This spring, an exhibition at FIFTY ONE gallery entitled "By Accident" presents the first ever exhibition of Marcel De Baer’s images. His grandson, Erik Bulckens, a director of commercials and documentaries, is releasing this extraordinary archive.
Between 1961 and 1980, Marcel De Baer was a collision expert for the public prosecutor's office in Oudenaarde, Belgium. He then took pictures of each traffic accident, and reported the past events. Although De Baer's mission was purely informative, his images have a fascinating, unusual beauty, despite their macabre theme.
To these photos of dented car bodies, car wrecks, skid marks or even blood spatters, De Baer annotated arrows, numbers and other scientific sketches to trace the narratives in the investigation files.
In these strangely frozen images, the metal seems to rest almost peacefully in the morning mist. Most of the accidents occurred in the early hours of the day, when streets were empty. A ghostly impression that thickens the film noir atmosphere of these photos.