious to those who have an eye on underground culture but as with all things that succeed in that kind of environment - such as Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, The B52's - when you do something well enough and for long enough, you begin to dissolve seamlessly into the mainstream and great things can happen.
I believe it's known as a 'ten year overnight success'.
Not that it matters.
Dirk's photography doesn't answer to anybody and so long as he keeps doing his thing, everything will be just fine.