I have been looking for this historical artwork for some years – a useable Dallmeyer 3B Portrait Petzval 290mm f/3 lens made during the 70s — the1870s. Finally, I got it (with some help). The lens is at the heart of my project, “Inspired”, which will be published in a book — you can register here to get the latest news about it inspired.mhaustria.com.

I had to modify my camera to make this big 290mm f3 lens fit — more even than the Gasc and Charconnet 500mm Petzval lens I wrote about here last year. In t/he video below I also show how the lens cap was made by hand and who this lens was built by — I got actual photographs from 1885 for the video. It also includes details about my first two collodion wet plate portraits for this ‘Inspired’ series. 

Speaking about that, I had the wonderful chance to capture a former producer/director/author that worked in his earlier days as a special effects technician for well-known movies and a Tattoo Artist who creates photorealistic artworks on skin.

The Dallmeyer 3B Petzval lens is my dream lens. It finally found the way to me thanks to Denis of wetplatedreams.com, who found it for me. The condition is amazing, as is also the date it was made: 1876 — the centennial of the United States and the year Colorado was admitted as its 38th state. Denis is such a passionate person with a lot of knowledge when it comes to historic lenses and cameras.

Next, then there is Andreas. his passion is the building process of lens caps. It’s like he is meditating during the process of making one of his beauties. Unthinkable these days that somebody works 5+ hour on a single lens cap, but he does. You can see in the video how beautiful one of his outcomes are.

There were lots of other people involved, who made my inspired portrait project possible” Mr. Dallmeyer or Mr. Petzval. There’s more about these gentlemen in my video. But about the people that were in front of my camera: one of them is Michael White, the former producer/director/author I mentioned above.

His historical documentary, Azorian: The Raising of the K-129 (2010) received international praise and has been shown by Networks in the US, Europe, Australasia, Asia. Hos book, Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129 received positive critics in the US and worldwide. Michael worked as special effects technician in his earlier career on many well-known movies, like Superman the Movie, Flash Gordon, The Pink Panther, The Never Ending Story Enemy, Mine, to name a few. There’s much more about Michael on his website.

Another person that inspires me with his work is the tattoo artist Manuel Soultan. His tattoos look like vivid three-dimensional photographs. He designs every artwork by himself to create a one-of-a-kind tattoo. You can check out his work on his website or on his Instagram.

Finally, for now, is my friend Jennifer. I have known her for a long time. She had to take care of her two brothers from a pretty young age, and after all these years (12 now) she is still such a happy and positive person. That’s inspiring for me. I was a bit sneaky during the portrait shoot (you can see it in the video). I made her smile and did not prepare here before the exposure, I just rushed off the lens cap and captured the moment.

This is just the beginning of the project and you can already find already many more amazing people on a small website I created just for it: inspired.mhaustria.com.

I look forward to seeing you there!

~ Markus

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About the author

Markus Hofstaetter

Photographer and artist from Austria. His work is primarily focused on portraits and collodion wet plates. Which he has also received several awards for. He loves taking time for his photography to create special images together with the customer. After years...

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  1. it is difficult to make a right comment, I am not sure, I will say enough to thank your great work.
    This is impressive, very impressive.
    This magic, beautiful, pure, artistic, historic and very useful.