Professional photographer Stanislav Puchkovsky, better known as Sean Archer, shares the story of how his career, and love for natural light, started. He’s pushing boundaries regarding the possibilities of natural light and we feel privileged to share some of his work.
How it all started…
His career as photographer started by chance. He bought his first camera (a Lumix G3) in 2011 and was asked by a friend to take a portrait of her, which turned out really good much to their surprise. He realised that he really enjoyed the process of photography and decided to do more projects of his own.
The Birth of Sean Archer
He later decided to open up a 500px account and being unsure of the quality of his work (and bearing in mind that he’s not a professional photographer) he created an alias “Sean Archer”. It originates from John Travolta’s FBI Agent character in the 1997 hit-movie, Face Off.
The Art of Photography
From a young age he has always appreciated the arts. He started out drawing as a little boy and later went on to study Arts and Architecture. Photography is really just a natural progression from what he already loves.
To cultivate his talents as photographer he saved other photographers’ photos and used them as inspiration for shoots. When asked what who inspired him he answered, “No one in particular, I admire the art of photography in itself”.
In the Beginning
Making do with what he had and fiery passion for what he’s doing he photographed just about anyone who was willing to work with him. Everything he knows he learned through trail and error, hours of experience, thousands of shots, how light works, using different camera modes and new post-processing methods. Now, he shoots with his trusty Olympus E-M5 Mark II camera combined with the Olympus 45mm and 75mm prime lenses.
Natural Window Light = Unique Style
Living in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (which we can imagine that it’s pretty much freezing) it’s the obvious choice to shoot indoors. Window light was the only choice for him and he soon realised that it created a unique look. Using only natural window light and a wall as background became his “look”.
Simple Portrait Photography
Stanislav Puchkovsky has a love for natural light because it’s warm and soft; the ideal conditions for simple portrait photography, “and it’s free!” as he likes to point out. A fan of improve, he doesn’t do any preparation before shooting, usually not even using a professional make-up artist. He likes to keep things simple with a “let’s start and see what we end up with” attitude.
All he needs is a model, her clothes “no themed make-up”, just natural beauty and natural light. With the addition of a fan, used at different angles and speeds to create different looks, he sometimes gets surprising results. On the rare occasion he will use a reflector, which doesn’t happen all that often.
Before shooting he will ask the model to show him photographs that she likes and what poses she is comfortable with. He advises that when you see a good shot during the session, to show it to your model, as it will boost her confidence in knowing that she can and does look great!
Study of the Form of Light
“I believe that a photographer shouldn’t cross the line between beauty and vulgarity. As an artist I think you can find beauty is not only the waistline, hips etc; but in the eyes, hair and lips.” It’s the study of the movement of light that really attracts him.
Post-processing usually depends on a variety of different factors such as the shooting conditions, light and the model’s look. He enjoys experimenting with colour tones; adding light accents and playing around with cross-processing. Thereafter he’ll continue to do skin retouching like removing spots and problem skin zones or highlighting freckles. He believes a photographer should keep the skin’s texture natural, making it bright and clear but natural. “Straight out of camera shots are great for journalistic purposes but when it comes to portraiture, you have to be an artist too.”
In the End…
At the end of the day he still considers himself as a beginner and feels privileged to get paid for do what he likes doing. He dreams of opening up his own studio in the future and we do too!