Today’s interview features a skilled photographer and digital artist, Frederico van Zeller. He shot a lot in film where he slides mostly and miss them a lot to the extent that he gets the anxiety of waiting to see if he had the right exposure just to capture the right moment and the right pose of the model. Now, let us ride on and be inspired with his works!
When did you start working in digital photography?
It´s hard to say, before digital I worked with film, from medium format to large format like 8”/10”. Shot everything on slide, and it was simply beautiful. But I had a problem when scanning it. The lost of detail and depth was something that really annoyed me. It was always a battle between the scanner and trying to save the quality printed on a huge slide. So working digitally I´d say from my beginning 1993/95. I always shot thinking that I would eventually have to transfer all that data to a digital format! But the around 2002/2003, the first serious digital medium format backs arrived, and since then they have been my only way to shoot.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Nothing! really, nothing!, because it´s a learning process, a self training of the eye and visualisation capabilities. Experience, and trial and error are part of the process, the more you fail, the more you learn. Its the process of failing and doing everything again that makes you mer experienced. It´s all about experience and work, and the some talent!
What type of camera do you use most? Why?
Mostly I use medium format cameras, I have a Mamya 6×7 and a Leaf AFi, both with a digital back. Form my type of work, it makes sense, I prepare a lot for my sessions and shoots, and both these cameras have excellent quality! Recently I got a Sony A7, just to go along, and I´m very happy! I´ts my vacation and family camera!
Could you share a favorite recent image and tell us a little of the back story behind it?
I´d have to choose this image! These guys are an advertising agency!!! and the invited me to shoot them for their identity! I had no ideia that this would be the outcome. The just called me out of the blue and we spent an amazing day shooting them on several locations,. This specific image was that last of the long day. I guess if we had models to do this, the end result would not be better. The acted so well on their characters, that I was convinced this could be a scene from goodfellas!
Can you give us a visual of your work area? What are your tools of the trade?
The tools, are the basic, no special tricks, Photoshop, Cinema4d, Vray. For hardware, a MAC PRO and Eizo monitors! Of course a big wacom. Speakers for music and Sennheiser headphones for deep focus! This for post production and editing or CGI!
When shooting, usually profoto for lighting.
This is my office, to the left, the studio, and this is my work space!
What inspires you and what gets you in the mood for creating?
Good ideas! And good art direction! Also research. It´s a bit like detective work, lead after lead, until you get the big picture! Also music, a lots of music. Some debate about references, and then a small period of “autism” to compute all the information. And some music again!
How would you describe your creative process while producing art?
Same as above. I guess it´s more or less the same, getting in the mood and actually doing it! Although, during a shoot for instance, the process is a bit more frenetic because there is always more people involved on the advertising industry, and that creates some pressure, but I always try to relax and keep things fun. if you take all the fun out of the process, for me its not worth the effort!
Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?
Do your home work! Never present to a client if you are not prepared! Never go to a shoot if you are not comfortable or fully confident with something. Take chances of course, but only if you know that in the end your vision is going to result and prevail. Also make sure that every one involved knows and sees your vision! Some times the client see one thing, the producer another, the art director another, make sure every one is tuned to the same frequency. Pick your jobs proportional to your ambition!
More about Frederico van Zeller
Frederico van Zeller is a father of two beautiful children, and happily married to a wonderful woman. He feels very lucky to be able to make a living out of what he really likes to do. You can find more of artworks on his Behance profile or website.