The Petzval Experiment: An Interview with Brian Ho of thegaleria


Wedding photographer Brian Ho is no stranger to Lomography. He is in fact, a LomoAmigo. Again, he has embarked on a challenging and exciting project: shooting film and with the Petzval Lens.

What was the inspiration behind this experimental project?

The idea of The Petzval Experiment #thepetzvalexperiment was to try out something really experimental. The Petzval is after all a very unusual lens. There was never a question whether it should be shot in film. My roots have always been in the analog medium. The question was more on which film to use. I didn’t want the usual ones in the likes of Fuji, Kodak and Ilford. So, I picked the CineStill 800T, a film I had prior experience with but nonetheless not a film that most photographers are familiar with. One of the things I’ve established very early on was that this has to be a long-term project exploring different genres of photography, some of which are out of my comfort zone. There are only 2 rules with The Petzval Experiment. Firstly, it has to be shot on a Petzval 85 Portrait Lens and nothing else. Secondly, only on the CineStill 800T . More of my Petzval Experiment work can be seen here .

Wedding photos by Brian Ho taken by Lomography Diana F+ , Holga and Belair camera.

Having shot with the Petzval Lens before, has your experience changed?

The Petzval lens has always been challenging to use. It’s manual focus with a very unique focusing knob. Add that to the fact I like shooting really wide (usually f/2.2). Plus the entire project was done in analog film — no instant preview. I think you get an idea of the scale of the complexity. Having said that, vintage lens must be appreciated in their own special way. One of the most distinctive features of the Petzval is the swirly bokeh, a characteristic that grows on you after a while if you spend enough time appreciating it.

Are you more confident in pushing the creative boundaries of the Petzval 85 Art Lens ?

Did I tell you that I was embarking on yet another Petzval Experiment? This time with the Orwo N74 black & white film. Yes, it’s another unusual film.

Photos by Brian Ho .

While most photographers are heading to the digital spectrum, it seems you have made a conscious decision of having film as your medium. Why is that?

I have never been able to find a satisfactory answer to this question. I’ve been often asked about this thing called the “film look” and whether it was the reason why I still shoot in the analog medium. I think to summarize film photography merely in terms of the “film look” is to see things in a very tight and narrow perspective. I would prefer to describe film photography as a way of life. It’s a life where you accept photography as an adventure with a good measure of uncertainty. You press the camera shutter and you learn to trust your instincts and intuition. It’s like what Cartier-Bresson described as ""the moment a photographer is creative." That is my chosen way of life. That is how I choose to experience photography.

Please share your favorite photo from the ones that you shot with the Petzval 85 Art Lens , and the story behind it?

I don’t think there was any particular photo that really stood out. I’ll prefer look at this in another perspective. Every Petzval Experiment project has a unique story on its own, each with its own inspiration and back-story. Every picture to me is important.

Photos by Brian Ho

*Do you have any advice for new and future users of the Petzval Lens ?

Actually, I’m not in any position to give any advice with regards to this matter. The Petzval Lens is merely a photographer’s tool just like how a brush is to an artist. How or what the photographer decides to paint with the lens is really up to the photographer.

Photos by Brian Ho

Learn more about the photographer and his work on the thegaleria website. .

written by karenatsoi on 2015-07-11 #gear #people #review #petzval-lens #brian-ho #petzval #petzval-85

One Comment

  1. steamtug1959
    steamtug1959 ·

    Schöne Fotos !!!! Sehr gut !!!!!

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