Padua-based photographer Leonardo Menegazzo recently tested the Petzval 80.5 Art Lens for a series of both black-and-white and color-rich portraits. The crispness and tonality of the photographs came out fantastically with the deliberate light and shadow contrasts. Read more about his series and experience with the Petzval lens in our interview with Leonardo.
Hi Leonardo, welcome! Could you please make a short presentation to the readers of our Online Magazine?
Hi everybody, my name is Leonardo Menegazzo and I'm an advertising photographer and digital photography teacher. I am 23 years old (class '98) and I live in Padua but I work all over Italy. I do mainly portrait and fashion photography on commission and as an "outlet", but I also do a lot of products, events, and commercial/corporate photography. My friends and clients call me "the wizard of light", maybe because I love to play with cuts of light and counter-light in many of my photographs...
Tell us about your background: when did you start your journey into photography?
I started shooting during my second year of high school. I went to a school that wasn't really for me and photography helped me understand that. I practice Bmx racing and enduro, my father once bought a reflex camera to take some shots of me during my competitions but alas he never used it! Rather than studying, I decided to take his camera and better understand how it worked and I fell in love with photography. Back then it was fashionable to have a friend with an SLR and so I started to photograph (in automatic mode) my friends, cats (those are always there at the beginning), and relatives.
This wonderful series was shot with the Petzval 80.5 Art Lens. Which features did you like the most?
Definitely the brightness of the lens: I really appreciated that. I take a lot of pictures using my phone's torch as a source of illumination and consequently I find myself having to push my camera to its limits, using only a 24-70 2.8. So having such a bright lens helped me quite a lot. Another thing that struck me is the build quality, which is not to be underestimated nowadays. Many lenses are now made of plastic to make room for greater lightness... they do not make them anymore as they used to! The particular blur of this lens I must say was both high and low. In some situations it's amazing and in others, it risks ruining the image a bit. It's a lens that needs to be used in particular circumstances if you want to get the best out of it in terms of blur.
With which camera did you take these pictures?
I used a Sony A7III.
Do you have a favorite camera?
Probably the Canon 6D...if only it had the same sensor as the A7III. I really miss the SLR world.
What kind of camera equipment you always bring with you when you travel?
Definitely my 24-70! I always carry an outdoor flash (with its battery), a mirror, a phone torch, and a lot of creativity.
What do you like to photograph in your free time?
Actually, it's always free time for me, even when I do commission work, I enjoy it, I don't consider it work. Find a job that makes you feel good and that you love and you won't have to work a day in your life.
What is the most important element when composing an image?
The light first of all! Without interesting lighting, a photo is dead.
Is there any photographer you particularly admire?
I've always been really inspired by Alessio Albi, but there are so many from whom I would take a piece of creativity and technique.
Do you have any interesting projects or collaborations in the pipeline?
At the moment I've become a Quadralite partner, a photographic brand that offers various types of studio equipment! Highly recommended. For the rest, I'm carrying on with my Petrichor and Deep projects... Petrichor is inspired by the Vikings and the concept of petrichor, the bodies without an identity are wrapped in petrichor (this is set mainly in the woods and mountains of the Euganean Hills). Deep, on the other hand, is a series set in a shower/bathtub and bathroom, portraying wet bodies immersed in deep and melancholic situations.
Follow Leonardo on his Instagram to see all his amazing photos!