Weddings are special occasions, something that calls for a special place and a very special lens. German photographer Julia Vanessa Utsch had the opportunity to exchange her usual workplace for a beautiful weekend trip to the South of France to capture a wedding with the New Petzval Lens 85 Lens.
Name: Julia Vanessa Utsch
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Gear: Canon 5D Mk II
Profession: (Bohemian) Wedding & Portrait photographer
Hi Julia Vanessa, please tell us more about yourself.
I am a wedding & portrait photographer with a rather free-spirited approach to how things should be. I don’t believe in static rules and systems. I love couples with a hippie, boho, natural approach and a sense for style, but I encourage everyone to do their ‚thing‘ – whatever that may be. I love when people feel comfortable and real and can act the way they truly are. It makes me happy to see people just being, and feeling that this is enough, enjoying what life gives them and creating what they desire. By the way I believe in simplicity and focusing. What you need, not what you think you should need bases on what everyone around says, my complete belonging fit into a smart convertible and I can still see through the windows. ;)
How did you get involved in photography?
My grandpa’s analog Minolta in my teenage years. After he died I asked for permission and strolled through the parks in my hometown. I think it was a way of connecting to him, with what was important to him while he was still alive, some kind of therapy for my family history. And along the way it opened doors, another way of seeing world, a shift of perspective. Guess that’s why my photos fall into the rather pretty picture than deeply stirring category. But in a good way, I want to show people how amazing this wonderful universe is and that all negative and deep emotion is part of this. My fave quote describing that is ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’
Describe your photography style in three words.
Boho, free-spirited and aware. With light as the main actor. I like saying the light lets you see the light within, a rather yogic approach to what is inside us and who we really are.
You shot a very beautiful series of wedding photographs. Could you tell us about this series, and what you love about wedding shoots?
The haptics. You get the feel as if you could touch the photos even on a computer screen, the look draws you into the picture in a non-perfect world, but that’s what I like, it praises the imperfection of the moment, life, us. And that makes it so wonderful and real. Wedding shoots in general are the perfect combination of observing the happy moments, the setting and whole day is full of intention and hope, but also those truly human traits like nervousness, doubt, stress make it tangible. And I am part of it. And then there is the portrait session, where I get to slow the couple down, make them realize how beautiful all this is, first in a visual way, make them see what it looks like, how festive, how wonderful, and then we get to a deeper level, reminding them that they found each other, a companion, someone they share a lifetime with, all good and bad, experience what this life has to offer. And then they stop, hold on and realize and they shine, and sparkle and have peace, true peace for a moment. And that’s the most wonderful thing to see. I oftentimes step away for a bit and take pictures from afar, so they can enjoy this moment of bliss, shanti, inner peace.
What was your first impression of the New Petzval 85mm Art Lens?
Gosh this is so cool! That packaging is superb and the moment you unpack it gives you a special feeling, something like ‘you are about the embark on an interesting journey’.
Please tell us about your experience with it.
After the ‘this is so cool’ moment I thought ‘how do I use this?!’, and after some shots trying to get the best results comparable to what I have seen from others I let go, packed it into my back, unpacked in France at the wedding and just let it flow. And see, magic happened and I even screamed out loud (together with my assistant that day) when we saw what creamy realness it creates. And surprisingly, I mostly don’t shoot a lot of black and white, but it makes you wanna do it. It somehow does.
What inspires you to shoot?
Magic. People. Light. Everything that is hidden on the inside. Capturing the very common, casual, relaxed moments and making people see what is there, that they are enough, that I am, and that this is the real magic. And in the end it makes a beautiful portrait/ shot, because it is real, of not wanting to be more. Visuals would be flying hair, barefooted feet, a look that only a loved one can cause, a cranky but honest expression, hot summer air, capturing the way a situation, a person, a conversation felt instead of technically perfect documentation of the seen.
Do you have any advice to current or future Petzval users?
Oh I really don’t, just get into it and trust this little thingy that it will turn out right. Open to the imperfection or non-traditional way it works and lean into it fully completely and it will make you endlessly happy. And even your clients (especially the wedding couple) will see that and the feeling will spread in a split-second with everyone catching the creative fever. It is creating art by celebrating the imperfect, a very human trait.
Besides photography, what do you love to do?
Yoga, traveling, reading. Inspirational content like TED talks, 99U.com, the free people blog and others. And I’d say good food, friends, flowers and real talks are essential. Taking time offline, living by the season and the moon and my own rhythm. And being able to spread positivism, encouraging others and their dreams, make ’em dare. SPREADING THE LOVE.