Polish photographer Basia Pawlik recently shot a series of stunning fashion portraits using the Petzval 85. She managed to perfectly capture the subtlety and essence of this art lens.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
I'm a UK-based fashion photographer, I also specialize in portraits, e-commerce and event photography. I've studied politics, journalism, and culture ... my interests are wide, but after photography, it's mainly cinema and literature, this is where I look for inspiration.
I was always into photography, even since childhood, when I used to borrow my family's Zenit 122 camera. It became serious when I started studying in magical Cracow, going on long walks and capturing everything on black & white film. At some point, I started shooting with models which turned out to be my favorite type of photography. I'm a self-learner, also thanks to wonderful creatives I worked with, like make-up artists, designers, models, stylists, and other photographers. I currently work as a freelancer, but I also do a lot of product photography. Film photography is still my favorite, although I mostly shoot digital. I like experimenting with different techniques, old, rare lenses, Polaroids and free-lensing.
How was it shooting with the Petzval 85 lens?
My first impression: inspiring and fascinating. I don't remember the first time I heard about it, but using it has been one of my dreams for a long time. The effect it gives is an amazing swirly bokeh with the ability to change aperture plates. It is all part of a magical. I own an 85mm Petzval, which I find perfect for portraits, but also some full-body shots. It is definitely challenging for the photographer, I needed to adjust to it at first. I think personally that the Petzval lens makes the photographer think more of what he/she is doing, especially when it comes to light and composition. It seems obvious, but nowadays photography is mostly made without reflection, Petzval brings your mind into the next level of creating. And I absolutely love the results.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect portrait?
In my opinion, it's a combination of a perfect moment captured with amazing light. Obviously it depends on the type of photography, beauty portraits should be more perfect than realistic ones. I am a big fan of natural portraits, showing real people, when I shoot, even with models, I'm focusing on waiting for the perfect moment. Sometimes it is a pose, sometimes just the eyes, sometimes the angle. I think that the perfect portrait is just one in a thousand.
Have you had any difficult or challenging situations throughout your photography career?
Many, to be honest. I used to doubt in myself and my skills a lot, the photography industry is an extremely tough one, competitive and challenging. I'm smart enough to know that even when you're great at what you do you still need to be noticed, get likes & followers, otherwise, people will never notice you. I'm currently having one of those difficult moments as I've just finished working on one contract and don't know when I'm going to get another job. The key is to never give up.
As I mentioned, I'm a self-learner, I've been shooting something completely new in low light conditions when I had to use my own intuition to do it properly. I believe it is very good to experience as we can learn a lot and get stronger for the future – thanks to this I'm not afraid to shoot, even when something seems challenging.
What’s coming up this year for you?
The last few years were constant progress for me with workshops, showcases, a job that kept me going and fantastic, creative people I've met. I hope this year will be even better! My current goal is to move to London and work more, also with professional models, perfecting my portfolio. It will be all about taking great shots and staying inspired!
To see more of Basia's work visit her website at basiapawlik.com