The process of creating something by hand is always fascinating to watch, and is also a theme that often attracts photographers. The subtle manoeuvres and minute details that, for the artisan, are part of the daily routine arouse our curiosity as we try to capture them as images.
This past summer we reviewed the Artisan Charity book by Tim Allen. His inspirational work recently gave me the idea to contact Mihaela Slav, creator of the d-ECOnstruction Lab brand in Turin. I met Mihaela though a common project we worked on last year and ever since we’ve discussed the possibility of a collaboration.
Michaela’s work is based around recycled fabric and leftover leather from industrial fashion companies. She transforms these offcuts into one-of-a-kind accessories such as purses, scarves and other fashion objects. Most of her products are unique because the raw material isn’t the same every time.
I spent an entire day at the Mai-Gad space observing and photographing Mihaela’s actions and gestures. I used both the Zeiss Loxia 35mm and 50mm with the Sony A7s.
The two lenses are a pure pleasure to use thanks to the very precise mechanical focus ring. I took most of the shots without using the peaking function, as I often find it confusing. The A7s viewfinder has enough resolution to check the accuracy of your focus even at f/2. In fact without additional graphics on the screen you can concentrate better on what you are shooting. It worked really well and the rate of out-of-focus images was low. However I did occasionally use focus magnification for shots where I wanted to double check my focus point.
For half the time I also used the electronic shutter to be completely silent. It worked really well from a discretion point of view. I was almost invisible despite the tight location. However I stopped using it after a couple of hours because more than once the camera froze (the screen went black) when I took a few shots in a row. I had to turn the cameras off and on again to continue shooting, something that has never happened to me before. It seems to happen only when you press the shutter button receptively to take two or three shots continuously (I was in single drive mode). Back home I did further tests and that time the camera worked fine. I will definitely dig into this issue more. As for the rest of the shoot, I used the electronic front curtain to minimise shutter noise.
I decided to post-process them in monochrome using the Rebecca Lily Pro Set III for Lightroom because I shot the series in ambient light and the artificial sources in the Lab weakened the colours and contrast. In black and white they look much more interesting. I really like the quality of the two lenses so far. They give a softer rendering than the FE autofocus lenses but I personally don’t dislike it at all. Both lenses are still very sharp even at f/2 so the performance is there. Their size and weight also suit the system very well.
I will publish my full review of the two Loxia lenses in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy the gallery. In the photos you will see Mihaela finishing a “Wild Rose” leather cuff and then a scarf made of pure leather and Italian wool. You can also check out her work here!
Do you like the rendering of the two Zeiss Loxia lenses? Share your thoughts below!