Oscar Arribas is a photographer based in Valdeacederas in Madrid. He likes to wander around and take people's portraits and shoot landscapes, but says "I never stopped to really have a look around with a photographic point of view." Here, he shares his thoughts on photography and using the Lomogon 2.5/32 Art Lens.
I always admired the contrast between skyscrapers and humble districts, the used texture of its walls and that small town atmosphere absorbed by a gigantic city. Madrid offers something that is fascinating to me, the chance to get from the avant-garde culture and street fashion to a typical town life, in just a few subway stops.
My first photography steps started in a lab, with traditional processing, working on photosensitive supports. Nowadays, due to the fast working pace, the digital system became more important, but I always preferred giving my personal work a more analogue treatment. More "organic“. That is why, when I saw the 32 mm lens from Lomography I decided to use it for a personal project. It's a lens with a lot of personality, like the old lenses for analogue support, but it has a tamable personality. The best of both worlds.
The district showed itself as it is during those days. Midday lights are perfect to take out all the best of the wall textures. Graffitis are very present and alive, it's a constant change. I always found a kind of beauty in urban decadence, where erosion of time and men shape the city as a canvas. There are talking walls and doors.
The lens is really fun to use, it requires a certain kind of familiarization but you adapt to it very quickly. As the aperture system offers round apertures, it always creates a soft blur and the focal distance is really great. I was really surprised about the sharpness it produces on the largest aperture and especially with the middle apertures. Actually, when playing with the position of the smallest apertures, you can get a sort of double blur that can be really interesting, adding an extra to a lens that seemed very enjoyable to me. The size-weight relation is perfectly combined with a digital reflex camera and it is very convenient to shoot with.
After those photos, I traveled to Burgos to create a little story for a rap singer. I knew the lens was perfect for street photography and landscapes but I thought it would be interesting to see how it behaved when shooting portraits. Since my other favorite focal length to shoot portraits is a 35 mm, there was not a big difference so I went for it.
And there I was, sitting in front of Buse Spencer. A Spanish underground hip hop singer who, aside from his strong lyrics and musical style, turned out to be a very kind person. It wasn't the first time that I was working with him, so we already knew how to work together in a session. We moved to a rehearsal location in the city suburbs, a country place surrounded by highways and streets where graffitis where once more very present.
The lens lets you shoot intimate portraits. Due to its 32 mm focal length, you have to get really close to your subject and after a few shots, this lets you transmit real closeness. It's fantastic for wide general shots. I tried to emphasize the texture of his face. We worked in a shadowy place so we wouldn't create great contrasts. I grew up seeing photos of "In the American West“ by Richard Avedon and I knew that light would allow you to get texture and volume with an even light without losing its strength. After a few shots, we moved to the studio where I would shoot a few pictures with low light conditions. The advantage of shooting with a 32 mm lens is that you get fewer vibrations and this allows you to shoot with slow shutter speeds on your camera.