A couple of months ago, we invited Instagrammer Ashok Kumar to test out the Lomo'Instant. As our latest collaboration, Ashok tries shooting with the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens and explores photography beyond the square format he is used to.
- Name: Ashok Kumar
- Instagram: @zomgitsashok
- Website: zomgitsashok.exposure.co
- Country: Singapore
- Lens: Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Tell us more about your journey as a photographer. How do you develop your skills?
I started off doing photography at the age of 17. I was in a photography club in school and I usually borrowed an SLR from my friend for photo walks. One of the biggest reasons that made me want to do photography was because of the platform Instagram. It made photography more accessible for everyone and I was personally driven to improve myself when I used the platform. As time went on, I shifted from phone photography to using an actual camera. Strictly learning from trial and error, I have reached where I am today.
What/Who are the major influences in your work?
Since I love doing street photography, I look up to local Singaporean photographer Chia Aik Beng (@aikbengchia) as one of the major influences in my work. I really admire his photos and I have gone for walks with him. One of the things I learned from him is to just shoot and enjoy as there is no right or wrong.
Another group I look up to as an influence is the Colossal Photos (@colossalphotos) family which I joined last November. My improvement since I've joined them has been tremendous and learning from each and everyone has been a blessing. The importance of having and continuously gaining confidence is one of the most important lessons that I am learning from being in the group. As it turns out, there is a huge difference in the photos when you are confident and when you are not.
What is your philosophy as a photographer?
I always tell everyone, if you do not like your own photos then no one else will like it. You have to love your own before others can. Capturing candid moments is my favourite especially when it is full of emotions.
"Rather than a profession, photography has always been a passion for me, a passion closer to an obsession"
- Marc Riboud
How was it like shooting with the Petzval 58? Any memorable experience during the shoot?
Shooting with Petzval 58 was a challenge. It was my first experience using a manual focus lens and it was definitely new to me. But shooting portraits with this lens was an absolute charm. The bokeh it brings out is of another level and I loved it extremely. One memorable experience was going to the ArtScience Museum and shooting at the light installation with my friend being the subject. Choosing the shapes that come out at the back was fantastic and I really love how it came out.
Which photo(s) are your favorite? Why?
In my first few days with the lens, I decided to try taking portraits. I really love the ones that were taken in the museum because it made me see the lights play in a different manner. My favourite would have to be the one with the hearts in full colour.
I decided to try something different in the other days. I tried to do some street photography with the lens. I must say it was a huge mountain to climb due to the manual focus but I would say I managed alright. My favourite from that lot had to be the the one where I got a picture of a baby peeking above her father's shoulder.
Any tips on how to fully utilize the Petzval 58?
Take your time, plan out your shots and also finding the perfect location to shoot. It can be quite a charm to use this lens but with the correct settings and patience, you can push your shots to the limit.