Featured Film Photographer: Jesse Struyvelt

  • Posted on: 30 April 2014
  • By: gordon

Jesse Struyvelt

Film. The medium I like to use for my work. There are many reasons to love film for shooting models and portraits. Colours, toning, more thinking, less shooting.. They all sound cliche but it's true.

I discovered it just about the time I got interested in photography but never used it to do serious work. A friend was showed me his Leica gear and let me shoot the M3 for a day. It was fun to do but the lab it was sent to wasn't anything professional so the scans I got back were really bad. Maybe that's why I never got into film directly.


However after a while I discovered Framed Network-- showing me there's much more to film than just some nostalgia. It was and is still used these days, luckily all the photographers in the Film series were doing the same kind of photography I love (portraits, models, ..). I got interested, like, immediately.

It started a process in my mind, a new stage which I was going through. Trying to find out what and why. The essence of shooting film and what's different to it and what would be different for me shooting film. It was scary and it is still scary sometimes. I bought a few film cameras to test out and use, no toys, the real stuff. But I never got further than a roll or two, to test the camera. It's hard to get the confidence shooting your actual work with it, even though you see the results of professionals like Ryan Muirhead, Tanja Lippert or Jan Scholz.. Eventually I sold the film cameras.

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About a few weeks later it was still going trough my mind. "Film". From one hour to another I decided to start "The Film Foundation". No plans, just a thought to bring film shooters together, like on the internet, but in real life too. As I didn't had concrete plans I just thought it would be great if I held a meeting. Right here in Belgium on the official launch date. We had about 12 people showing up, even 2 international ones. It was such a good day. I love the fact I reached people and connected them with each other. That's what I wanted to do. Make people interested in film, show they are other people who do and actually live just around the corner.


Aside from that, for me it was a huge boost and support too. I sold my M8, got the Leica M6 and never looked back. Shooting film since then. The Film Foundation will change this summer to the concept of sharing and connecting. The website will be updated as it isn't used right now. People will be able to share articles and portfolios. Keep meetings in their very own country to stimulate the film spirit. Finally, film also connected me to so much interesting people all over the place, there's just than different kind of people in the film world that are so inspiring, helpful and positive.


The reason I use it for my photographs are the usual things like the feel and look, toning and colours. But the things that come with them too, they are even more important. The connection with people and the lab. The longer (but not slower) process than digital, the direct feel of the pictures lying in my hand and many more. In the end it's about the people and the connection, film is just the right tool for the job.

I also want to thank a few people who supported me on the way to film photography. At first my friends. Secondly, Carmencita Film Lab. It is the lab I use for developing my rolls, they were so enthusiastic and helpful from the very beginning. (I love you guys!) - www.carmencitafilmlab.com

Also pages like BelieveInFilm & JapanCameraHunter with their lovely loads of gear photo's, film stacks or interesting stories. And thanks Gordon to give this opportunity to me.

Feel free to check out my work at www.jessestr.be or follow me on instagram