A Natural Approach with Josh Showell and the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Lens

Fashion photographer Josh Showell has a very natural approach to photography and creates clean and uncluttered compositions which sit easily on the eye. We sent him a Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Lens to test out on one of his shoots and he talked about his work and his experiences with this bokeh controlled art lens.

Photo by Josh Showell Model: Chloe Ray

Hello Josh tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! I'm a London-based fashion and beauty photographer, having been working professionally for the last 10 years... which feels weird to say. How time flies. I have also been doing a lot of professional lighting and digital operator work in recent years as it's a good way to gain experience on larger scale productions which can then be implemented to grow my own career.

How did your career in photography start?

I would say my career started while at University studying commercial digital photography. I started doing headshots and working with model agencies, as well as anything that would pay me at that time. After uni I got a job at an e-commerce studio as an assistant; this was a lot of hard graft but it allowed me to learn a huge amount. Mostly time talking to photographers that I wanted to learn from, and working out how I could use that for my own work. This was where I got hooked on lighting and fashion photography. I eventually ended up working as a fashion photographer at that studio full time for 5 years, right up until after the pandemic when I decided it was to finally take the jump into the freelance world. Excited to see where things end up.

Photo by Josh Showell Model: Chloe Ray

You have a very clean and natural-looking style in your photos? Is this something you are conscious of and work towards?

My style I would say is very natural and quite feminine; I tend to favour softer lighting and normally aim to recreate what daylight would be doing. But I live in London. Daylight is scarce so I learned ways to create it and modify it with flash.

I find it is incredibly flattering and normally allows the model to have space to move around, so you can work the light in different angles and have something that doesn't feel too artificial. However, I am working on expanding on this and using more hard light in recent projects. For a change and just to demonstrate I have more tricks up my sleeve.

Photo by Josh Showell Model: Chloe Ray

How did you find shooting with the Petzval 55?

Shooting with the Petzval 55 was a great experience. It's akin to shooting with my old Canon AE-1 film camera; forcing you to slow down and work to get your shots. The main thing that really stood out to me was the build quality of the lens, it's built like a tank! Gets a conversation going as well when you fit it to the camera, everyone wondering what that is. It was definitely a fun lens to use and encourages you to go out and shoot. Especially once you've figured out which settings fit each scenario best.

What tips would you give for someone trying this lens out?

This lens is all about character, something that modern lenses manage to eliminate in exchange for clinical perfection. You have to embrace that the images from this lens, especially wide open, they aren't tack sharp.. but they're full of character that just doesn't come from a traditional 50mm. It doesn't suit every situation, but it can create some truly painterly-looking backgrounds in the right situation. When it comes to focusing with this lens for portraits I found myself dialing it to the closest focusing distance and then moving myself back and forward to find focus, as the focus distances shift depending on the focus control setting.

To see more of Josh's work visit his Instagram page.

2022-04-13 #news #people #fashion #55mm #editorial #petzval-55 #josh-showell

Mentioned Product

New Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII

New Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII

The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind. This versatile 55 mm 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. Available with Sony E, Canon RF and Nikon Z Mounts!

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