Natalie Wells is one of the original UK Lomography community members who can always be seen at our events, workshops and parties. She recently took the new Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens for a test drive around London.
Please tell us about yourself.
I decided I was going to be a photographer when I was 7 and I haven’t put down the camera since; my Dad super-glued one to my hand as a joke. Having lingered around outside the London Lomography shop in Soho since it opened in 2009 and they have finally taken pity on me and given me a job. Now I’m the wholesale manager and with my boyfriend (whom I met through Lomography) by my side, I’m a bit like a Lomography preacher; dressed in black and just as scary.
How was your experience shooting with the lens?
I had the best time shooting with this lens. I’m a professional portrait photographer and Victorian photography enthusiast, so the Petzval had already piqued my interest. When I was asked to test this and not to shoot portraits I was a little worried, but the lens came into its own in the wild. It was fun, easy to use and so great for experimenting. The bokeh is incredible and gives even the most mundane of settings a dream-like and ethereal quality. I became a little addicted to shooting with it once I realized it could transform the world in front of me so completely, even just by opening the Petzval right up and shooting into the night sky at the streetlights visible from my balcony. Everything seems more magical when you view it through the Petzval.
Tell us a bit about these shots.
I’m a macabre and fun-loving taphophile, so trying this lens out in Highgate Cemetery was a dead cert (pun intended). I also took it for a spin around two of my favourite buildings in the country: the V&A and the Natural History Museum. As with all my work, there is a sense of melancholy, fore-boding and un-ease. Amusingly that was not my intention on the days I took these photos, but hey-ho, you wouldn’t expect Wednesday Addams to take photos of pink fluffy bunnies, not living ones at least.