Andrej Russkovskij AKA Andrea Russo is an avid film photographer and active community member who has a soft spot for portraits, making him the quintessential Petzval Amigo. He recently tested the Petzval 85 Art Lens with different kinds of film, among them black and white, Velvia 50, Kodak Elitechrome and Fuji Superia 200.
Please tell us about yourself and how you got into photography?
I’m Andrea, I’m a veterinary surgeon from the north of Italy, currently based in London. I’ve always been fond of art to the point I was torn between an art academy and a scientific career. Eventually I decided to pursue the former as a hobby. I took the first step in the analogue world in 2010, when I brought a Diana Mini with me in New York.
How was it shooting with the New Petzval lens?
I loved it from the very first second. Probably because I spent so much time anticipating the moment when I could have held it in my hands. My favorite thing in photography is portraiture, and it’s no secret that the Petzval is the undisputed queen of this genre. The lens is incredibly easy to use, especially if you’re used to the focusing system of Lubitel, Hasselblad or similar. The aperture plates are also good fun.
What do you love about film photography?
If you take a look at my pics it really doesn’t take long to realize that portraits are the thing I love the most about photography. It’s incredible how they never bore me, and how, the more I shoot, and the more I want to create something new, challenge myself and try to surprise myself too. That’s why I’m never tired of taking pictures of my favorite people and, at the same time, I’m excited about having new models. There are so many different ways to approach a person and their face. And I love the idea of being only at the beginning.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait?
It’s a mix of different things: the connection between the photographer and the model, the skills and taste of the former and the attitude and the ability not to hold themselves back, to follow directions and to play in front of the camera of the latter. If the model is not comfortable with the set, outfit, makeup or instructions, the magic will never happen. And it’s something so easy to feel when you’re shooting.
Any plans or projects for 2016?
There will be so much going on in the new year: more blog entries on andrejrusskovskij.com, more logbooks, following the tradition of Iceland’s “Jord + Vatn” and Florida’s “Flamingo Palm Neon” (the next trip planned is Thailand in February!), possible exhibitions, hopefully more magazines collaborations, and certainly many more portraits! My main goal is to try my best not to allow my job to overshadow my passion for photography.