I’m Alex, originally from a small town in Belgium you probably never heard of (that’s where I’ve spent most of my life!)
The first part of my time there was focused on getting a degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering, but after graduating I actually wasn’t too keen on jumping into the overwhelming professional opportunities of such a career path – even though at the time I thought I would be missing out on something, I’m glad, really glad I didn’t.
I left for Chile, shipped my motorbike over, and started riding it up North. I eventually found out that rock climbing was kinda fun. So, I kept doing that; driving and climbing, for 11 months, until I got to Canada. I worked for a year in BC – rope access in the city and snowmobile photography in Whistler – and took to the road again, on this indestructible red bike that carried me for so long in the first place.
Two more years dirt-bagging around the US, Canada, Patagonia, Europe and Asia. I started guiding climbing in Vietnam and kayaking in Greenland. I was working freelance during the rest of the time. Building websites, translating, trading pictures for cams and portaledges.
Meanwhile, I shoot the things I see.
And I mean, I think I like that.
I’m now guiding in Iceland a few months a year, and the rest of time, I spend it trying to balance stock photography and exciting media projects.
What websites/blogs/people do you draw inspiration from? Who do you follow on Instagram?
To be honest I’ve never followed many photographers and never used Instagram as a source of inspiration. I’ve always been exploring on my own and have very few influences (that I’m aware of). I probably should haha. I think I’m just being lazy about getting into that social media world and like to keep a step back — lots of people get trapped into it I feel.
I obviously know and admire some classic photographer in the outdoor world such as Jimmy Chin or Drew Smith, but there aren’t many names that come to my mind. I admire people who can go further than just the shot, the ones where you realise the position they’re in when they’re shooting for example. In climbing photography you can quickly tell if the photographer put a lot of effort in or not. Usually, it’s quite a bit of work and pictures are very rewarding.
I also like people who are able to attach captivating stories to their pictures, which I can’t really do. Or people able to take their camera out in situation I would never even think about it. Or people having multiple talents and mixing them with photography. I admire everything one does and that I can’t actually do, which is … plenty !
Please can you take a photograph of your kitbag, highlighting your favourite item, why you like it and a time when it has saved you! #everydaycarry
I only carry part of my gear here in Iceland as I’m guiding for the month and therefore not focusing on photography. My gear has always been quite basic though. There is so much good photography out there, I decided I wouldn’t spend thousands on lenses and cameras. Instead, I try to stay simple and use pretty basic gear – in comparison to most professional photographers – and force my creativity with what I have. I use a Nikon D600 and 3 lenses:
Nikon 50 mm 1.8
Tokina 16-28 mm 2.8
Nikon 70-300 mm 4-5.6
See, nothing fancy in there. My favourite one ? The ultra classic 50 mm. It always forces me to take a different point of view, move, frame it differently. I love it (who doesn’t?) It’s the Tokina I use the most though in climbing photography.
How do you engage audiences with your imagery, is there a narrative to how you shoot?
I still have a lot to learn in term of audience and social medias. I just started. So far I’m just sharing varied content, on a daily basis. I try to attach stories when I can, but I’m not too good at it. Definitely learning still all this audience-engaging thing.
So many! I want to get more involved in the Belgian outdoor community, shoot some of the climbers and people I admire for years. I don’t have strong nationalistic feelings but I do feel there is a great humble vibe around these people. I’d love to take my stock photography to a higher level so that I can afford taking part in exciting but not lucrative expeditions that I really want to invest time in. I’d like to find a good balance between shooting what I’m really excited about and something sustainable. Eventually balancing photography with music as well and taking more time to play. Find a way to mix all these various forms of art.
Do you have a visual diary of your adventures and/or a favourite shot?
I haven’t kept an up to date visual diary of my adventures. I used to, when I travelled on my bike from Chile to Canada, but it lost my interest after a year – the memories are still there though and I’ve been trying to share a picture each day on social media.
I’m slightly reluctant to keep objects that remind me of the past but understand it’s purpose of interest. I know it can definitely be useful and good for some, but I’d prefer to look forward and not get lost in the past. How many times I’ve been told “It will be nice to remember later, when you get older” “it will be nice to have”. Honestly, I’d rather not have too much to hold onto and force myself to keep moving on.
I don’t think I could talk about one favourite shot. I for sure have some which tell much more stories than others in my mind, some important moments. I suppose my favourite shots are the ones I consider the most rewarding, knowing the backstage of the shooting. Or the ones I feel are unique. That no one could do because it captures a moment that won’t happen again. That’s probably why I’ve never been into landscape photography. No matter how great is the picture, I feel that so many talented people around the world could do the same, or better.
Here are some examples of what I could consider as my favourite shots: ￼