/ Isabelle Pateer / Photo story


Unsettled (2008 – 2021) is a long term project on change and environment and addresses a current topic with global relevance. The series documents the evolution of the Antwerp harbour expansion zone in Belgium which finds itself on a competing global position for container traffic. The area is undergoing major transitions through vast Industrial expansions and related nature compensation plans imposed by the European Union to balance the industrial growth with ecological areas and protect the hinterland against rising sea levels.

Starting from this local Belgian example the Unsettled project refers to a global tendency of industrial, economic and environmental shifts and the challenge to balance these elements for a sustainable future.

The series shows layered landscapes of the transforming area, either for industrial or compensating nature targets, interior images of abandoned houses in the endangered village of Doel and portraits of young inhabitants in the area who will need to migrate because of the harbour expansion and nature compensation plans.

The project touches upon notions such as progress, change, ecology, climate change, sustainability, rising sea levels, global trade, value of land, migration, and the connection between identity and surrounding.

Isabelle Pateer (1980) is a Belgian photographer who holds a Master in Fine Arts (2003, Brussels) and works as a (freelance) art and documentary photographer on personal series as well as commissioned work for International clients among which The New York Times and Financial Times.