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Petzval Artist: Unique Wedding Pictures by Photographer Maxime Desessard

Wedding season is here and the Petzval is getting ready to celebrate many happy moments. French photographer Maxime Dessesard didn't miss the opportunity to try it out at a wedding he was shooting. One might say that the real wedding was the one between Maxime's style and the Petzval's swirly bokeh. Read on to discover the wonderful and touching pictures and hear about the photographer's experience and the tips he dished out.

Name: Maxime Desessard
Location: Paris
Camera: Canon 5d mark III

Hey Maxime, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Maxime, I’m in my thirties. I have a passion for all types of photography and more generally everything with a creative or artistic approach.

How long have you been a photographer? What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

I started my career in photography as the assistant to a fashion photographer in Paris almost ten years ago. Today, I do wedding photoreports in France and all around the world. I also love travelling and taking more personal pictures.

How did you become a professional photographer and why did you choose to focus on wedding photography?

I’m lucky enough to be part of a wedding “photojournalists” generation whose work is appreciated and valued, thanks to both the opportunities of the Internet and the convenience of digital equipment.

You use the approach of a reporter in your photography. How does it make your work different from a classical wedding photographer’s work?

When it comes to weddings, my first trait is being very discreet when I take pictures, not intervening in the course of the day. That way I’m able to take spontaneous pictures, capture moments and emotions that come my way.

As a photographer you are sometimes immersed in the privacy of famous people. Isn’t it frustrating not to be able to share your pictures with most people?

Even though I like sharing my pictures on my wedding photographer’s website or my Facebook page, I remain a craftsman who must respect the right of personal portrayal of his clients.

Can you share an interesting story that happened to you during a shoot?

One of the nicest stories that happened to me as a photographer took place in India, at the Kollam Market. I was trying to be as discreet as possible when shooting but I was spotted pretty quickly. Instead of feeling discouraged, the Indian merchants adopted me and I became some kind of “official” market photographer, taking portraits of all the traders there! They all gave me their addresses and emails and I sent all these people their pictures afterwards !

You agreed to try the Petzval Lens for us. What were your thoughts when you first saw it?

The Petzval comes in a beautiful case and it is delightful to discover this astonishing object from the past, its aperture plates and beautiful pouch. The gold finish is outstanding and the weight of the lens makes it trusty. The focus offset from the traditional ring is easy and accurate.

What did you like about the Petzval and what is its greatest advantage in your opinion?

The first thing that stands out is its amazing looks! When I used it in a wedding, some photo enthusiasts asked me a whole lot of questions and my fellow video artists dreamt of borrowing it for a few moments. The thing is, I have tons of more expensive lenses in my camera bag which did not attract such curiosity!
The pictures taken with the Petzval Lens have a unique look, a very “analogue” touch with an incomparable charm. At full aperture, the infamous bokeh is very nice and very recognizable.
Taking pictures with Petzval is somewhat going back to basics of photography: taking the time to consider its diaphragm, focusing manually it without relying on electronic controllers, searching for aesthetics before technical perfection.

Can you tell us about the series of photos you took with the Petzval Lens?

Taking the Petzval Lens to a wedding is still quite a challenge: everything goes very quickly and there is no room for mistakes . I was a little scared at first, especially about the manual focusing which is far from the lenses we have today. The live view helped me be accurate in the heat of the action. I could also take different pictures, more artistic and dreamy, thanks to the fine soft focus that the lens can create.

Which is your favorite picture and why?

I really like the picture of the married couple on Place Vendôme, the bokeh on the beautiful building facades is very original and aesthetic. The lovely blurry aspect gives a timeless side to this picture that could have been taken many years ago. An image is appreciated as a whole, its atmosphere, its authenticity.

Do you have some recommendations to give to those who would be using the Petzval Lens for the first time?

Relax, appreciate the subject, and… treat yourself. This is the opportunity to try new things, to experiment, attempt images that come out of the ordinary.

What are your future projects?

Some weddings all over France and in the world, some shootings for lovely perfume brands, a personal project that I would like to do this winter in the south of India.

Many thanks to Maxime for trying out the Petzval Lens and we wish him many beautiful photo projects!

written by shibuya and translated by lomographyfrance

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The original version of this article is written in: Français. It is also available in: 中文(繁體版) & Italiano.