Photographer, filmmaker and journalist Souleyman Messalti has photographed a wide range of social groups from around the globe. We lent him the new Neptune Convertible Art Lens System which he took to the streets of London.
Name: Souleyman Messalti
Location: London, UK
Website/Social Media links: www.souleymanmessalti.com
Other interests aside from photography: Travelling, film and generally learning about different cultures.
Tell us a bit about your photography background?
I’ve always had an interest in cameras - ever since I can remember. I really got into photography about 4 or 5 years ago whilst I was studying journalism. I experimented with a bit of fashion photography at the time — doing more staged shoots — and soon realized it was actually everyday people, their personalities and their emotions that I wanted to capture through my lens.
What would you call your photography style?
I strive for my photos to be as representative of the person's personality as possible or at least my interpretation of their personality. I want to use the connection that sparks in the brief moment I meet subjects, many of whom I have never met before. I like to think of my work as a reflection of specific inner feelings at a given time: excitement, distance, physical proximity and maybe a bit of pride.
What was your first impression upon seeing and holding the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System?
I was genuinely impressed by how light and portable they were! I could actually carry them all in one hand - and I have notoriously small hands!
How does the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System fit into your style?
When shooting portraits with the 80mm lens, I liked how it pushed me slightly out my comfort zone, having me step up close to shoot my subjects, making me get even nearer to them, literally less than half a meter away and subsequently getting more intimate shots. Shooting with prime lenses was a blast too. As a trade-off for the inconvenience of switching lenses, the image quality is considerably better, featuring more pristine and vivid colors and a nicer depth of field.
Could you share your best photo and the story behind that shot?
I like the picture of this guy I shot at Dalston’s Ridley Road market (see image below). Ridley Road market is a very colorful East London haunt with a lot of history, a patchwork of cultures and a buzzing local community. This guy was just standing outside his shop looking like he was an integral part of the whole market decorum - with a lot of stories to tell. We had a nice chat, he gave me some of his best anecdotes, told me about how the market had changed over the past decades he'd been working there and gave me his best look for the picture.
Any pointers that one should keep in mind when using the Neptune Convertible Art Lenses?
Make sure to set your focus right!