Our new LomoAmigo Marta Bevacqua recently experimented with the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens. She spoke about her experience with us and shared some Petzval tips as well – check out her interesting interview here!
Hello Marta, please could you introduce yourself and tell us about your passion for photography?
Ciao! :) My name is Marta, I’m 26 and I live in Paris, where I work as a photographer. My passion for photography began by chance during high school. For a few years, I played online in a fantasy role and I was looking for a picture that suited my character by browsing sites like DeviantArt and Flickr. Even after I found the picture that I liked, I continued to check those sites every day, just for the pleasure of seeing some great pictures. The next step was almost automatic: I wanted to try it too. So I started with a broken compact camera that would go off by itself after each shot! Despite this, I continued and I didn’t stop. The place where I grew up, in the Roman countryside, has helped me a lot in coming up with ideas, but initially, I used myself and my sisters as models. After high school, photography remained a passion of mine, and then over time, also became my job.
Where do you get inspiration and how do you choose your subjects?
I take inspiration from everywhere. From nature (a little forest, light filtering through the trees and the leaves wet by the rain) and from the world (noticing small details while walking down the street, neon lights at night, the atmosphere in a particular city). Even from books (I have always been an avid reader), music and movies! And of course the works of other artists whom I follow and respect very much.
In the past few years, I have worked with model agencies, so the choice of subject is much easier than before. When I need new faces, agencies send me books featuring different girls, and I select the face that best matches the idea behind a shoot or the atmosphere that I want to create. I also work freelance and with friends, if I feel inspired by them.
Normally I prefer delicate, dreamy, ethereal beauty and a little bit of a childish face. The most important thing is that I feel inspired by their look. Usually, I choose my subjects through instinct.
Is there a photographer who has influenced your style?
Sure! Even more than one. It would be impossible to mention them all; I have had many different influences over the years. My style has grown a lot and I have experimented in various methods and types of photography.
Paolo Roversi and Tim Walker, for example. Besides the quality of their photos, I love the atmosphere they are able to produce. The surreal stories hidden behind their images and the pastel colors they capture make them seem as if they were paintings. I am constantly inspired by them. There have also been moments when I was inspired by the works of Ellen Von Unwerth, Steven Meisel, Michal Pudełka, Zhang Jingna, Billy Kidd, Kesler Tran and many others. And, it goes without mentioning Avedon and other masters of photography. I’m inspired by so many photographers as well as many other emerging artists; some younger than me such as Kiki Xue, Mira Nedyalkova, Laura Makabresku, Oleg Oprisco, Marie Zucker, Lauren Withrow, Sonia Szostak, Sara Maute, and many more.
Describe yourself with three words.
Dreamer. Reserved. Distracted.
What was your first impression of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
After you understand exactly how to use it, this lens allows you to create a range of different photographs. It is not that easy to use, if you want to make the most of its effects. As soon as I mounted it on my camera, I immediately started doing some experiments, testing it in every possible way. I must say that I found it extremely interesting and having huge potential, but the difficulties did follow behind. You can create “art” with a similar lens and it seems to create these digital-like paintings. It’s very beautiful.
What camera did you use with the New Petzval 58?
A Canon 5D Mark II
How was it taking pictures with this lens? Did you encounter any challenges?
I was fine, even if I had some difficulties. But only because I’m used to shooting really fast. Every time I see something through the lens that I like, I get excited and I cannot stand to wait. I can’t control it, so I accelerate; as if I could lose the perfect shot. With the Petzval, it’s not possible to speed up. The manual focus doesn’t make that possible; it’s not a normal manual focus. I simply had to tell myself to slow down; it became a wonderful experience to change the way I usually do things. I just followed the rhythm of the lens. Besides this, it took me a while to understand how to get the best effect of the Petzval. I tried to work on portraits, but also on different subjects as well. I’m satisfied with the results. Overall, I think that if I was taking the same photos with my usual 50mm, it would absolutely not turn out the same.
What aspect did you like most of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
The feature to control the bokeh. Normally you can just change the aperture. But with this lens, it’s possible to change the effect of the bokeh as well. Moreover, the effect radically changes depending on the light. A backlight, a scene in chiaroscuro, Christmas lights, trees in a forest or a windy day along the Seine; these scenes have allowed me to notice the changes that happen. I think the best setting is a bokeh with less “animation”. In my opinion, the effect is already quite exaggerated, but when used with “caution”, you’re able to make the most of it.
What advice would you give to those who approach the New Petzval 58 for the first time?
Try and experiment with all the settings. Make many test shots to see what you like and how you would like to use the lens. Only after this can you start to create something that’s only possible with this lens. In short, make the most of it and do it without haste. :)
Now that you’ve tried this lens, what other subjects would you like to photograph?
I would definitely try it in other fields. Architecture or landscape, maybe with people included. It could be really interesting.
Do you have some projects for 2016?
Yes, a lot!!! :) I’m now being represented by an agent in France (Brice Pascal Suisse), so hopefully this will bring many new experiences. I will also be having an exhibition in Paris during the spring. In addition to this, I have several trips, new workshops, and many personal artistic projects planned.