Petzval Artist: Portraits from Britta Burger

Meet film photographer, fashion editor, and stylist Britta Burger and see a few of her top-notch portraits taken with the New Lomography Petzval Lens.

Photo by Britta Burger

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography.
I shoot mainly editorials with a focus on subcultures and people on the fringes of fashion, style and – I guess – society. My background is fashion, I used to be a stylist/journalist. I still write, and I still style, mainly my own shoots, which tend to be a mix of fashion/portrait and documentary photography. Apart from my photo equipment I normally just bring a couple of bags of clothes if it’s a fashion shoot and let the models choose what they want to wear from my selection. I don’t think much about the clothes once I start shooting, the styling works when you don’t notice the clothes. It means they’re right. And then I just spend some time with whoever I shoot, it’s normally just me and the model, and wait until things start looking fun or interesting or relaxed or until the light is right or for any other sign and start shooting. You can’t work like that for everyone and I do make compromises sometimes, but it works for Cooler magazine, which is a skate/surf/snow/street mag I’m the fashion editor of, and a few other magazines and newspapers, brands such as Volcom, and hopefully for a new zine called Cheap Tricks (out in July) I’m working on with my friend Dasha Love (who also modelled for this Petzval shoot, alongside Mia Kingsley, another super talented photographer).

Photo: Britta Burger

How was it shooting with the New Petzval lens?
It was easier than I thought. I tried it out on a friend’s digital Canon SLR first, figured out how to do the swirl effect and then put it on my film one. Mia and Dasha found the fact that the lens was significantly bigger and heavier than the camera, and very old school looking pretty entertaining, especially when – due to the nature of the lens – I had to climb on fences and skate ramps to get enough distance between me and them and the background and apparently looked like I was on a pirate ship looking through a telescope.

Photo: Britta Burger

What do you love about film photography?
I like quite a specific aesthetic, it’s not only about analogue vs digital, I wouldn’t use just any lens or film either for example, there’s actually only one type of black and white film I use and three or four colour ones. To achieve the same look shooting digital wouldn’t be possible, and even if it was, I’d feel like I was wasting my time making digital photography look like it’s analogue. I don’t mind editing and actually love laying out photo spreads, but I find post production boring, with digital it feels like the shoot is only the start of a long editing and post production process. There’s a craft element to shooting on film course, which I’m fascinated with. That and the whole nostalgia thing with analogue photography is obviously a bit of a trend, but considering I’m pretty ancient and have owned and used some kind of analogue camera since the late 80s, I’m not nostalgic for something I only know from reruns of 90s TV shows at least. Not that I’m particularly nostalgic of the 90s, they weren’t better or worse than other decades. A general sense of nostalgia is part of photography though, you are capturing a moment, but when you look at the image that moment is past and you are generally pretty aware of that passage of time, it’s like looking at a memory. Film is more suitable for that. But that might just be a feeling.

Photo: Britta Burger

In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait?
There’s a lot of talk about capturing a person, someone’s essence, but I’m not superficial enough to believe in this. It’s hard enough to make someone look vaguely like they look in real life. In Roland Barthes’ famous book about photography, ‘Camera Lucida,’ he writes about going through all his recently deceased mother’s photographs until he finally finds one of her, aged five and in a winter garden, where he truly recognises her essence. But even that’s subjective, someone else might have ‘recognised’ her in a different picture. What you can see is predominantly the photographer’s idea of things, the way the photographer wants the world to be. Even in documentary photography, war photography, the photographer chooses what’s photographed, when to press the button. So if anything, a portrait is about the relationship between the photographer and the sitter, about what went on between them the moment the photo was taken, how the photographer sees the model, maybe, ideally, about a moment of truth.

Photo: Britta Burger

Have you had any difficult or challenging situations throughout your photography career?
I’ve been chased off people’s land once or twice, nothing really life threatening though, I generally get on well with people, the most challenging thing tends to be the budget.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional portrait photographer?
Hard to say, it’s different for everyone. Maybe try and become really good at shooting stuff you know – your family, your close friends, people you grew up with – before you branch out to the unknown. It might seem boring and mundane to you but it’s generally more interesting for people to look at than your pictures of your latest trip to Fiji.

Photo: Britta Burger

Thanks for Taking part Britta!

Visit Britta Burger's website for more of her photographs.

written by hannah_brown on 2014-06-13 in #people #lomoamigos #petzval-artist #petzval #britta-burger #lomoamigo #lomo-amigo

More Interesting Articles

  • Incredible Works on the Petzval Lens by Emily Soto

    written by givesmehell on 2015-03-24 in #people #lomoamigos
    Incredible Works on the Petzval Lens by Emily Soto

    Emily Soto is an accomplished fashion photographer based in New York City. Soto is known for her unique style and professional aptitude and she is one of the top names requested by fashion editors. Soto shot a series of photographs with the Petzval Lens. Let’s find out more through this exclusive interview and view her beautiful series!

    10
  • Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-07 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Ellie Smith

    Ellie Smith is a London-based fashion and portrait photographer with a real talent for taking simple and beautiful portraits. Recently, she took the Petzval Art Lens to the streets of East London to capture some urban shots. Read on for the full interview and see her striking photographs.

