Professional Natural Light Photographer Stanislav Puchkovsky, better known as Sean Archer, shares with us about how it all started as well as his love of art and natural light.
Whether you know him by name or by his alias, Natural Light Photographer Sean Archer is breaking boundaries with his heart-felt, simple portraiture. We are privileged enough to share some of his work.
How it all started…
Sean Archer as most people will know him, started out his career as photographer by chance. In 2011, he bought his first camera, a Lumix G3 and in the winter of 2012 was asked by a friend to take a portrait of her, which to their surprise turned out really good. He then realised that he really enjoyed the whole process of photography, from shooting to post-processing and decided to do more projects of his own, taking portraits of his friends.
The Birth of Sean Archer
Later, he decided to open up a 500px account. Being unsure about the quality of his work, bearing in mind he is not a ‘professional’ photographer, Stanislav Puchkovsky created his handle Sean Archer, which he believes is a “lucky alias”. It originates from John Travolta’s FBI Agent character in the 1997 hit-movie, Face Off.
The Art of Photography
He has always appreciated the arts. Drawing in school since he was a little boy and later studying Architecture and Arts. So, photography just seems like a natural progression from what his soul already appreciates.
To cultivate his talents as photographer, he saved thousands of photographs he liked from various great photographers in a special folder on his PC and used them as inspiration for his shoots. So when asked who inspires him, he answers, “No one in particular, I admire the art of photography itself”.
In the Beginning
In the beginning, he new absolutely nothing about photography, shooting in Portrait Mode and making do with what he had; a camera and fiery passion for what he’s doing. For more than a year he photographed just about anyone who wanted. All he knows he has learnt from trail and error, tons of that experience, thousands of shots, learning how light works, using different camera modes and learning new processing methods. He now shoots using his trusty Olympus E-M5 Mark II, using Manual Mode, with the Olympus Prime Lenses: 75mm and 45mm.
Natural Window Light = Unique Style
Living in Yekaterinburg, Russia, which we know is pretty much freezing cold for half the year, it seems like it was the obvious choice to shoot indoors. Because he only had his camera, using window light was the natural choice for Sean Archer and he soon realised that he has created his own unique style of shooting, using only natural window light and a wall as background.
Simple Portrait Photography
Stanislav Puchkovsky has a love for natural light as it is warm and soft, the ideal conditions for simple portrait photography, “and it’s free!” as he likes to point out. A fan of improvisation, he doesn’t do any preparations 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 beautiful 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, which sometimes give surprising results. Sometimes, 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 should not cross the line between beauty and vulgarity. As an artist I think you can find beauty in not just the eyes, hair and lips but in the waistline, hips etc.” It is the study of the form of light that attracts him.
When it comes to post-processing, it usually depends on factors such as the shooting conditions and the model’s looks. He tends to experiment with colour tones, adding light accents and playing around with cross-processing. Then he will continue on to do skin retouching for example removing spots and problem skin zones or highlighting any freckles. He doesn’t believe in “true photography” stating that straight out of camera shots are great for journalistic purposes but when it comes to portraiture, you have to be an artist too. Recommending that one should keep the skin’s texture natural, making it bright and clear but natural.
In the End…
At the end of the day he still considers himself as a beginner and feels privileged for getting paid to do what he likes. He dreams of one day opening up his own studio and we do too!