Over the period of a year, I visited the eighteen countries of the Eurozone. I steered clear of their major cities, and was not looking for photogenic sites. I was anything but a tourist. My destination was the centre point of the smallest circle that could be drawn around each country on the map. For a week I went round and round in that little circle, immersing myself in everyday life, walking up and down the same streets, letting people and the environment come to me. And the other way round – going out to the people and their environment.

Usually I ended up in an almost forgotten village. Geographically diverse, but always emotionally recognizable. I started chatting with the locals, often in sign language. Sometimes they invited me in and I joined them at table. The camera around my neck and the fact of traveling alone aroused both curiosity and suspicion. Day after day, I captured images of the stories I found there. Look closely, I have learned, and you will find stories everywhere.

—Gert Verbelen

Inner Circle of Europe
Photographs by Gert Verbelen
Publisher: Hannibal, Veurne, 2015