First Impressions of the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens: Micaela Sousa aka Nomadic by Choice
When material scientist Micaela Sousa aka Nomadic by Choice took up a camera to start her photographic journey, she made our world a little brighter. Elegantly combining colors in straight and chic compositions, she captures everything from jade-green plants to backstage scenes of fashion and ballet shows. She tested the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens for us and captured tender portraits of femineity.
Please tell us about your photography. How long have you been doing it?
I am a material scientist by trade. When I’m not practicing science, you’ll find me packing my gear to explore all that Berlin has to offer, or hitting the road to take the show somewhere else. My everyday hustle is balancing science, photography and jazz dance.
I guess, I’ve always been interested in photography and visual arts. Three years ago, I settled in Berlin and photography became a more urgent passion. I was completely drawn by the urban scene. A couple of years ago, I was going through a hard time and realized that life is way too short to not completely go after things I am passionate about. I bought myself a DSLR and a flight to Iceland. The minute I set foot there, was the moment I decided to step up my photography game. Since then, I stay strapped and started to think differently about photography. The change of mindset was crucial.
I don’t see myself set on one genre of photography just yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll go through various stages over the time. I would say though I’m a project photographer. For each project, I suggest a story without giving it away. The process is always the same; I come up with some idea and as I go out to materialise it, the idea eventually morphs. Or not.
What is the pull of photography?
For me, photography is a way of feeling. It is a way of expressing myself just like dance is. As for a message, I am continuously pushing boundaries in order to create shots that are emotional and edgy.
This lens has a fascinating history, so let’s play the association game. What came to mind when you first saw the Daguerreotype Art Lens? What is special about its build?
The build is absolutely magnificent – the shape, design and brass construction, you name it. It’s such a charming, romantic old school type of lens. Lomo got my attention from the very first minute I saw the Daguerreotype Art Lens. When something that unique comes along I am always interested in giving it a shot. Funny enough, whenever i went out to shoot with the lens, it drew a lot of attention from people!
What did you take pictures of? What camera did you use?
I took some photos of a couple of friends of mine hanging around in a park and also some street life at night. Just, you know, to get used to it. The following sessions were a bit more staged, taken at my place, with my friend Natalie. I’ve shot the whole thing using my Nikon 5100.
Did the Daguerreotype Art Lens impart a special look to your photos? Tell us about your first photo session.
Yes, totally! Well, the first photo session was a bit of a struggle. Especially for someone who is fond of sharp photographs. It took me some time to get used to it and communicate with it. So, a lot of trial and error was involved. I guess when it comes to lenses, one is constantly seeking out for perfection. I know I am. So, testing this lens was, above all, challenging. The lens does not provide a “modern” look but it sure offers a unique one. The dreamy effect you gain with the Daguerreotype lens is absolutely beautiful.
The lens is a continuation of Lomography’s experimental tradition. What special effects have you done using the lens?
I can’t really say I’ve done any special effects. I did played around with some of the aperture plates though. The biggest challenge was not using one at all! The results of shooting wide open can be quite surprising and astonishing.
In terms of your own photography needs, what is the best feature of the Daguerreotype Art Lens?
I think the rendering for portraits is truly amazing. It yields a more intimate experience with the subject. I also loved the manual focus. I must say, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning but it is actually pretty easy to control it.
Why use a special lens at all?
Why not use one? It’s always a great way to leave your comfort zone and explore something new. Especially, when we’re talking about such a unique and exquisite lens.
Let’s get technical. What tip would you give to a first-time user?
Well, set aside some time to really get to know the Daguerreotype Art Lens. Make good use of the aperture, especially the large aperture plates. Also, make sure to choose your background carefully.
Basically, take a U-turn like I did. I am pretty sure you will fall in love with the soft dreamy effect that the Daguerreotype Art Lens offers. I know I did.