Hailing from Brazil and now in busy NYC, this young photographer accepted our challenge to take the Petzval Lens to one of the most busy and moving events of the city: The Fashion Week.
NAME: Driely S.
COUNTRY: Brazil – currently based in NY
USED CAMERA: Canon 5D II and III
Hello, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a photographer from Brazil, currently living in the New York of Woody Allen movies and Simon & Garfunkel songs. Fundamentally, I am an appreciator of beautiful things, even when they are ugly. I consider myself a Groucho-Marxist and I never take myself too seriously. I am allergic to authority and used to dream of being an anarchist until one day I sold my soul to the Rodarte sisters. Overall, I’m an unconditional lover of all forms of art and self-expression.
You are one of the first pioneers of shooting with the Petzval lens in a fast and busy environment as the Fashion Week. How was your experience with it?
For the past two years I have been trying to partner up with brands to do tintypes backstage, but due to the chaotic environment of fashion shows, I have not yet been able to make that happen. As soon as I heard of Lomo’s Petzval Kickstarter, I was sold! I knew this was my best bet to get the Collodion look, without causing a safety hazard. I had really high expectations for the Lomo Petzval since I had always dreamed of shooting with my real Petzval at these events. And hell-yeah, it delivered! This is probably my new favorite toy in my bag of tricks for Fashion Week coverage.
What do you think is the edge of this lens when compared with others?
Honestly, I love how much of a conversation piece this lens is. It makes beautiful images, partially because it makes people want to pose for you. Everyone is curious to know what type of lens it is, and why it is gold. Once you explain it is a 19th century lens adapted for digital, immediately everyone wants their photo taken. What’s not to love about a great piece of equipment that has the power to make people want to be captured?!
What is your favorite photo?
This was taken backstage at the Donna Karan show, one of the biggest and most crowded shows at NYFW. It was such a chaotic environment to shoot. The models were tired and no longer wanted to pose. She had just gotten her make-up done and saw me from across the room pointing my camera at her, and for a quick minute we shared this moment. Later she told me she had never seen a camera so pretty, she meant the Petzval.
Please share some advice on how to get the most of this lens in busy environments and with moving sujects.
I think the Petzval looks its best in busy environments. That is when you can really see the swirly come to life and your subject coming out of the background. If you never shoot in manual mode, chances are you will get your ass kicked on the first hundred photos. It helps a lot if you use Live View Shooting mode and zoom in, to ensure sharpness (especially if you are photographing people).
But most definitely, this is not a lens for moving objects. You really need to slow things down and take your time focusing. To me that is part of the beauty. Slowing things down like in the old days. Pretty much everyone that saw me shooting during Fashion Week was so fascinated by “The Golden Lens”, that even if they were in a rush, they agreed to stop and pose for a few minutes. The Petzval starts conversations and grabs your subject’s attention like no other lens will ever do. So if they are moving, chances are they will stop.
What photo opportunities or projects would you like to use the Petzval lens for in the future?
I am dying to use this on Editorial shoots. With the perfect gown flying around making the perfect photo spin. I also photographed the Dannijo presentation this season which consisted of Ballerinas dancing on a Boxing Ring. When the girls danced slowly, allowing me time to focus, it gave movement to the photos in a beautiful way. I am very curious to try photographing some dancers in a more controlled environment to see what kind of magic it will do.
In your website we can see a lot of nice high-fashion photos. Why do you enjoy to shoot this kind of photography?
It’s funny but for the longest time in my life I was very anti-fashion. I always thought of it as a superficial industry (in many ways, I still think it is). But then I fell in love with the works of Steven Meisel, Tim Walker and Paolo Roversi. And discovered all the beauty and fury that moved designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci. And it all made sense to me. Fashion photography can be anything you want. It is all about story telling, and it embraces all types of photography and creative methods. Fashion is fantasy but it is also reality.
Could you please share some advice with people who are just starting in the world of fashion photography?
There is this one quote by Cecil Beaton: the moment I read it I knew I wanted to work in Fashion. I still come back to it, anytime I feel in need of some advice myself.
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”