In today’s snapshot I am going to chat with Davy Bruyninckx who you may know from his YouTube channel called the Film Fellow. He shoots with a lot of different film stocks and gives his thoughts on them. His laid back style will definitely help you relax and just enjoy film along with him.
Hey Davy. Thanks for joining me today.
Why don’t we start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself outside of film photography.
D: I am a loving father to a 14 year old boy. I am originally from the Netherlands so I do enjoy traveling back to Europe to spend time with my family. I also very much enjoy playing tennis while I still can.
So how did you get started shooting film and what would you say drives you to shoot analog in a digital world?
D: I grew up with a father who shot slides, Kodachrome. I remember his little camera, which I still have, as far as I can remember back. So film is all I knew growing up. When I was 19 I bought this little Kodak P&S and shot a few photos of my then time girlfriend and as they say something clicked. I was hooked immediately. This was back in ‘97. Sadly the camera got stolen. Then in the early 2000s the digital onslaught manifested itself and although I definitely shoot digital for client work it just doesn’t have that soul film has. It never gripped me like film did. I guess you could say film is and will always be my first love.
Oh nice. What kind of camera was your dads?
D: My father had a Yashica Electro 35 MC. It’s a little zone focusing camera with a razor sharp lens. Initially I never understood why he bought it as personally I’m more of an SLR person, but recently I actually put a roll through it and definitely understood why he bought it. It’s a great little shooter.
Oh I love the Yashica Electro cameras.
You mentioned client work, so are you a photographer by trade?
D: Yes the Yashicas are great cameras. I’m not a professional photographer who does it as a job. I own a small roofing business which thankfully keeps me busy, but I do model photo shoots, senior shoots, and head shots for business people. That’s all digital.
Oh ok. Nice.
I saw on your channel that you like to shoot with expired film stocks. Tell us why and what is one in particular that you’ve enjoyed the most?
D: Yes, I very much enjoy shooting expired film. Great question! In my day I’ve seen lots of great stocks being discontinued and some of them have been hard to let go of. Even recently we’ve seen 400H being discontinued. Fuji has always had really great stocks for portraiture and one of them used to be the Fuji Pro 160s. That would be my favorite discontinued stock. It has such amazing skin tones. Another honorable mention, a close second, would be the Fuji 400 NPH.
That leads me perfectly to my next question. As someone who likes to shoot with a lot of discontinued film stocks and in light of Fuji discontinuing yet another film (Fuji Pro 400H), what do you think this says about the future of film? Is it on its way out or is this just a way for film companies to tear down and rebuild in a way?
D: Great question! Personally I believe film is here to stay for quite a while. Whether or not we’ll all be able to buy our favorite stocks in the future remains to be seen. Companies like Kodak, Ilford and Lomography do instill a lot of hope even though stocks are becoming more expensive. When it comes to Fuji I personally believe that 400H will return in some iteration. Fujifilm without a flagship film is just incredibly strange and unheard of by our generation. They did bring Acros back so I remain hopeful. But no, film is here to stay. I’m hopeful. Nice to hear you like shooting with expired film as well Aly.
Absolutely. I think it is going to be up to us to keep it going strong. Like you said companies like Lomography are a huge help. Also unfortunately for us that means rolling with the price hikes and keep going until companies realize there is a major market for it still.
D: Yes, we are going to have to accept the inevitable price hikes to be able to keep our passion alive and I’m willing to do that. At the end of the day we’ll only think even more carefully before we press that shutter. Thankfully there is a whole new generation who are getting their feet wet in film and that will help us all out. The resurgence of film in itself was a wonderful manifestation to experience. Companies will definitely realize there is a good (profitable) market for it.
Definitely. I think YouTube channels are a big proponent for introducing film to new generations. What led you to create your YouTube channel? I know personally that it is not an easy task. What message do you hope to convey to your viewers?
D: Wonderful question. For years I’ve had an idea lingering in my head to start a YouTube channel on film photography, but I never really had the time. Then COVID hit us all, including me and I found myself with more free (unproductive) time on my hands than I cared for and grabbed the opportunity to start my channel. You’re right in saying that having a YouTube channel is definitely a labor of love especially initially but I love the creative outlet it provides me. My very first or main message, if you will, is to simply celebrate our beloved passion of film photography. Secondly, I would like to make videos which help remove hurdles for people new to film photography. But the love and passion for film photography itself and then in particular 35mm is the sort of main thread for my channel. Of course the occasional review on gear and certain films will be featured as well.
You are also very good at taking street portraits. I am very shy and it is so difficult for me to even take pictures in public. There have been several moments where I wanted to ask people if I may take their photo but I was just too scared. What advice can you give to me and others who are venturing into this type of photography?
D: Thank you for the flattering comment although I do feel taking people portraits is a skill which needs much more honing on my part. I used to be very shy as well in my early 20s. In my 30s I made a decision to leave that behind. My advice would be is to just go for it. I think what we all fear most is rejection. Rejection does not matter, it is nothing personal and it makes you just more determined. Be friendly and explain to that person they have a unique look and you’re working on a book or something. You’ll be surprised how many people love having their photo taken. When you hear no just wish that person a nice day and find your next subject. To me it’s become second nature but you have to face your fears head on and just go for it.
D: Thank you.
Well, Davy thank you for having this chat with me. I am glad to get the chance to introduce you to my followers and I will encourage them to go check out your videos and your photography on Instagram. Are there any projects or videos that you would like to tell my readers to keep an eye out for?
D: Aly it’s been a total pleasure and honor to be interviewed by you! I appreciate all the support and I love your channel. My girlfriend and me have watched all your videos. Recently I bought a Konica IIIA. My first serious rangefinder and I’m planning to do several videos on it which will be a lot of fun. The rest will be a surprise.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate the support. I look forward to those future videos.
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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.