A film photographer in a digital world: Alex Luyckx

His Twitter profile describes Ontario-based Alex Luyckx as a ‘Film photographer in a digital world.’ While he excels in both digital and film photography, he has a soft side and a big heart for analogue. He is also described as a 'Seeker of abandoned spaces,' and 'reenactor of the war of 1812,' We were fortunately able to get in touch with this film aficionado, who agreed to grant an interview.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

By day I’m an IT professional working at a College in Ontario Canada. On the side I’m a freelance Photographer (events, journalism and portraiture). My other hobbies include Historical Reenactment, specifically the War of 1812 period and exploring and researching the history of that war, and the abandoned buildings I photograph. When you work a day job, the more adventures you have on the side the better!

When and how did you get started with photography?

I first picked up photography in 2002 in High School in a media English course, having taking art for years and not being very good at it besides technical drawing, I decided to give it a go. And I took to the medium, picked up my first camera a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s and haven’t looked back since!

I understand that you also shoot on film and digitally? When do you use film, when do you shoot digital, and why?

Digital I mostly shoot for professional jobs, wedding, journalism, portraits. I also use film in Wedding work, specifically for formal portraits and the clients always love the film work. Film is used for a lot of more personal projects, my two 52-roll projects, my War of 1812 project and my Sheet a Week Photographer.

Your Twitter profile describes you as a ‘Film photographer in a digital world.’ What was the turning point or instance that made you prefer film over digital?

That would have been in 2009, I got as a gift a Nikon F80 and a few lenses, and started picking up film after shooting almost exclusively digital for a few years. I soon remembered why I liked the medium so much. I’m not knocking digital; it certainly helped with my technical knowledge of photography. But there’s something special about a B&W film image over a converted digital one.

Which of your cameras are your absolute favorites?

That’s a hard question! I would have to say my favourites are my Nikon F4, Debonair (plastic camera cross between a Diana and a Holga), Rolleiflex 2.8F, and my Speed Graphic (4×5).

I understand you have a LomoHome and have used Lomography products. Which of the Lomo Cameras do you prefer?

I love your panoramic offerings the Swing Lens Horizon and Sprocket Rocket; I’m a bit of a wide angle junky!

Photos taken with the Horizon Kompakt and Sprocket Rocket

How would you personally describe your photographic style? Do you follow a set of rules when you shoot?

Leading lines, I love shooting wide and perspective shots. Especially in the abandoned buildings I frequent.

What inspires you to shoot?

Driving, oddly enough I often will look for things to photograph driving to and from work, then go back when I feel the light is going to be right to actually take the picture. Sometimes it’s revisiting a favourite area with a new camera, and of course historical sites and abandoned buildings.

Photos from Alex Alex Luyckx’s 52-roll project in 2013

Tell us about a body of work, projects, clients that you’re particularly proud of.

That would be my 52-roll project last year where I shot a roll of Tri-X each week for the whole year, developing it all myself in HC-110.

A photo for Alex’s ‘52’ project

Any cool projects you’re currently working on or exhibits? Any links to promote these? Where can fans admire more of your work?

My current ‘52’ project is shooting a Sheet of Kodak Tri-X Pan in 4×5 one sheet a week for the whole year, a bit odd going into a project with next to no room for error and knowing you’ll come out of the project with 52 crafted images. You can follow the project here I’m also continuing my ongoing project of photographing on film and writing about sites connected to the War of 1812 that started in 2012 and continues into the end of this year and a book will be released in Febuary 2015 to mark the 200th anniversary of the end of the war! You can follow the project here

Photos from Alex’s ongoing War of 1812 project

Do you have a dream project? Could you tell us about it?

That would be photographing in Europe! The history there is immense and daunting! Hopefully I’ll be able to get a small taste when I visit there in the Summer of 2015!

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Don’t try to be like another photographer, inside learn from them, adopt elements of their styles but build your own. Know the rules, and know when to break them and when to bend them. Unless someone is paying you, shoot for only one person, yourself.

Any last words?

Keep shooting!

You can follow Alex’s work on his website and his Flickr account.

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