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Marcel De Baer Archive

The Negatives Collection

Marcel De Baer Archive

Marcel De Baer Archive. The Negatives #478

I stumbled upon an archive of my grandfather's work, which blew my mind because it contained so many great photos. I realized that if nobody did anything with it, it would either be thrown away or end up in some unknown place. So I started selecting and archiving the photos. In a way, my role changed from being a director to being a curator of this work. Erik Bulckens

The Negatives Collection is a body of work derived from the archives of Marcel De Baer, a collision investigator who documented accident scenes in Belgium during the 1960s and 70s. Over years of developing a photographic system to document accidents, De Baer’s work created a visual language that communicates 'how things happened.' While his compositional mastership was practical in nature, we find now, 50 years later, that his work translates uniquely as alluring aesthetic and cultural objects.

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Artist

Marcel De Baer Archive

Marcel De Baer (b. 1922, d. 2014) was a collision investigator in the 1960s and 70s in Belgium.

He was the only investigator assigned to a sizable district and collected a significant number of files for the jurisdiction. His job was to determine how an accident happened and who was at fault.

Using Exakta cameras, De Baer made photographs of evidence he identified on site, which were added to files he shared with the jurisdiction. The body of work he left behind was enormous. Before becoming a collision investigator, he worked as a motorcycle and car mechanic.

Erik Bulckens, Marcel De Baer’s grandson and curator of The By Accident Archive, is a mixed media artist based in Brussels.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Experimental Film and Video and previously worked as a technical crew member on film sets while doing animations and visuals for concerts/show on the side. He started directing himself, mainly working in commercials.

In 2014, Bulckens discovered an archive of photos made by his grandfather who worked as a collision investigator in the 1960s and 70s. The work struck him as incredibly artistic while it was primarily utilitarian. He made a large selection from the 10,000+ photos, scanning and sharing the images online.