    1
  • First Impressions of the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens by Fashion Photographer Issa Ng

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-06-10 in #people #lifestyle #reviews
    First Impressions of the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens by Fashion Photographer Issa Ng

    Issa Ng is a Hong Kong-based fashion and commercial photographer. Leveraging on many years working as an art director and stylist for several international brands in the advertising industry, he was able to develop a strong sense of style and talent for conceptual execution, composition and intense imagery. He now specializes in portraits, and is continuously on the lookout for new and exciting projects. He talks about his experience shooting with the Lomography Petzval 58 Bokeh Control lens in this interview.

    4
  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • On the Brink of Fine Art: Emily Soto and the Petzval 58 Lens

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-06-25 in #people #lifestyle
    On the Brink of Fine Art: Emily Soto and the Petzval 58 Lens

    Her photos are distinctly romantic and brimming with artistry. Although Emily Soto is known for her high-fashion portraits and boasts of a portfolio that speaks of her magazine experience, her work, when crafted with the right concept and aptly art directed, tethers on fine art. This series of emotive fashion portraits taken with the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens is no exception.

  • Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    written by annoushka on 2015-05-27 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    Chloé Vollmer-Lo's photos speak for themselves. Every image, whether it's a portrait or a seemingly simple snapshot of a street alley, tells a story. The Paris-based photographer tested the New Petzval Lens 85 recently, and the results, as expected, speak volumes. She talks about her experience as a freelance photographer - and with the New Petzval Lens 85 - in this exclusive interview.

  • Liron Peretz Takes the New Petzval Lens to Berlin Fashion Week

    written by zonderbar on 2015-03-02 in #people #lomoamigos
    Liron Peretz Takes the New Petzval Lens to Berlin Fashion Week

    Liron Peretz is a talented Berlin-based fashion photographer who has been covering Fashion Week events for the last three years. For Lomography, she took the New Petzval Lens to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. Find out how she got along with it in this exclusive interview and see some of her beautiful backstage photos!

  • Shop News

    Pixelstick

    Pixelstick

    The most incredible lightpainting tool is here! Consists of 200 full color RGB LEDs in a lightweight aluminium housing will color your analogue world in different way! Create and animate different shades and shapes with the Pixelstick!

  • Daniela Majic's Secret Garden Through the Petzval Lens

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-01 in #people #lomoamigos
    Daniela Majic's Secret Garden Through the Petzval Lens

    Daniela Majic is a Canada-based portrait photographer who tells unique, dreamy, and fairy tale-like stories with her camera. She blends her love for fashion and craft-making in creating a theme that seems magical. Here's an interview with Majic along with a series of photographs from her latest work shot with the Petzval Art Lens, "Secret Garden," which wraps around a very intriguing concept.

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Justine Jugnet

    written by lomographyfrance on 2015-03-25 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Justine Jugnet

    Justine Jugnet is a French photographer based in Lyon who loves fashion photography. She recently took the Petzval lens to shoot with in Paris. Get to know more about her and her wonderful way of shooting the world around her in this exclusive interview.

    7
  • Beauty as Seen by Anna Fischer

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-10-07 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Beauty as Seen by Anna Fischer

    Anna Fischer calls herself a beauty documentary photographer. Her backstage photos of last year's New York Fashion Week revealed the glitz and glamour of such high fashion events. Her personal work, however, is more intimate, as seen is this series of photos taken with the new Petzvl 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens.

    1
  • Shop News

    Experience Sleek Medium Format Shots of Belair City Slicker!

    Experience Sleek Medium Format Shots of Belair City Slicker!

    Take high-quality medium format shots, professional grade panoramas and get tons of customizable features yet compact in size! Grab this camera at a discounted price!

  • Black and White Portraits Shot With The Petzval Art Lens By Hanna Varela

    written by candilsw on 2015-04-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    Black and White Portraits Shot With The Petzval Art Lens By Hanna Varela

    Hanna Varela was one of the photographers who participated in the exhibition jointly organized by Parallel Planets and Lomography Singapore and held last week. She is passionate about film photography and recently took black and white portraits! Here, Hanna talks about her awesome experience with the Petzval Art Lens and her elegantly beautiful masterpieces.

    4
  • Petzval, Turquoise and Purple Tales by Nicolette Clara Iles

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-08-17 in #world #lomoamigos
    Petzval, Turquoise and Purple Tales by Nicolette Clara Iles

    UK-based photographer Nicolette Clara Iles embraces all the soft nuances and aesthetics of film photography. She has worked with The Guardian, NME and Oh Comley Magazine, among others. Her new series of surreal images, created with the Petzval 85 Lens and LomoChrome Purple and LomoChrome Turquoise film, are mystic tales helmed by otherworldly characters, shedding an almost eerie light into the imagination and creativity of the artist.

    2
  • The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the Lunar New Year Parade

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-06-13 in #gear #lifestyle
    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens at the  Lunar New Year Parade

    Since Lomography launched its new Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens project on Kickstarter, we've been seeing a variety of pictures, from images of snow monkeys in Japan to behind-the-scenes shots of New York Fashion Week. Many of these pictures were shot with digital cameras, but we've yet to see how the Petzval 58 performs on an analog Canon Rebel camera loaded with black and white, and x-pro film. Join us on a trip through the heart of New York's Chinatown during the Lunar New Year Parade.