OUR AUTHORS - OUR ARTISTS
In order to ensure a product of the very highest quality, Héros modernes works with a number of highly talented writers and artists.
Jennifer De Théleny, Author
I’m Jennifer, 34 years old, live the Belgian Ardennes. I strongly believe that we are each the hero of our own world. Every one of us is at the centre of a story which intersects with the stories of others. In seeking to find the common denominator of all these stories, I have come to the conclusion that the universal language is that of the heart. Everything that is built, every event which occurs or product which is designed is the result of people connecting with other people.
I also believe that each person is simultaneously singular and plural, a dynamic combination of multiple worlds. Hence the reason it is the human being which both fascinates and inspires me and has led me to my vocation of biographer and storyteller.
Through Héros modernes, I am able to bring together my strengths and passions by guiding, listening, evoking ideas, conveying emotions, relaying the facts and bringing stories to life with a sense of authenticity and deftness of touch. For me, the greatest pleasure is in serving the needs of my clients and telling their story.
I have often helped individuals and companies to make the best of themselves, a role performed with discretion and elegance.
My background is somewhat atypical with a bachelor’s degree in political sciences, a master's degree in criminology, training as an individual and group coach and a master’s degree in management sciences.
I have also lived in the cocoon of a Spanish hostel in the middle of London.
I have worked alongside entrepreneurs and business leaders. My communication and content marketing skills have often been made use of by various companies.
I am a highly distinctive character, original and creative but above all the modern heroine of my own life.
Christophe Hay, Author
Nietzsche said that ‘the secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.' And he was right….. And the task of the author is to tell stories in a spirit of discovery and danger on the assumption that each life is unique. When reflecting upon it, the raw material for our publications is already there, ready to be told. There is little purpose in our telling the facts of everyday life if they lack flavour, originality or interest. The heroes of our times are no longer the knights, sages or conquistadors of old. They are the renowned entrepreneurs, creatives and artists. What they have in common with their predecessors is that they remain visionaries, strategists and above all, harbour a great love of being different and of being free.
A professional journalist specialising in economics and business, passionate and eclectic with a love for sports, music and literature, Christophe Hay is a highly versatile author often to be found digging around in areas where one would least expect in order to bring out the unique characteristics of a personality and life story. Both a confidant and scribe, he brings thoughts and ideas to life through the medium of the written word and also provides insights into the things that are to be left unsaid. And, after all, why not, if everyone stands to gain from it?
Once a man reaches forty, he can risk embarking on a more profound introspective approach, never retreating from intensity of these lives to be understood, nor from the need to be an observer without passing judgment.
Guy Van Den Noortgate, Author
A professional journalist with more than 20 years’ experience, Guy Van Den Noortgate is a specialist in the field of economic journalism. His particular specialism lies in crafting portraits of companies and the men and women making their mark in the economic world. A job which he describes as “enriching and which above all allows me to uncover diverse personalities and tell stories which are often moving, sometimes surprising but always full of passion.”
A co-founder of the Nara Press agency in 1991, he works regularly for the business weekly Trends-Tendances for which he is responsible for the Trends Gazelles, the regional leaders and the Trends Business Tour. He also writes for chamber of commerce magazines including that of the CCILB, Entreprendre Aujourd’hui (Business Today). Finally, he also works for the University of Liège’s site which makes economic issues accessible to the general public, Réflexions.
Although he has an interest in all forms of business activity and economic sectors, he is particularly fascinated by new technologies, economic intelligence and energy – he has even written a book on nuclear energy in Belgium. “It allows one to approach countless activities from multiple perspectives. Economic of course, but also social, environmental, scientific and most importantly, from the human perspective.”
Outside of his professional life, Guy has a strong love and fascination for cooking, reading, travelling in Brazil, football and the culture of the American Indians. “In broader terms, a fascination for anthropology which teaches us as much about others as it does about ourselves.”
Maddy Christina, photographer
I’m Maddy. As I approach the age of 30, I can now reflect on the singular approach to life which I have developed for myself over the past three decades.
I am attracted by the idea that the world appears differently for every one of us due to every person’s unique perspective and imagination. I see photography as one of the most beautiful ways of illustrating or reflecting upon such a vision.
When Jennifer invited me to be a part of the Héros modernes adventure, I didn’t have to think twice. Our goals are clear and our visions converge.
