There’s always a never-ending conversation when it comes to the process of creation. With the number of new cameras, lenses, accessories, and other tools being released every year, by both large and independent makers. Photographers themselves are always active on this discourse of whether or not unique tools are truly necessary for one’s manifestation of creativity and ideas. Typically, it’s probably not; but for those dedicated and passionate with their craft and keen on growing and evolving their artistic pursuits, some tools are empowering and indispensable.
Using Tools to Our Artistic Advantage
Here in our Community, the Lomography Art Lenses are meant to provide that aesthetic boost and style. Do these Art Lenses truly help the photographer be set apart from the rest, both stylistically and experientially?
For the camera, the most important part of it is the lens which dictates the quality of the image taken. Typically, kit lenses should suffice the normal, all-rounder grind of an ordinary photographer whether shooting with film or digital.
However, creative photographers would have a knack for experimenting not only with their process but as well as with the very tools they use. The Lomography Art Lenses were designed to be among those tools that enhance their distinguished styles and optimize their kind of photographic routine.
The Unique Experiences of Lomography Art Lens Owners
Lomographer Mike a.k.a. @neufotomacher is always experimenting with different cameras and constantly shooting during this pandemic. He owns a Neptune Convertible Art Lens System — a special set of three compact prime lenses meant for the versatile photographer on the go. He wanted to switch to a more versatile experience that will let him utilize his other cameras. The Neptune Art Lens system allows him to compartmentalize his vision with compositions as the lenses come with fixed focal lengths of 35 mm, 50 mm, and 80 mm with special aperture plates: “My output, the satisfaction with my output are dependent on my imagination. These lenses allow me to work in certain restricted channels: macro, shallow focus, different pattern aberrations. I like that they are compact and they seem solid without being heavy.”
Wide angles and encompassing frames are signature to Lomographer Zairre Wright a.k.a. @zairre and his photography as he often shoots street culture, landscapes, and action photographs around his area.
Hence Zairre immediately backed the Kickstarter campaign for the Lomography Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens. “A rangefinder coupled 17 mm M mount lens, with a wide field of view for really capturing huge scenes with a lot going on -- who could say no to that?”
He believes that good tools are necessary to do the job right, especially for his type of work:
“This will surely help me fill in a gap of anything wider than a 35 mm focal length. With a wide view, it opens up many doors for ideas using much more space that gets left out of other focal lengths. I used the lens in many scenes from landscapes to in a mosh at a skatepark and everything in between, I loved getting a lot more of the scene in a frame than I’m used to and the quality of the lens speaks for itself it’s nice and sharp and having 2.8 being wide open is great! I look forward to running this as my daily lens.”
The ever-encompassing Atoll Art Lens would be perfect for capturing the stories he’s after as Zairre currently works on a documentary project in San Diego.
Italian photographer Francesco Algeri a.k.a. @fralgeri also shares the sentiment about the need for good creative tools such as an Art Lens. Francesco shoots a lot of documentary and straightforward photography — but his style is marked with a creative twist that’s rarely seen in the genre. Using his Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens, Francesco makes each direct moment more realistic and authentic with the lens’ natural soft focusing, though he also shared that the Lens is capable of sharp photos too especially with more closed apertures.
Francesco shoots plenty of concert photographs, and for him, the Art Lens was a perfect companion on making each of those shots more stylized and remarkable.
“I use it especially for concerts and to literally play with the stage lights, creating flares, further characterizing the performance of an artist. I must admit that the impact was not the easiest one, both for the manual focus and for the management of the apertures… the Daguerreotype Achromat instead gives me the opportunity to leap into the past, not only for the manual focus and the use of plates for the diaphragms but also for the rendering of the image itself which at that point becomes unique. I wanted to find something that would further characterize both my concert photos and my portraits and I achieved it thanks to this lens. The first time I saw it, I thought it was from another era.”
As the world continues to reopen and adjust itself in midst of the pandemic, Francesco has returned since May to document live events and continues to capture colorful concerts with the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens. He’s hoping he can follow a band on tour soon:
“I would like to relate the behind the scenes of a show, the life on the road of a tour, and the live show itself as if they were only one thing put together, using my style and of course our beloved Lomography Art Lens. I hope that this dream can one day come true.”
Art Lenses are for Endless Learning and Experimenting
Lomography’s Art Lenses are easily distinguished by the unique style and aesthetic they bring out, especially for lenses like the Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens. Francesco shares that it produces “imperfect but authentic” photos, and he admits how the lens pushed him to pay more attention to the details. “The final result will never be trivial,” he says, but Art Lenses also have their learning curve, making the artist still, ultimately responsible for the outcomes:
“You also need to be familiarized with how it’s supposed to be used. I recommend using it often, particularly at the beginning, to use it and also understand how this lens reacts in various light conditions. In particular, I suggest thinking differently from the usual without trying to distort it, even in post-production.”
Max's shooting process is more different compared to the usual point-and-shooters. Since working with the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System would mean often changing the lens being attached to the body, extra care: “Always point your camera body down so particles don't get inside the camera. They have screw threads for 52 mm, so attach things that might fit.”
Preorders of the Atoll Art Lenses have recently just reached some backers, its general performance among wide-angle lovers being highly anticipated. Zairre got to test out a prototype of the Atoll Art Lens before, and he suggested: “Get very close -- considering everything, all will seem a lot further than you think. Other than that just get creative step out of your comfort zone and shoot a lot of film through this lens. The rendering is so fire.”
The Lomography Art Lenses may be a whole new world to explore especially for beginners, but consider taking this as an opportunity to test the boundaries of your creative comfort zone with these tools! These would always help you grow and improve. And for the ones who are always looking for unusual, unique and extraordinary, a Lomography Art Lens might just be a perfect fit for your one-of-a-kind shooting style and creative vision.
written by cielsan on 2021-10-14