A soon-to-be graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Lance Langel has been taking pictures since he was 12 years old. It was in High School that he decided to venture into the visual world, first with cinematography eventually switching to photography. And rightly so. Through his portraits with the Petzval 80.5 MKII he gets us up, close, and personal with his models, without ever intruding too much. We talked to him about his aspiration and inspiration, as well as his future plans for his already impressive photography career!
Hi Lance! It's great to have you here. First off, can you tell us how did you get started with photography?
Originally, I wanted to go into filmmaking and cinematography before I wanted to go into photography. I’ve always loved films and I thought the process of creating time-based media was really interesting. It was because of this that I bought my first DSLR, a little rebel T3i, in middle school but quickly learned how expensive film equipment was and slowly began taking photographs instead. After moving to Arkansas for high school, I met my best friend Rhia who was the only other photographer I met at school and the rest is history! We would take photos and do shoots with our friends throughout high school and looking back she had a large influence on the artist I am today! Granted, our work wasn’t inherently bad, but it definitely wasn’t good haha! I look back at that time and reflect on how influential it was. It’s the unfiltered experimentation at the beginning of a photographer’s career that allows us to fall in love with the medium.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I love people! I love connecting with people and capturing the humanity of the individual in my frame. I find a lot of my inspiration comes from my own experiences and the experiences of others; thus, most of my artistic vision comes from the human experience and the struggles of day to day life. Though I shoot a lot of fashion work, I still try my best to isolate my figures from the environment to convey this idea. I’m slowly trying to develop more fine-art work, but it’s definitely something I am not trying to rush!
You seem to like getting close to your subjects. Why is that?
I find the concept of personal identity to be an extremely captivating idea. When shooting portraiture, I feel that it is my job to capture the identity and ego of the individual in my frame. It is because of this that sometimes I find myself getting close to my subjects in order to convey this concept. With the Petzval 80.5, I was able to capture amazing detail, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of its capabilities in my portraits.
How do you make your subjects comfortable?
Being able to communicate is so important. By simply being open and inviting towards my subjects it is easy to build trust with the individual on the other side
of my lens. I hear horror stories from my friends who model for photographers and they have an awful time because the photographer was unkind or not communicative - I never want to be like that! I also find it important to respect your subject and give them creative freedom during a shoot which ultimately creates more of a relationship with my model.
Can you walk us through one of your portraits sessions?
My process is pretty simple. I usually have a concept or style in mind, then I find a model who I think would work, and then location scout. When scouting locations I’m predominately looking at the light and how my subject would interact with the environment. There’s nothing too fancy involved!
What did you like about the lens?
The detail that the lens captured was insane! I loved the fall off from the shallow depth of field as well. Without the Petzval 80.5, I wouldn’t have that kind of quality control in my normal workflow.
How did it fit your photographic style?
The lens is definitely not my norm, but I really enjoyed working with it. I usually work with a 35mm so using an 80.5mm was a learning experience, but I’m super happy with the outcome. The lens allowed for me to get extremely close with my subjects and to capture the finer details I’m not usually able to photograph. The lens forced me to be more intentional while shooting and also opened up the door for lots of creative experimentation.