Our wish is illustrate – via word and image – the key elements and events of a person’s life. We do this by listening to what the person has to say in order to empathise with their guiding emotions and live them as intensely as the person him/herself and, by doing so, render them vividly through our art.
We are the messengers between the spirit of the modern heroes and the rest of the world. We are the paintbrush leaving images on the canvas for others to apprehend.
We are located in between the imagination of the storyteller and the eyes of the spectator.
Everyone should experience this introspective adventure in order to discover the man or woman who they are truly are, and always will be. We are here to offer you a helping hand on this voyage of self-discovery.
Pascale Rigaux, Graphic Designer
My name is Pascale Rigaux. I’m a 36-year-old married mother of two girls, Olga and Zita, and a resident of the Belgian Ardennes.
My brother had a ‘Big Jim’, almost like the grandfather of Barbie’s playboy Ken. As children, my sisters and I used to dream up all sorts of adventures in the world of Big Jim and his beautiful female companions. Big Jim was a true personality. You could change his look by turning his arm 360°… He drove along in his 4x4 Jeep with a case containing all his different looks…
What a metaphor? I also have several faces and am blessed with a superpower allowing me to constantly switch between one and the other.
Through this portrait, I will reveal one of them to you!
My artistic face
A graduate of the St. Luke School of Fine Arts in Liège, I have worked as a graphic designer since 1999.My artworks are streamlined, unique and magical!
My role within Héros modernes is that of a catalyst!
I receive all of the elements which together tell the life story of the hero: the written accounts, the illustrations, the photographs….I then construct the design of the heroic work based on the emotional intensity felt, the personality of the hero and the description of his/her world.Out of this world and full of colour, my signature style is lively and original. Sleek and rebellious, it complements the appeal of the hero’s life story and enhances the experience of the reader.
I am an artist in constant exhilaration.
When I retreat into my artistic bubble, time stands still while I await that trigger of creativity…. And then finally the idea comes and there is an explosion of artistic energy as colours, variants and angles come to life!
And going back to Big Jim….
My arm never stops turning and changing faces, like I’m morphing, yet one thing remains constant: my sense of fulfilment, joy and confidence in the future.
Anthony Florio – Photographer
Anthony, a photographer of different worlds, is 26 years old and entirely self-taught. I discovered my passion for humanity when I was a student, but quite apart from that, I have always been fascinated by capturing the world around a human being. Managing, controlling, telling a story, seeing and perceiving that world. With a photo, the moment is captured and we can bring a whole story to life!
We met Jennifer and she told me all about her project and about her hopes and dreams for it. The idea of telling somebody’s story in photographs really appealed to me. You have to breathe life into those special moments, create a visual feeling, understand how to approach the subject…
That’s partly why I said “yes”. But another reason is the qualitative approach she takes, and the fact that you can really take control of your project, which I found very reassuring. For Jennifer, the photographer is so much more than someone just working quietly in the background. We actually provide the medium by which the Modern Hero tells his or her story. What we do is crucial and it really adds value, once again demonstrating our emotional connection with the subjects.
The end product, the book, is the ultimate goal, but it is also the foundation for the process by which we meet, share our experiences with and get to know the subject of each biography, like sitting down together around a table to enjoy a wonderful meal.
Alain Van Wayenberge, Genealogist
“How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re from?”
My great-grandmother was found in a “tower” in Ghent, one of those “baby windmills” used in the 19th century, where unwanted newborns were abandoned. I often think about how this must have gnawed at her for her whole life. Actually, I’ve probably inherited this desire to explore and pinpoint my own and my family’s roots from her. Behind me, there are seven grandchildren driving me on.
After a career in language teaching, I was at last able to fulfil my dream and dedicate my life to genealogy and historical research. Inquiries started to come in from all corners of the world, from America, Australia, New Zealand and Russia as well as Belgium, France, Italy and Britain. They came from families who had been abroad for 2 or 3 generations and who now wanted to find out about their Belgian ancestors, or from families who had been separated and wanted to find an estranged brother or a distant cousin.
I was recently lucky enough to work with the American TV channel, CNN, to find the ancestors of one of their star journalists who had their roots in Liège. And the reactions are always the same; it is incredibly emotional to see where they live, to put yourself in their shoes, to witness the enormous gratitude for the things that they have accomplished, the surprise and the tears at all the difficulties that have been overcome.
I’m thrilled about this collaboration, which continues with Héros Modernes, as it gives me the opportunity to do what I love most; transform the dusty records into portraits of the men and women who have humbly and patiently made us what we are today.