The Brussels antitrust community is a very vibrant group of professionals. Its members frequently meet in person at professional meetings, conferences, after-work drinks, and other social gatherings. In April 2020, the sanitary measures adopted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic forced its members to move into home office, and this situation lasted well over a year.
Discussions with ex-colleagues about their personal challenges working from home for several months, prompted photographer Georg M. Berrisch, a former Brussels antitrust lawyer himself, to document this extraordinary time. In cooperation with Concurrences, he started the “Brussels Antitrust in Home Office” photo project in early 2021. The result are some 50 black and white photographs, showing a diverse group of members of the Brussels antitrust bubble in their home office set-up. The subjects photographed included lawyers, economists, officials, in-house lawyers, and lobbyists of various levels of seniority, from well-known senior professionals to young interns at the start of their career.
Foreword to the book "Brussels Antitrust in Home Office
I first became acquainted with Georg Berrish when he was an antitrust partner in a major law firm in Brussels. At this time, I had no idea of his personal activity as a photographer. So it was a real surprise when, once duly retired, he called me to confess about his other practice. Not law, but photography. The confession came with a proposal “honnête” I should say, that was to document the confinement due to the pandemic in the Brussels antitrust community.
It turns out that Georg was aware of who he was offering this project to. I am a photography aficionado as well, although not a practicing photographer. When I opened the new premises of Concurrences in Paris, I spent months preparing an exhibition “Antitrust & Photography” with another photographer. Three years later, the pictures are still hanging in the office and show Concurrences’ dedication to promoting photography.
But let us come back to Georg’s project. At first, I expected it to be limited to some portraits of some “usual suspects” of the antitrust community. But we quickly agreed that the project should cover a fair sample of representatives of the community: lawyers and economists, private practitioners and civil servants, men and women, young and less young. We also came to a mutual agreement that the project should involve the community that is its focus. Never have we received so many likes and comments on our Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. The candid photos provided light respite during the long days of the lockdowns, with everyone commenting on photos of X, Y and Z (and peeping into their backgrounds). We even received requests to be included in the project. That is to underline that we limited ourselves to 50 photos so far but Georg could easily have done more.
In order to officially launch the project, I proposed to Georg to consider exhibiting the photos and publishing them photos in book form – which you now hold in your hands.
Concurrences is proud to have contributed to document a unique situation. Whatever happens next with working from home, we will be able to say “that’s how people were living in the very first months” of the health crisis. We will be able in time to see the changes, if any, that home office will bring to our lives.
Concurrences is honored to contribute to the emergence of a young and promising photographer: Georg Berrish. He will certainly not be stopping here, and we will be looking forward to his next new projects eagerly.
The Editor, Concurrences