Antonio Castello is a photographer from Berlin. He tested our Petzval Lens at the Berlin Fashion Week and we are impressed with the outcome. Here are some Insights to his life and his passion to photography.
It’s quite hard being in a world where a lot of people aspire to be a photographer. It’s even harder to make a name for yourself. How was it like to start a career as a Freelance Photographer?
To be a freelancer is a full-time job, in fact, you end up working more than in a regular job as you have to always stay in the game and most of the time work over hours. I think I'm still not in the place I want to be, although I have sporadic photo jobs and I'm always working on a new photo project, I'm still fighting to make myself a name and get to the place where I can say: okay I did it, I'm a full-time photographer.
How does your current workspace look like?
I'm a home office worker, I have never seen the need to find a studio or office for myself, I like to work where my home is as I feel more free and chill. Although sometimes it is hard to focus and concentrate in your own home, I think I'd like to stay here for a longer time before getting a studio or workplace. I live in a small apartment in the north of Berlin, here I'm surrounded by my camera collection and lots of pictures. Although they are all around, I have never found the time to hang them on the wall so they are just laying in their frames on the floor. I also like to collect magazines and lot of books, this always comes in handy when I'm looking for ideas or inspiration.
You’ve always had a camera in your pocket since you were a little kid. Is there one camera that you’ve always got in your pocket before going outside to explore the world?
My LC-A, that's my day to day camera, it's small, reliable and fast, and I always have it with me.
Having a creative mind can be challenging at times. Some of us need inspiration and a clear view. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I spend a lot of time watching movies and surfing online, I get very inspired after watching a movie: the story, the colors, the composition, all of it makes me want to go back to my table and keep on doing my art. Especially movies about artists and documentaries about creative people. I remember being super inspired by "Factory Girl", the movie about Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. One night, after watching that movie, I got out of bed, went to my table and started to plan a new project. I also get inspired by other people, I'm very jealous of other creatives and artists and the work they share online, and when I see someone with a great idea, I wonder why I didn't make that first and get angry with myself about it, so I'll immediately start to plan a new art project before someone else can do it. As a matter of fact I follow a lot of people on Instagram and whenever I see something good I try to ask myself how I could do it better, or what I can learn from it, this process can cause a lot of frustration as well ...
How do you think your life changed after turning a hobby into a career?
My career has always been my hobby, there is no job that I have done that I didn't want to do beforehand. I'm never looking for a job that just pays the bills, I'm always looking for projects that fulfill my hobbies, this is why I started to work with Lomography. When I can't find a job, I just try to find out how to make money out of my hobbies.
You worked with the Petzval 58 at the Berlin Fashion Week. How was it like? Also, what advice would you give a first-time Petzval user?
I'm a big fan of the Petzval lens, I think of it as a unique tool that adds something to my fashion work and that no one else is doing. When I shoot at Fashion Week, other photographers often approach me and ask about the lens. Models and designers as well, they think I'm crazy for shooting such a slow, heavy lens on a high-speed assignment. However, I like the way my photos look, when I shoot with the Petzval backstage: the colors, the saturation, the focus, it's very very unique. The Petzval lens is not something that you should use for the first time on a busy assignment, this is a tool that needs a learning curve. So my No. 1 tip would be to take the lens outside, to shoot street photos with it and to practice a lot until you get fast with the focus knob. I also try to stick to only one aperture per shooting when doing a fast shooting, a medium/big aperture that let the bokeh be free while you can control the focus.
If you could describe your work in one sentence, what would it be?