Lenses | Contemporary
I use trial and error to develop my style.
I was first introduced to photography at the age of 12 when I used my sister’s old Canon 35mm SLR. At the time illustration was the only means of expression I was familiar with, so photography opened up a whole new spectrum of possibilities. But it was years later, when I arrived in Los Angeles in 2015, that I started pursuing photography more seriously. At the time I used a Canon 7D, and still shot film with a Canon AE-1. I upgraded to a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, followed by a Mark IV. My lenses consisted mainly of SIGMA Art series optics, and a few vintage TAKUMAR. I was introduced to medium format photography in 2017 after I purchased a Mamiya RZ67. I fell in love with it, which ultimately made me fully switch to digital. I now shoot with a Hasselblad X1D II, the Mamiya RZ67 and occasionally a Contax T2 for 35mm.
I was already familiar with SIGMA glass, especially the Art series lenses, and I knew the quality I could expect from the brand. The SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary instantly became a favorite. I love to shoot with this focal length, particularly for portraits. The lens is small but well-built, and after taking a few test photos, I instantly liked the bokeh, which felt a little creamier and softer than I’d expected from a modern mirrorless lens. I tend to be drawn to that quality.
The fp camera was a great surprise. It’s very small, light, extremely intuitive and easy to get used to. And the results are impressive. One of the most positive aspects, in my opinion, is the look. It’s so minimal, strong, and sleek. To some it might not be much of a feature, but it matters a lot to me, as I am always attracted to beautiful objects. There are so many accessories you can get and I was fortunate to try some. My favorites are the magnetic metal lens cap and holder, which is very useful when shooting photos on the streets, and the hand grip for the fp camera. While I haven’t had months to play with the camera and lens, I’ve had enough time to get to know them properly, and would certainly recommend them to someone interested in shooting with professional mirrorless gear.
How did come to be working in this field?
My introduction to the creative-professional world was through graphic design, and specifically branding/identity. That led me to the opportunity to work as a junior art director, given my background in creative software and techniques. I learned design and photography skills on my own while getting a degree in marketing and communications in college. Being self-taught meant I made a lot of mistakes, but these experiences allowed me to pick up new skills. By the time I moved to Los Angeles, I wanted to switch paths and started working in production, mainly as a producer for short-form videos, such as music videos, short films, commercials and documentaries. But the design world caught back up with me as I was hired to be the art director for a skateboard company. This taught me the skills I required to become a creative director. At the same time, I fell back into photography and started pursuing it seriously, first as a hobby, and then evolving into a side career. I met a friend and partner, and together we picked up the world of production again, which allowed me to direct a few videos.
I would say that about half of my professional life is spent taking photographs. But it plays a larger role in my personal life. Though limiting in some ways, photography has the power to evoke a lot with, in reality, very little. A single image can be enough to get someone’s attention, and that challenge always interests me. While I’ve always considered myself an amateur photographer, I’ve understood that, as a medium, it can help push professional goals. As a creative director, I have found photography to not only be incredibly helpful in telling a brand’s story, but also thrilling in playing with pragmatic restrictions. While shooting for myself can be freeing and exciting, I find that using photography as a tool, with the guidelines of storytelling for a brand or individual, can be at times more rewarding. Translating values and objects into graphic assets is a process I enjoy breaking down in creative direction, design and branding. Similarly, translating ideas, feelings, and branding values into photography is just as interesting. All creative tools tend to cross paths and photography has that tendency with the graphic and video worlds, which fascinates me.
I didn’t overthink it. It took me a few years to find my style, and I am probably still refining it. I discovered through trial and error that I wasn't much of a storyteller in most media. In photography, I do not have the skills others have in telling a story or capturing something thrilling, nor do I have an extensive technical knowledge of the medium. And so I naturally gravitated toward a style that fit me. I capture moments without intent of closure and by focusing on subtle effects of light and texture, rather than extensively dissecting a subject or story. In other words, the less I think about my process, equipment or sense of direction, the more likely I am to capture something true and closer to my natural style. I tend to be drawn to Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics and I enjoy seeing soft, gentle and, at times, cryptic visuals. I translate thatinspiration into my style. I approach my photographic work similarly to design and branding, often asking myself the question, “How can I tell more with less?” This likely leads to the generally minimal aesthetic I tend to gravitate toward.
I would describe the SIGMA I series as elegant, professional and versatile. Elegant is a key aspect for me. I like things to look pretty and sleek, especially when I handle it on a daily basis. Professional should go without saying, but isn’t always an obvious one. I find it professional because I can quickly understand it, and even more quickly find ways to use it in my favor. It looks strong, well-built and well thought-out and this helps me deliver professional results. Finally versatile, because the lenses, especially the 45mm, allow me to switch my attention quite a lot between the main subject, and sometimes surrounding objects. I love to be able to shoot as I see something, at times simply because the light might be turning an ordinary object into a desired subject, and the wide f-stop range mixed with the versatile focal length allows me to move around while retaining a tasteful framing.
See more photos
- Camera: SIGMA fp
- Lens: SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
45mm F2.8 DG DN
An enjoyable prime lens your camera
can hardly part with ―Admirably balanced
performance and size