Whenever we mention new Lomography gear coming up, Daniel Schaefer is one of the first to knock on our door. Showing him our prototype of the new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Art Lens, he was eager to get his hands on it to test its limits. Equipped with a follow focus and his Sony A7, he was curious to see the new Petzval's results in low lit streets of New York.
Hi Daniel, welcome back to the Lomography Magazine and thank you again for testing our new Petzval 55mm f/1.7 MKII. In case some of our readers are not familiar with your work, yet, please tell us a bit about your photography background.
Always striving to share a story, I find myself flitting medium to medium addressing my interest in whatever way it wants to manifest itself. As a photographer, a television writer, poet, actor, and recovering magician, my sense for narrative has always been kept keen. Surrounded by similarly driven people, I take every chance I can to help share their narratives in a meaningful way.
Could you tell us about your approach or philosophy behind your style in taking portraits?
When it comes to taking a person's portrait, it’s all about finding whatever inherent narrative their gaze and posture hold. Every person lands in frame in a different way, and often when shooting a close-up portrait, it’s easy to drop all of your subjects into the same realm as far as pose and story go. Finding the tiny details that balance against one another to set this person into their particular narrative posture helps set every image apart.
Could you tell us your experience using the Petzval 55 MKII lens?
Using the Petzval 55 MKII is a lovely way to set your own pace in a very intentional way when working as a portraitist. The additional control over focus and the inherent character of the classic swirling Petzval immediately put you in a lovely mindset.
Any tips for a portraitist that is using the Petzval 55 MKII lens for the first time?
Take your time, find the way the additional control changes whatever process you’re used to pacing your way through. Allowing that extra intentionality to steer you down a fresh creative path.
In your opinion, what makes a compelling photograph?
Creating a meaningful frame to me is all about the story. Clarifying whatever inherent narrative falls into your frame in a distilled manner that allows any viewer to understand what was occurring when you chose your decisive moment.
Besides portraiture, you are also very keen on street photography. Especially in a city like New York, where there's so much happening all the time, how do you go about finding your images?
Finding images as a street photographer is all about openness, and a lack of hesitation. If you find yourself searching, you often miss things. However, if you allow the world to flow around you, and react accordingly, those moments small and large become immediately apparent.
Any tricks or techniques that you would like to share for street photographers shooting with the Petzval 55 mkII lens for the first time
The new Petzval 55mm can seem like a somewhat limiting lens when shooting street. That being said, if you know your working distance, pre-set your focus, and don’t hesitate when it comes to both capturing a moment, but also approaching a stranger for an out of the blue portrait, you’ll find the Petzval a very potent tool as a part of your street kit.
The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind. This versatile 55mm art lens brings the unique look of Joseph Petzval’s original lens to full frame mirrorless cameras. This art lens is designed to allow full creative flexibility, with its 7 levels of Bokeh Control and Dual Aperture system. Its optics are optimized to retain the signature swirly bokeh without compromising image sharpness where it counts. It is an indispensable addition to your creative arsenal. Pre-order yours now in our online store.