Photographer and journalist Ömer Serkan Bakır, who recently tested the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens, thinks that "young photographers should take pictures at least once with analogue cameras."
Hi Ömer Serkan, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I do not know where to start when this question is asked. So let me tell you the first time I met a camera. I did not know what it was for when I held a camera for the first time. I think I was 6-7 years old. I'm talking about an Agfa-branded camera. I saw that camera as a toy in the first place. But I remember that I was thinking it was a delicate equipment and meticulously examined the diaphragm-snapshot mechanisms that I carefully opened and closed. Later on we had an SLR camera that we used with my brother. Anyway, I have always been interested in photography at a certain point until my high school years. When university time came, I entered Istanbul University Control Systems Technology department. But then I realized that technical stuff does not attract me very much. After I finished that department, I entered Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts Photography Department. In my opinion, the most pleasant and a bit troublesome part of photography is analogue time with dark room adventures. Almost all our homework and many projects were requested in black and white. So we had a dark room both at home and at work. I think that the fact that I worked in the dark room until the morning added a lot to me. I am a lucky person who transitioned from the dark to the light room and experienced everything from film to digital.
We know you have been working in the field of photography for many years. Where does your passion for photography come from?
Taking pictures since childhood has been a very special effort for me. However, the real sense of this matter and the opening of my eyes has been when I started to work for Fotoğraf Dergisi.. I think it is the dream of every photographer to be in the same environment with the master photographers I just heard in those years, to go out with them, to choose photographs.
You are working mainly with digital photography nowadays, but you have a past with analogue as well. What do both of them mean for you?
I believe it is very important to start taking pictures with analogue cameras. There are so many photographers who do not know what 36 exposures mean and every photo is important... Since it makes taking photos more attentive and careful photographs in the first stages of photography, I wish we could make a rule that beginners start shooting with analogue cameras initially. Of course this does not seem possible at this moment. However, I suggest that young photographers take photos at least once with analogue cameras. I want them to experience the exciting time, the impatience and the happiness until you see the results.
You tested the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens recently. Can you tell us about your experience with it?
To be honest, I have tested and used countless lenses until now. However, none of them interested me as much as the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens. It is very impressive that there is a lens under Petzval’s name and optic design. It was a little tricky to focus for someone like me, who uses glasses, but every part of the shoot was very satisfying.
What did you like most about the Petzval Lens?
I liked the interchangeable aperture plates and the bokeh control ring. With these two features, it is possible to shoot hundreds of different photos. It is possible to spend long moments taking photos of ordinary things and getting very unexpected results.
Do you have a favorite photo that you shot with the Petzval Lens so far? Can you tell us the story behind it?
I took a lot of photos with the Petzval Lens in İstanbul. Then I went to Sapanca for 3-4 days, for a short vacation. I was taking photos of abandoned boats at the shore of Sapanca Lake. A few young photography enthusiasts approached me, because they were curious about the lens I was using. We had a lengthy chat about the lens and its features. Again in Sapanca, the waiter of the restaurant we were having lunch with asked about the lens and said he had never encountered such a lens before. He asked such interesting question about the lens, considering he was a newbie in photography that I was very impressed.
Do you have any tips for people who will use the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens for the first time?
The first thing people who are new to the Petzval 58mm Art Lens should know that it is a little hard to shoot fast with this lens… They might need more time to have a calm, controlled and enjoyable shoot. Actually, it is not hard to use this lens. But to insert the aperture plates without dropping them, finding the right exposure setting, getting the desired effect with the bokeh control ring all need a little getting used to. Also, if you do not like to draw attention to yourself, don’t get the brass version. But if you enjoy being the center of attention, the brass lens is perfect for you…
For more information about Ömer Serkan Bakır, you can visit his website or follow him on Instragram. You can also see his review of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens for Fotoğraf Dergisi from here.