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The Goodwill Ambassadors of UNICEF Belgium

UNICEF was founded as a European relief organization in order to help the children whose lives were disrupted by World War II. By 1953, most of the post war relief work was done. In search of a new approach, UNICEF established in 1954 its International Goodwill Ambassador Program. Danny Kaye pioneered the position and brought humour into the otherwise tragic images of suffering children. Peter Ustinov and Audrey Hepburn joined him in his quest for children's rights.

Belgium, too, has its Goodwill Ambassadors. Julie Brown's idea, to unite all of these ambassadors' dreams and ideas in an inspirational book, was unique for UNICEF. Julie asked me to join the UNICEF book project by making portraits during her interviews.

I chose to work in black and white. It had the advantage that I could step away from the usual glossy image these celebrities have in the media. The length and the intensity of each interview gave me the time to observe well and strike at the right moment.

When I look back at these portraits I see passionate people who use their influence to open the minds of others who live in an economically privileged part of the world. They share a common desire to address global human tragedies by bringing attention to them.