This Fashion Photographer Uses Only One Beat-Up Hand-Me-Down Lens

Illustration for article titled This Fashion Photographer Uses Only One Beat-Up Hand-Me-Down Lens

It's easy to stress out about lenses. Which ones to buy, which ones to use when—ad nauseum. Fashion photographer Erik Madigan Heck avoids the problem completely by shooting exclusively with one single lens, and you'll probably never guess which one it is.

Heck is no amateur. You might find his work on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, or a number of other popular magazines. You might expect such a pro to have a huge selection of top-of-the-line glass. But, as the The Wall Street Journal reports, Heck's dear mother loaned him her camera and Canon lens at age 14, and he has never let the glass go. Heck now uses the 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for every project he shoots. Go ahead, check out his website full of stellar work.

Illustration for article titled This Fashion Photographer Uses Only One Beat-Up Hand-Me-Down Lens
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Every single image was shot with that one lens—a beat up zoom that was made over 20 years ago. To the left is an example of the model from allphotolenses.com (not Heck's actual lens).

Heck believes the lens, which isn't in the best of shape, possesses a character that benefits his work.

Illustration for article titled This Fashion Photographer Uses Only One Beat-Up Hand-Me-Down Lens
Illustration for article titled This Fashion Photographer Uses Only One Beat-Up Hand-Me-Down Lens
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It just goes to show that to create great photography, you don't need a giant collection of expensive glass. All you need is creativity, taste, and the skills to make the best out of what you have. [WSJ]

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DISCUSSION

He's going for a look, or accepting a look. This work looks great to me, and the argument against buying into expensive lenses makes sense, but… Individual lenses have properties which are highly desirable on any given occasion. A wide angle is much different from this 35mm to 105mm. A telephoto is also going to give you a different quality then this lens, a highly desirable quality, if you should want it. Getting away from zooms and getting a proper set of primes is a good exercise for every photographer.

Cost can be an issue but there are alternatives to every expensive lens.When I saw the first shot I immediately thought, NYTs magazine section, the quality of that magazines printing might be great but the paper is shit the ink bleeds throughout the image. Sharpness and subtle color is not what the NYTs magazine section offers. The Times has a look all its own, its appealing and distinctive but it has a limited range, a photographer should want to have a set of tools that can match their wider imagination.

Bravo to this guy, he is the exception as a pro photographer, and, there is a hell of a lot of photoshop at work here, done to good effect.

Wide angle 28mm

Normal 50mm

Macro 55 or 105mm

Slight telephoto 105mm

Telephoto 200mm/300mm/400mm

If you shoot sports, massive telephoto 800mm

Otherwise rent a great lens to suit your needs.