German-Italian photographer Angela Simi studies at the EVA, a photography school in Hamburg. In July 2016 she traveled to Italy, her father’s native country, for a photography project. In her luggage: three Milvus lenses from ZEISS.
Angela Simi discovered photography rather late in life. “I had worked a few years in a PR agency and was able to get involved in various productions and shoots,” she explains. “I was fascinated by them and bought my first camera just five years ago.”
It sounds simple, but a picture should simply touch the viewer.
But she found her true love for photography during her travels. “I just love to explore places with my camera and to have a way, through photography, to be creative and implement ideas.” This enables her to create images in a very spontaneous way, but they are always the result of a photographic idea that has been thought out and planned in advance. Her main goal is always to capture a mood or feeling. “It sounds simple, but a picture should simply touch the viewer.” In the future she wants photography to not only be her passion, but her livelihood. Which is why she decided at the beginning of 2016, at 30 years old, to start a new career and learn photography from the ground up.
A formal business training or further university studies were out of the question. So she registered herself at EVA, a photography school in Hamburg that combines elements from a university study with learning a skilled trade, thus providing an attractive alternative to a traditional trade apprenticeship. The semesters are structured around focus topics – for example portraits, still-lifes or architecture – with different modules that have theoretical and practical project phases. The school also offers content that prepares the students for a career in photography, for example ‘Business for photographers.’ After five semesters the students can take their state apprenticeship certification exam.
For Angela Simi, all of this has clear advantages. “The number of students on the courses is small. That makes the learning very personal, enables a vibrant exchange of ideas with others, and creates room for creative work.” She also likes the school’s own studio and equipment. “ZEISS has provided various lenses, so we already had the opportunity to work with lenses from the Milvus and Otus family. It’s a great chance to try things out and have professional equipment at your disposal from the beginning.”
Her landscape project took her to Rome, Siena, Pietrasanta, Carrara and Cinque Terre. “Landscape photography requires you to reflect on things and to be patient,” says Angela as she explains her approach. “You need time to settle into a place and make that place be felt in the image.”
Today we are so overwhelmed with spectacular images and places on Instagram and other online photo platforms that you can almost lose your appreciation of the beauty of a ‘normal’ landscape.
An example is her picture of the town of Maranola in Cinque Terre: An hour before sunset she had already positioned herself and was waiting for the right light atmosphere. In her opinion, one of the big challenges of modern landscape photography is being able to recognize the uniqueness of landscapes that, at first glance, don’t seem that exciting. “Today we are so overwhelmed with spectacular images and places on Instagram and other online photo platforms that you can almost lose your appreciation of the beauty of a ‘normal’ landscape.”
Simi likes working with ZEISS lenses very much. “The manual focus places other demands on how you take a picture, and it’s a great tool for working in a more concentrated and purposeful way. The excellent haptics of the Milvus lenses certainly play a role too: setting the focus becomes a very palpable element.”
When it comes to the Milvus 2.8/21, she likes the diverse possibilities this lens gives her to compose a picture and – especially for sunrises and sunsets – the color results she gets when faced with contrast-rich lighting conditions. Simi uses the Milvus 2/100M for macro pictures and portraits, but her favorite lens is the Milvus 1.4/50: “It’s fast and versatile. I simply feel very much at ease using this lens.” To begin with, it allows her to be spontaneous. It also lets her take landscape pictures with this focal length, as well as pictures of cities and portraits. “I like the freedom this lens gives me.”
Angela Simi will be at this year’s photokina in Cologne, where she will be available to answer questions about her studies at the EVA and her photographic work.
Angela Simi was born in 1986 in North-Rhine Westphalia, but has lived in Hamburg for the last six years. After working for a few years for a PR firm and an advertising film production company, she decided to switch careers and learn photography from the ground up. Since April 2016 she has been a full-time student at the EVA, a school for photography in Hamburg, through a scholarship from ZEISS.