Bert Danckaert


Over the next few weeks, excerpts from the essay ‘THE EXTRAS’ will be published on this blog. Whilst the book was deliberately published without images, the author has decided that, for this online publication, to make visual references to works mentioned in the text alongside photographs he made in Mumbai as part of the project ‘Simple Present’.

A photographer lands on a film set in Bollywood. He wants to photograph décors as part of his PhD research in the arts. Posing as an extra, he infiltrates the set of Tezz, a romantic terrorist film. But nothing goes as the photographer had imagined. In among thirty other extras, he winds up on the least photogenic set. During the long day’s shoot he enters into various conversations about photography and society, with the overpopulated and poverty-stricken Mumbai and its surrealistic Bollywood featured as the backdrop.

The Extras is about how doubt and incapacity drive the artistic process. The book is also a reflection on the oeuvre of photographers working along the boundaries of fiction and reality in a globalized world, where it is increasingly difficult to take a clear position (or photographic point of view).

Bert Danckaert is a photographer and professor of photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He received a PhD in 2014 from the University of Tilburg (NL), with his thesis “The Extras” and photography book Simple Present. Bert Danckaert regularly writes about photography for the contemporary art magazine <H>ART.

The book appeared in Dutch as DE EXTRA’S in 2013. Published by EPO. Paperback 117 pages.
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The English translation was published by Jap Sam Books in 2016. Soft cover, 80 pages.
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