Today, we like to put Senior Critic Theo Luycx in the spotlights.
Theo excels in architectural and abstract photography. He has and excellent eye for strong compositions. He loves to play with lines and shapes. His creative mind results in outstanding photographs. Read more about the man behind his images.
Can you briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I am 78 year and was born In Rotterdam. I lived in the neighbourhood of the Feyenoord stadium, that made me a fan forever. I follow them now only on TV. I did a study Werktuigbouwkunde and after that there was the compulsory military service of 21 months, where I had as a sergeant my first responsibility for people. After this period I worked as an engineer in the heavy machinery, industrial centrifuges diameter 2 m. for the starch industry and later on washing machines with 180 kg washes. After twelve years in this job TNO (Toegepast wetenschappelijk onderzoek) asked me as group head for a design group. There the range was from very small till large products but they wanted my construction experience. That was in a time that design was for many factories of secondary importance. We started with one design adviser for our group. Soon after that, TU-Delft (Technical University in Delft) started an IO-course (Industrieel Ontwerpen/Industrial Design).
I started my group with 3 men and ended up with 7. My group and our department became engineers for design, construction and strength calculations even with "infinity calculations". Later we qualified for ISO 9001 and I also had the function of Quality coordinator.
I have been married for more than 52 years and have two daughters, two fantastic sons in law and four grandchildren. We have a very close-knit family and I am very happy with it. My oldest grandson is 22 and since he is born we go every year in autumn for a week on a family vacation.
My hobbies are of course photography; I like football on TV, for 35 years we walked in the mountains, mostly in Austria. We chose mountain villages about 1200-1300 m and walked then till about 3000m. And in my youth I did handball and swimming.
How has your history and life experience affected your photography.
It has affected it in two totally different ways.
My first period of photography I will call " the analogue registration photography". In my youth I had an Agfa Clack box and after my study I bought a Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SLR camera but also a Werra camera for my slides. Why registration? Because I made images of my children, holiday-landscapes and macro and so on. I learned the technique, had a dark room and made B&W images, slides, 8 mm film and video.
My second period is the digital period. My first camera was a Canon G1 with Photo Elements 00. I learned to use this all but there were many more possibilities than in the analogue period. In this time composition and special projects had my attention. Mostly landscape, macro, animals etc.
What are the most important experiences that has influence your art.
I will not call my photos art but when I placed my photos on internet for the magazine Zoom, I saw nice architecture images. That was the reason I concentrated on this part of photography. In my work I had more than 25 years attention for shapes and colours.
Why are you so drawn by architecture and abstract photography
Like I said before, I saw these images and was sold. And of course architecture consists of buildings and these are closely related to what I did in my job with products or machinery. The designers made several studies and models of a project and then we had discussion about shapes and colours. And sometimes we had a discussion about very small details. But at last you had a product to be proud of. That is what I find now in this kind of photography for myself.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection.
For me the technical perfection is the most important. For architecture I am always looking for new projects. I look for information about buildings and I go to Google street view to see the location.
And for abstract you have to use your eyes very well, every well-chosen detail can give you a published photo. I have a nice example. My last project was in Delft: the new building Applied Science. For my feeling I made several nice architecture images but nothing was published. But there was also a parking lot and there I saw a bicycle of tubes. I made an image and placed the bicycle in another background and this “byproduct” was published.
What gear do you use.
I started my digital photography with the Canon G1. But at this moment I have the Canon 50D with the lenses Canon 18-55mm , Canon 18-200 mm and the Sigma 10-20 mm and the full frame Canon 6D with the lenses Canon macro 50 mm/2.5 , Sigma 28-70 mm/2.8, Canon 24-105/4 mm, Sigma 12-24 mm, Canon 70-300 mm , Speedlite 580EX II, expo disc, div Filters, rings, Tripod, one leg pod, gorilla pod. I have a Dell 2410 (digital) monitor and a Syncmaster BF 949 monitor9 which I both calibrate monthly with Spider.
What software do you use.
I started with the 0 version of Photo Elements, used the versions 4, 6, 8 and now I have on my computer Photo Elements 9 and 14 but also Photoshop CS 5 and Lightroom 5.7 and the last two I use normally.
Can you tell us about your workflow.
I have two built-in hard-discs for my photos. There I have made several catalogs. In the catalogs I have my projects with 30 images each. I download my RAW images with Lightroom. In LR I go first to LENSCORRECTIONS. Then I go to STANDAARD and use automatic first, from there I make my corrections. Sometimes I use the other possibilities in LR. If I am ready in LR I go to Photoshop and there I finish. And there I will use the Nik-collection if necessary. I have an automatic back-up on my computer with an external hard-disc, but I have also a separate hard-disc for images and if I have edited my last photo-session the first thing I do is to transfer them to that disc.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in architecture and abstract photography and how do you get started.
The first advice is a good knowledge about the use of your camera in general. For architecture, study examples of other photographers. Prepare your session carefully; look for the right light and shadows. Use the right lens and the right distance. Take many different images. And have also a good eye for the small and interesting details. And of course you work in RAW but try for the post processing to work with Lightroom especially for the lens correction tool. For abstract you can go nearly everywhere but search for industrial areas and with creative edit you can sometimes add details.
What are your favorite photographers ?
For architecture and abstract I will give no names because there are many good photographers and I don’t want to forget someone. Holland is a nice country but it is difficult to make excellent landscapes. For me there is one man who makes them and that is Piet Haaksma. I like his work.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and what is special to you.
I like the detail but for me it was important to get the right reflection from the surface and there I succeeded.
What made you decide to become senior critic and why are you so drawn in this job as volonteer.
The moment Alfred Forns, Head Senior Critic asked me for this job I was surprised, why me? I had a good discussion with Alfred before I agreed. I had my doubt whether I would be good enough to do the job. Now that I did many comments with very nice reactions and without any problems, I think I can do the job. My motivation is that I like to help people to become better photographers and now I do the job for a few months, I can say that I am happy with the result. And it is nice to do because you see that people like the way we work. We have a good team to do the job together. Everyone has his own approach and knowledge. What you also see, is that many owners of images after a comment come to your site to see what you are doing and many of them become followers or make favourites.
In the beginning it was difficult to find the right approach.
You know nothing about the owner of an image; his/her approach, his knowledge, his post processing programs. In my work I was responsible for the output of my group, you must deliver a good product, on time and within a budget. That needs a good approach with your contributors with whom you do the projects. I stayed within my character: straight and honest if I had to correct something. That never gave problems: we had a good team. I started my commenting the same way.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1x as a home base for your work.
I am glad to present my images on a quality site like 1x and to be a helping member there. Of course I am often disappointed with an NP and especially if I made a trip to do a project and did a photo session of hours and nothing is published. And that happens often. But if you are a member of a club you have to accept the rules. You can of course react when you don’t agree with something but you shouldn’t get lost in endless and useless conversations.