Fr ed­erik Buy­ckx

This Sony World Photography award-win­ner tells Lot­tie Davies why he’s re­con­nect­ing with na­ture for an on­go­ing project that’s shap­ing his ca­reer

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

The Sony Land­scape Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year talks travel and ad­ven­ture

Fred­erik Buy­ckx (pro­nounced ‘boeks’) be­gan work­ing as a pho­tog­ra­pher only six years ago. Since then he has won, among other ac­co­lades, the Young Promis­ing Pho­tog­ra­pher Award (twice), the 2014 ANI PixPalace Award at Per­pig­nan, and a World Press Photo Award. Most re­cently, he was named Land­scape Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year at the Sony World Photography Awards for his se­ries ‘Whi­te­out’ – six strik­ing and emo­tive im­ages of snow-cov­ered land­scapes in the Balkans, Scan­di­navia and Cen­tral Asia. At the rel­a­tively young age of 32, the Bel­gian looks to be at the be­gin­ning of a re­mark­able ca­reer. While he’s based in Ghent, Fred­erik is some­thing of a no­mad. His photography, and his life, is a col­lec­tion of travel ad­ven­tures, as he ob­serves and records the dif­fer­ent peo­ple and ways of life he en­coun­ters along the way (sim­i­lar to fel­low Bel­gian Kevin Faing­naert). A messy quiff of ashy brown hair tops a face with an easy smile, and his man­ner sug­gests a re­laxed equa­nim­ity with the world – what­ever comes next is fine with him, pro­vid­ing it’s in­ter­est­ing.

Get­ting started

Fred­erik be­gan trav­el­ling at the age of 17, and took an evening class in photography with his cousin around the same time, al­though ‘real’ photography came a lit­tle later. His stud­ies were in ad­ver­tis­ing de­sign, and af­ter a four-year mas­ters de­gree, he ended up be­ing of­fered his dream job: in­tern­ing for a top Bel­gian ad agency in New York.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says. “I was sit­ting, draw­ing, com­ing up with con­cepts and ideas, but I was be­hind a desk. I didn’t know where I wanted to go ex­actly, but I knew I wanted to travel.” At the end of the in­tern­ship, he bought his first DSLR cam­era, booked a flight to Cen­tral Amer­ica, and left the world of ad­ver­tis­ing be­hind. “I hadn’t wanted to be­come a pho­tog­ra­pher, but I found some­thing that al­lowed me to com­bine trav­el­ling with a life­style. I dis­cov­ered that I re­ally liked it. Photography gave me a rea­son to travel, and it gave my trav­els more sense.”

“I hadn’t wanted to be­come a pho­tog­ra­pher, but I found some­thing that com­bined trav­el­ling with a life­style”

Fred­er­ick’s award-win­ning ‘Whi­te­out’ im­ages were taken from two sep­a­rate on­go­ing projects – Wolf, which he be­gan in 2014, and Horse Head, which he started only last Novem­ber. ‘Whi­te­out’ was born from Buy­ckx’s fas­ci­na­tion with small com­mu­ni­ties who live in harsh win­ter con­di­tions. In this snow-bound white world, there is a simplicity and a quiet empti­ness. A don­key stum­bles in an empty moun­tain-scape, a thick black road dis­ap­pears into noth­ing, a fig­ure with a broom is walk­ing to some­where – we don’t know where.

“This work is more per­sonal than my pre­vi­ous projects,” says Fred­erik. “I wanted to ex­plore na­ture, and to work in black and white. It’s more peace­ful, it’s darker in a way – the snow land­scapes are very bright, but all of the other

Op­po­site A don­key stands up af ter rolling, 2015, from Wolf Above The frozen hair of a horse, Kyr­gyzs­tan, 2017, from Horse Head

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.