Belgian Blue Blood, 2016
“The portrait of the aristocrat is an art that is practiced less and less. In literature, in cinema, in the visual arts, apart from a few rare specimens, one cannot say that the subject is of interest. From time to time, a documentary appears, defending or denouncing an aspect of the aristocracy, and we are then forced to have an opinion. On the newsstands, a few social magazines feature a glamorous and phantasmagorical aristocracy. While in universities, rare historians and sociologists carefully observe the aristocracy and its demographic decline.
Here we are in front of 96 photographs of Belgian aristocrats and 28 photographs of details of their lives. The author of this series is neither a scientist nor a journalist. There is no rational criterion of sociological sampling or objective of information, praise or denunciation. Rip Hopkins does not respond to any commission: neither from the people photographed, nor from a cultural, scientific, political institution, nor from a private company. It is an autonomous artistic approach.
Having broken with the practice of portraiture, the photographer wanted to perpetuate, in his time, the art of portraiture of the aristocrat, in the country where he lives: Belgium. He brings together a democratic medium (photography) and a community of people whose relationship to the image is as old as the link to name and blood.
In this digital, selfies, facebook era, what is the value of a photo portrait today? Hyper-consumable, our digital reflections are less and less fixed on a material support, they volatilize and multiply infinitely.”
(Extract from the text Aristocracy, millennium three by Pauline de La Boulaye in Belgian Blue Blood. Rip Hopkins, éditions Filigranes, France, 2015).