Zayira Ray is a New York City-based student of photography with a special love for out of the ordinary portraiture. Her photographs not only try to capture the beauty of a person but tell their story. For that reason, Zayira likes to play and experiment with the medium in every way possible. When we told her about our new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII she couldn't wait to try it. When she finally did, she instantly loved the lenses quirky characteristics and felt inspired to make use of them.
Please tell us a bit about your photography background, how you started and your influences:
I started photography around 5 years ago when I was a freshman in high school! I started by shooting architecture and street photography just with my iPhone, and soon fell in love with portraiture. I then saved up for a DSLR and began curating and shooting portraiture of my friends and eventually, people online. Now, I have found my niche within portraiture and fashion photography, and my work tends to focus on reimagining beauty, identity, and femininity, with mixed influences from classic fashion photography and contemporary fine-art portraiture.
How does the Petzval 55 MKII lens help you in your photographic style?
Much of my [photography] has a dreamy, ethereal aesthetic that helps me consistently achieve a "utopian" feel to the images I make and their imagined narratives. I found the Petzval 55 MKII to perfectly complement this stylistic choice of mine: the vast flexibility and means of experimentation it offers for bokeh and various planes of focus allowed me to accentuate this dreamy style, to an extent that I haven't been able to achieve before (or at least, without a lot of post-production). The lens is incredible in allowing me to decontextualize my subjects and instead, almost paint my own images.
We often hear people say that fashion isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Photography-wise, how is this true and where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love fashion photography because of how it can truly become its own art form, beyond even the clothing photographed. I think there's a huge misconception that fashion photography is inextricably tied to commercialism, with only the sole purpose of photographing and selling the clothing pictured, but I find fashion photography (especially in editorials) to have the potential to be incredibly inventive and complex. It allows photographers to create entirely new worlds, characters, and narratives through the endless possibilities that fashion offers. Fashion photo also allows for a unique means of multidisciplinary collaboration- between stylists, makeup artists, and photographers, for example. That kind of collaboration has the potential to be epic.
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.