The hobby photographer who colored the weather forecast is no longer: “It was his passion, Freddy went out every day at 6 am” (Bonheiden)

Rewrite this contentFreddy Pire was a household name. His photos were more than appreciated both in our newspapers and during the weather reports on the VRT. The amateur photographer who turned 82 died last week after a three-year stay in Den Olm residential care center in Bonheiden. Even though Freddy was not a professional photographer, he delivered gems time and time again. “He was into photography even before I knew him. And that was a while ago. This September we would have been married for sixty years, I have never known him otherwise,” says his wife Jacqueline Lauwers.In 2014, Gazet van Antwerpen portrayed Freddy. — © Repro Erik Van EyckenMeuropYet Freddy’s passion originally lay elsewhere. After a few years in France, he moved with his family to Rijmenam at a young age, where he worked with his brother in the Meurop factory, the furniture factory that closed in 1980. “Freddy was a welder and loved to do it. After the Meurop factory in Rijmenam was declared bankrupt in 1980, he started working at Eurocan in Mechelen,” says Jacqueline. “However, in his free time he was always busy with photography, first photos, then slides and later he even evolved into digital photography. Because he was not familiar with using a computer at the age of 70, he still took lessons in Bonheiden. That was Freddy. Everything to be with and to take beautiful pictures. It was more than his hobby.”Some nature shots that Freddy made. — © Freddy Pire, 2820 Bonheiden© Freddy PireFrank DeboosereA photo of Freddy appeared during the weather report on the then BRT, precisely on the day that the legendary weatherman Armand Pien passed the torch to Frank Deboosere. “I still remember that moment. Freddy was so proud that his photo was selected. He sat with his camera at the ready in front of the television to make an image of it.” “Then followed quickly The newspapaer. I don’t know exactly how many photos of Freddy were used in your newspapers, but there were many,” says Jacqueline. “Freddy also kept a careful record of the newspapers in which his photos appeared. I still have stacks of them. Even though I probably don’t do anything with the clippings and photos anymore, I prefer not to give them to a museum for the time being. I cherish them,” she says.“Photographers like Freddy are the eyes of the VRT”, says weatherman Frank Deboosere. “I didn’t know him personally, but I learned about his death through Luc Marcelis, another photographer who lives in Mechelen. We like to use the submitted photos very much and regularly. We receive a lot of them en masse and we notice that these hobby photographers are lying on their feet and with their heads in the clouds, they see everything. It is very clever what they do. The photos are also going viral on social media, because the photographers are of course very proud, and rightly so. Nowadays they also often use drones.” He can still vividly recall the moment and the photo with Armand Pien: “That was at the lake in Keerbergen with skaters, a great image.”Frank Deboosere and Armand Pien in 1987 with a picture of Freddy behind them. — © Repro Erik Van EyckenMatchesFreddy took part in numerous photo competitions at the time, but his pen drawings were also appreciated. “He was so proud of it. They were not the ‘big’ competitions, mostly local in Bonheiden and Keerbergen. However, that didn’t spoil the fun. When he won, he was always over the moon.” Freddy was self-taught and started photographing after traveling to London with his aunt and uncle. “My uncle’s brother was an amateur photographer and had a Leica camera and a lot of lenses. On a tourist boat we sailed across the Thames to Windsor Castle. A little later I bought my first device that I took with me during my army service in Germany”, Freddy testified six years ago in the Bonheiden information magazine Rijmheide.One of Freddy’s prize-winning pen drawings (Heimolen Keerbergen). — © Erik Van EyckenWith this photo, Freddy won the Keerberg photo competition about 950 years of Keerbergen. — © Erik Van Eyckenmorning personFreddy left nothing to chance. Usually he was on his bike at 6 o’clock in the morning to photograph sunrises, scenes or airplanes in Bonheiden or beyond. “That was his passion. He even took his bicycle to Rock Werchter, to Mechelen or to the Heimolen in Keerbergen. Freddy was a very popular man, because when he went out, he greeted everyone and chatted with passers-by. Freddy was always in a good mood,” says Jacqueline. “Do you know that he even took a camera with him every time he went to the newsagent? Something just had to happen, or something beautiful to see. He would never have forgiven himself.”How many photos Freddy took and were published is almost countless. Yet the man carefully kept everything in folders and covers. “I still discover photos and newspaper clippings every day that I knew nothing about. Freddy was very orderly. He also collected cameras. He once sold part of his collection, the remaining part is still displayed in his office together with his harmonica and his guitar. Freddy was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades.”Freddy also collected cameras. — © Erik Van EyckenThirteenFreddy spent the last three years of his life in residential care center Den Olm. He was ill: “When he first arrived, I took his newspaper clippings and photos with me. That made him happy. After a while there and after a stay in the hospital, even he didn’t feel like looking at it anymore. Freddy was completely exhausted. And remarkably, he was born on a Friday the thirteenth. He also died on Friday the thirteenth. And his heart attack from years ago? On a thirteenth. This is hardly a coincidence anymore”, concludes Jacqueline.© Freddy Pire 2820 Bonheiden© Freddy Pire 2820 Bonheiden
Write an article about The hobby photographer who colored the weather forecast is no longer: “It was his passion, Freddy went out every day at 6 am” (Bonheiden)