Q&A: Alex Crétey Systermans


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Absolutely. I realized that in many aspects of our life, moderation is often the best way. Excess brings fast joy while moderation brings long term happiness. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? I guess a lot more than ours, baffling about our parent’s! If it was one word only: money. I hope they’ll get over this. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Of course there are a lot around. Study how big corporations work for 10 minutes and you’ll see. What baffles me is that it’s not even hidden and everyone’s ok with that. What is it that interests you about photography? Building worlds. What is the worst thing about city life? Air. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Every small inhabited island. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Energy related phenomena. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? No idea with whom. Probably a researcher. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. I suck at science. But I have utter respect for scientists. I admire them. If I had to it would be a discipline that involves observation. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? When light is good, I always wish I had a camera. But I have a memory: That moment when I saw a group of 2 dozens of disabled people dressed in white in wheelchairs in perfect light enjoying a picnic in perfect scenery. It was in a small field by a small river and I spotted this from a little bridge. Perfect scene, beautiful and surreal. True story.

Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Teaching. How often do you take other people’s advice? I listen to people too much ! This makes me a terrible person when it comes to making decisions! Describe a personal hell. Paperwork. Accounting, definitely. Which living person do you most admire? My daughter, Lili. She’s the most admirable creature on earth. Trust me. On what occasion do you lie? Always. Except for this interview where everything I told is the absolute truth. What is the best way to educate yourself? Experiment, of course. I’m a self taught guy but self teaching is definitely a very slow process. When I could experiment I realized team work was really effective. What is the next book you want to read? I just bought The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Haven’t read it yet but I am looking forward to it. I loved “The Secret History” and this one took its title (and cover) from one of my favourite paintings in history, The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. A lovely little painting you can see at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Ultimate camera? Film medium format. Most used camera? Canon 5dIII and Mamiya 7II. What object do you want? A digital medium format camera. What object do you need? A digital medium format camera. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? “Imagine everyone on earth using a small device that would be a mix between a book, a telephone, a tv set, a cinema, and a record player, those devices are connected to each other, sharing billions of texts images and sounds creating a vast powerful unlimited network of billions of useful and crap information you can have access to: that ‘s the internet. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? No. Describe a cheap thrill. An erotic moment. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. 1st man on the moon. And compare the shots with the footage we all know! Are impulses more important than consequences? It has to be balanced at some point. Which talent would you most like to have? Fast thinking. I‘m a slow brain. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Take a rest from this interview 😉

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