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Petzval Artist: The Sensitive Vision of Théo Gosselin

Théo Gosselin is an up-and-coming young French photographer. Put simply, his favorite subjects are the following: youth, love, friendship and travels. Don't be fooled by his simple desires and give yourself the chance to discover the powerful and sensitive photos he took with the New Petzval Lens.

Please introduce yourself.

I’m 23, soon to be 24. I was born in Le Havre but I’ve lived in Amiens for the last 5 years, where I studied graphic design. Then, photography took over, and this passion became an essential part of my life. Happy and in love, I’m trying to live the life that I’ve always dreamed of … and it feels amazing!

Could you describe your photographic inclinations and aesthetics?

Since my first shots in high school, my favorite subjects always has been youth, friendship, love and travels. It is just about creating simple but powerful pictures, that convey real feelings and emotions. I’m not trying to cheat in my pictures or use tricks, I’m trying to capture this youth with a sense of tenderness, or even fantasy, along their travels and changes that happen when becoming adults.

You’re shooting analogue, why this choice in today’s fast-tracked world?

With the growing democratization of photography, I find it hard to stand out from the crowd. You also have to keep up with digital innovation and cameras that are becoming more and more technological and sophisticated. Of course, I’ve worked with digital equipment for years before going analog, and it helped me learn, understand, and not be a slave of my camera. It helped me develop my vision and some automatism that allow me to take the shot that I want without having to do hundreds of them.
Analogue is a great way to go back to the roots of photography. It’s a fascinating process that empowers a photographer. You feel that you control your creation, and it pushes you to use all your abilities to think, be imaginative or transgressive. The result is an amazing mix of textures and aesthetics.

Were you a Lomographer before or is it a new discovery for you?

I bought a Diana camera few years ago, but his plastic body didn’t make it through. I have the bad habit of brutalizing my cameras…oops!

Your photos are often described as being part of a film scene. If you were to live in a movie, which one would it be?

I love SO MANY movies, it’s truly inspiring, but I think the most important thing is to create your own. My biggest wish is to live my life like I’m in a movie, and the people I love are the heroes in it.

Which person (dead or alive) would you like to photograph, if given the chance?

Jack White, Jeff bridges, Jesus? Ahah!

And if you were to be photographed by anyone, who would you like that person to be?

Larry Clark.

Tell us about this photo series.

I took the Petzval with me on different shoots. It contains photos of my friends, my love and some more professional shots. Mostly portraits.

What did you think of the Petzval the first time you saw it?

OMG, what a beauty! It looks like a vintage nautical instrument.

What did you like about it?

I like the design, the weight and the conception of it! I also really enjoyed the feeling of going back to the basics of photography, while changing the aperture plates for instance. You feel connected to your camera.

How was your experience with the Petzval? What advice would you give to people shooting with it for the first time?

Amazing! Unfortunately, I’m not used to working with a 85mm lens. I usually shoot with a 35mm, which made it hard sometimes to distance myself from the subject. This lens is really perfect for portraits or photographing details. I think it’s good to distance yourself and choose a set where you can have a deep depth of field so you can play on the background and get that particular Petzval effect (I understood that far too late…). It’s an enriching experience, that teaches you how photography works.

Is there a project you would like to use the Petzval lens for now that you have tried it?

Photographing people with interesting appearances in outdoor spaces, with great backgrounds and natural lighting (like the beginning or end of the day lights). That would be perfect !

Speaking of projects, what are are your current projects?

I’m doing a trip from the West to the Center of the US, which should be pretty awesome! I’m planning to take a lot of pictures to fill my new book that will be out next autumn. But shush, it’s (almost) a secret.

If you want to discover more photos from Théo, check his Tumblr or his Facebook page.

Thanks Théo for this interview and enjoy the road!

The new Petzval Lomography x Zenit lens is now available for pre-order on our Online Shop ! They will be delivered on a first come, first served basis so don’t miss out on the chance to secure your own piece of photographic history and pre-order now!

written by mariemcnaan and translated by mariemcnaan

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The original version of this article is written in: Français. It is also available in: Türkçe.