film photography · Interview

A Snapshot of the Film Community: An Interview With Alex Luyckx

With everything going on in our country right now, and the division growing wider around the world, I wanted to do a series right here in our own little world of film photography that brings us closer. I wanted to highlight some of the people amongst us, and hopefully encourage a dialog for people to start getting to know one another.

The first person to volunteer of course was the lovely Alex Luyckx, whom I have mentioned before when I wrote about an expired roll of Agfa RSX II that he gifted me. You may already know him from his podcast the Classic Camera Revival, but if not, let me introduce him to you.

Alex Luyckx

AVCA:
First how do you pronounce your last name? I’m not sure I’ve been saying it right?

Alex:
Lowx

AVCA:
Oh I was way off!

Alex:
Most people are.

AVCA:
Well Alex, thanks so much for agreeing to be the first one interviewed here on my site.

Alex:
My Pleasure!

AVCA:
I’m hoping to connect the film community a little bit more with this new series. For me and in my life this community has been somewhat of a lifesaver. Being ill it can be pretty lonely and this community has proven to be so nice.
How have you connected to the film community and what does being a part of it mean to you?

Alex:
I could say it all started with the Film Photography Podcast when I realized there were more people out there who shot film, so through joining their Flickr group and interacting with the members of the community. Which then translated over to Twitter through the #believeinfilm community and now through Facebook and starting up the Toronto Film Shooters Group and other groups like Negative Postives Podcast and other film photography groups
The Toronto Group helped build both an online community and an in-person community through meetups.

AVCA:
Well then, you’re a pretty big proponent of the way this community connects with your podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Who are the hosts and how did you all get started on the podcast together?

Alex:
The Classic Camera Revival Podcast is drawn from some of the original members of the Toronto Film Shooters Group, John Meadows was the first person I got onboard because he already ran a successful podcast and had the engineering know how to have a professional sound. Then Mike and Donna Bitaxi joined the team. It wouldn’t be until a few seasons later Bill Smith joined the team along with James Lee. Bill through the Toronto group and James Lee through the Milton Camera Club. Sadly since then we parted ways with the Bitaxis, but now have Chrissie Wu (an old friend of mine) and Trevor Black (also via the Milton Camera Club.

AVCA:
Thats awesome. What a great team up.

Alex:
Yeah, everyone brings something different to the table, from a variety of gear, knowledge and just personal styles.

AVCA:
When did you first start shooting film? Do you have any one memory that stands out to you from when you started?

Alex:
Growing up in the 1990s my entire early life was covered on film, and I got to shoot plenty of times with the family computer. But I started picking up photography in a serious manner in 2002 and shot film due to the high cost of digital cameras in those days. Also because I learned photography on film through a single unit in a media English course in High School that included a stint in the darkroom. I did go digital in 2009 but quickly went back to film.

AVCA:
I too am a child of the 90’s so nostalgia definitely plays a part for me. That leads me to my next question:

Many of us film photographers, including myself, love analog photography because of nostalgia or for a connection to a family member. Do you have any sentimental cameras in your collection or family connections to the reason you shoot analog?

Alex:
Well there’s one photo of me paying close attention to my Opa Luyckx (Dad’s Father) as he shows me his camera. And he and my Uncle Ted (Dad’s brothers) were heavy into photography. I got my Opa’s camera several years ago a Pentax K1000 along with his wife’s Instamatic (my Oma Luyckx passed away when I was two). But I also have my wife’s grandparent’s camera a Pony 135 Model C which went with them to New York City on their Honeymoon. Plus Great-Grandma Anne (Wife’s grandfather’s step-mother) Jiffy Kodak II. Plus a camera from my Uncle Harvey’s Father (Mom’s brother-in-law).
But I honestly feel most of my photography comes from my Dad’s side of the family.

Young Alex with his grandfather


AVCA:
I love that so much. Those are some great cameras. I have a love hate relationship with the Pony, but thats for another article lol.
Have you shot with all of those?

Alex:
All but the Instamatic, it no longer works. But I keep it anyways, it sits right next to the K1000.

A favorite shot of Alex’s titled “Rainy Day in Arras” Shot on a Contax G2 on Tri-X
“I shot that in June of 2015 in Arras, France. The reason it’s a favourite is that I would print it in the darkroom and give it to the lady who would go on to become my wife.” – Alex

AVCA:
I know you’re a history buff, mainly Canadian history. Does this influence how you choose your photographs at all? How would you describe your style?

Alex:
Often my love of history will help pick my photographic projects as the images I shoot are to give a modern context to the history that they represent. Thankfully because there are plenty of reminders of the past, and are often overlooked by people. So the images of them I hope brings light to the stories beyond ‘oh that’s a nice historic building’
My only real style is ‘black & white’

AVCA:
I think thats really important. I love history myself and I know since history seems to keep repeating itself it’s so important to keep people aware of it.

Alex:
All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.

AVCA:
Yes. I agree. And photography I think plays a huge roll in bringing attention to the truth that often becomes lost in the middle.

Alex:
So true!

AVCA:
So finally, I have to ask Whats your favorite camera and film combo to shoot with?

Alex:
That’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! Right now my favourite combinations are: Mamiya m645 with 80/2.8 lens with Ilford Ortho Plus, Nikon F5 with the 105/2D loaded with Tri-X and the Minolta Maxxum 9 the 28/2.8 loaded with FP4+

AVCA:
Yes, I know all too well how tough it is to choose haha.
Those are great choices though.

Alex:
There are more, Rolleiflex 2.8F with Fomapan 400. And Crown Graphic with RPX 25.

AVCA:
Oh nice! You must have some collection.

Alex:
Extensive!

AVCA:
The more the better. I am all about rescuing cameras and bringing them back to use.

Alex:
Totally!

AVCA:
Thanks again Alex for talking with me. Is there any project you’re working on or anything coming up with your podcast you’d like to tell my readers before we go?

Alex:
Well we have two excellent episodes up for June and plans for July, August we’re going to talk on Leica with the folks from SilverGrain Classics. Personal projects I have my hometown project continuing into August and then the rest of the year filled with a project on the Welland Canal (shooting the images end of the month).
And again, thank you for asking for the interview

AVCA:
I look forward to all of it.

Alex has a great blog with tons of great articles and film advice. Be sure to go check it out if you haven’t already.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

5 thoughts on “A Snapshot of the Film Community: An Interview With Alex Luyckx

Leave a Reply