UV lamps have opened up a new dimension for Daniel Olah
“A whole new world has opened up for me,” describes Hungarian fashion photographer Daniel Olah of the fascinating details presented to him when he shoots with UV light. Using a regular UV lamp, he photographed a handful of flowers in a unique way. You’ve probably seen his work before – he won Apple’s iPhone macro challenge photo competition earlier this year.
We are so conditioned to see photographs of flowers and plants rooted in nature or potted in homes that we often forget that their beauty can be brought out in different ways. The Ferro Flowers team took photos of flowers covered in liquid metal and made a stunning series. Pat took a different approach and used a flatbed scanner for her flower photos. And Daniel Olah decided he was going to experiment with UV light to try something new. A good reminder that changing your approach to a subject can help produce a body of work that sets you apart from others.
The essential photo equipment used by Daniel Olah
Daniel told us:
The Phoblographer: Hello Daniel. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography.
Daniel Olah: I’ve been interested in photography since I was 14, but it only started as a hobby. After school, I started taking it more seriously in college. I graduated in 2019 in Budapest, specializing in fashion photography.
The Phoblographer: You mentioned that this series is a follow-up to Lily Photo. Tell us about this series and how it inspired “The Beauty Of Darkness”.
Daniel Olah: With the photo of lilies, I won the macro photography contest announced by Apple.
The goal was to take photos with the iPhone’s new macro lens. I won the contest with a photo of Lily, which I also took with a single lamp.
The Beauty of Darkness series is the sequel. The difference here is that I turned it on in complete darkness with a UV flashlight. I took pictures with long shutter speeds and again lit larger areas, highlighting the main part of the flowers.
The Phoblographer: What is different about this series in terms of what you used to photograph these flowers?
Daniel Olah: The UV lamp. UV light produces very special effects in the dark that we cannot even see with the naked eye.
I like to work with just one light because it creates a dramatic, painting-like effect with a black background. I prefer to work with constant light
The Phoblographer: These flowers are lit in a way that suits portraits of people. Was that part of the idea of the series – to give them a particular light? Like each flower is a unique person?
Daniel Olah: Yes. It all looks like phosphorescent beauty work. Later I also noticed the similarity. I tried to photograph all kinds of flowers, but it was not easy because the phosphorescent effect does not work well on the texture of each flower.
I adjusted the light area of my UV lamp. You can focus on a small area and you can focus on a larger but less bright area. That’s why I put the camera on a tripod and took pictures with a long shutter speed. I lit the flowers with the strongest light and lit some parts longer.
The Phoblographer: What are some of the details you’ve highlighted in these photos that we can’t see with regular cameras or the naked eye?
Daniel Olah: UV light is an incredibly good thing in the dark; try it! The point of the whole series is to show you something that we don’t see. The petals upon petals that we see as glowing dots are lint, dust, and all the little things that we can’t see with the naked eye. It will be interesting to see how much UV light changes the original color of the flowers. I blew the flower petals with a special water spray bottle.
Le Phoblographe: Did you already know in advance what would appear when photographed in this way, or was it a surprise for you too?
Daniel Olah: I didn’t know in advance what to expect. After the first flower photo, I understood more and the series itself was sketched. After the first flower, I selected other flowers from the garden to photograph.
Le Phoblographe: Do we get different results depending on whether the flowers are picked from the main plant or not?
Daniel Olah: I only used potted plants! The texture and color of the flowers are different. UV light is even more different. One changes best under the influence of light, and some do not change so much but still stand out in the dark.
It was the first time I photographed with a UV lamp, but I’m sure this technique will continue. I don’t know what other items I can try, but I can find out tomorrow. But a new world opened up to me, which impressed me.
The Phoblographer: Most people are afraid of the dark, but you found something interesting there. How can others be inspired to see things like this that most people fail to observe?
Daniel Olah: I can see the beauty in every person and in everything. You have to stay positive and hopeful. Maybe my series was made unconsciously; I do not know. But I wanted to give people beautiful images in these difficult times. Maybe this has become one of my favorite photo series for me because it’s so good to look at photos.
You don’t have to be afraid of the dark because everyone shines. Even in these times, all you need is a little light.