Sebastian Steveniers

‘Bosfights/Live Free’

Hooliganism has disappeared, but the fights never stopped. Fighters who fought for their clubs found a new home: remote forests. Teams now engage in organized combats, with rules – and strict secrecy.

Bosfights occur in Eastern Europe, but also in Belgium. Why do men do this? Three years ago I started trying to access this hermetically sealed world.

Doors opened hesitantly. The search absorbed me. I was arrested and imprisoned for three weeks. Legal officials think I’m involved in the fights. My images were confiscated. I still didn’t get anything back. Police and prosecutor simply point at each other.

But still I worked on. I recovered small parts of years of labor. Of thousands of images, I saved forty. I added newspaper articles, interrogations, testimonies, screen shots, my captivity diary. Smartphone screenshots, on which I appear as a photographer among the fighters. My goal once was to document forest fights. Involuntarily, I became part of my own work.

KASK, Fotografie, Gent / 2014