Louis is a passionate and enthralling photographer. For his new adventures and projects, he used the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens in Paris. He shares with us the portraits he took and driving us to the Old Times.
Hi Louis, could you please introduce yourself to our community?
I live half the year in Miami where I had my last commercial photo studio and the other half in Paris. I am basically just photographing for myself now (no more commercial work). I like to walk the streets in Paris and photograph the people and the urban landscape here.
What is your story with photography? How did this passion start?
I studied photography in London and Cinema at New York University Graduate Film Institute. I began my career in photography in New York City, where I opened my 1st studio and started to do advertising photography. I lived and worked in this metier in New York, Rio de Janeiro, and finally, Miami. During my entire career I always found time to experiment and do personal projects.
This lens has a fascinating history, so let’s play the association game. What came to mind when you first saw the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens? What is special about its build?
Besides my love for photography, I also like very much the history of the medium. When I saw that this lens was going to be produced, I thought how fantastic it would be to experiment with a classic piece of equipment that goes back to the very beginning of photography. The design of these lenses from the early days of photography were much simpler then modern lenses. It is really fun to experiment with a lens that is not so clinical and completely corrected for aberrations like most of the modern lenses that most people are using.
The lens is a continuation of Lomography’s experimental tradition. What special effects have you done using the lens?
The lens really lends itself to separating the foreground subject from the background. I have used it for portraits, landscapes and some still lives. The lens really has an unique look to the images.
You pledged for the lens during Kickstarter, could you explain the reasons why you fell in love with the lens and decided to order it? You’re working on a nice project called “A Journey in Paris with Pascin and his circle of friends”. Could you please tell us more about it and how the idea came into your mind?
I joined the Kickstarter pledge because i thought the idea of such a lens being re-introduced was brilliant. Once I was lent the lens and started to experiment with it, I really appreciated the look of the images. I started to photograph some family, friends and people on the street and decided to put these shots into this project. The project is a photo essay about a Photographer / Artist named Pascin and his group of friends in Paris set in around the 1920’s or 1930’s. I decided to incorporate my love of Paris and it’s settings with the portraits street scenes that I was able to get with the lens into this project. The images here are just the beginning. Once my own lens arrives, I intend to continue and produce a portfolio for the project. My wife who is French and has studied French literature is helping me with this project as I would like to add some fictional text about the various people in the photographs.
Did the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens impart a special look to your photos? Tell us about your first photo session.
This lens has a very dreamy and somewhat impressionistic quality about the images it produces. Of course, much of the look depends upon the choice of the various aperture plates that you can choose from using. For the 1st session I took a very photogenic young female friend of my son to Le Palais Royal here in Paris, which is very ironic because when I started to research about the original lens, I discovered that it’s inventor, Charles Chevalier had his workshop in Le Palais Royal.
Why use a special art lens at all? Could you tell us a bit about the impact the use of this kind of lens might have on your work and photography approach?
I am a collector of vintage cameras and lenses. I have adapted some interesting optics for my personal photography and I really enjoyed using the Daguerreotype lens for my current project in Paris that we talked about. The lens gives me a certain painterly look for this project which is a perfect fit.
Let’s get technical. What tip would you give to a first-time user?
I would say to experiment with all of the aperture plates and get to know how each one renders each scene or shot. Also besides the obvious mentioning of looking for interesting backgrounds, one has to pay attention to the light. This lens interacts with light in a very interesting way, especially with the diffusion type of aperture plates. In backlight, the light can seem to wrap around the subject with a halo look.
To learn more about Louis work and project, visit his website.