Love of my life, on wheels that’s to say. My Citroën DSUPER. I took this picture in 1995 with the French licence plates still on it. The car had the exact same birthday as me, truly an amazing ‘coincidence’ as I had been dreaming about owning one my whole life….I had to sell it several years later, when we were looking to buy our first house and our daughter was just a little girl. Owning a car like this was no longer a sensible option. Actually, it has never been a sensible choice in the first place, but boy I am thankful for that my 24 year old-self decided to buy the DS! Luckily, it is still alive and kicking so it is been taking well care of.
I alway shoot in the RAW format. I makes shooting kind of sketching; just the outlines of the composition and the subject are important. With the latitude you’ve got with shooting RAW, adjusting the picture to your liking is something you do in post. However, when I recently got invited to a photo contest, I was forced to shoot in Jpeg because you had to deliver the photo’s at the end of the day to the jury. It forced me to take some test shots with the M9 around my apartment the day before. I actually like the result and have set my M8 (which is known for its excellent B/W pictures, hence its name “poor man’s Monochrom) and will take it out for a test-drive soon.
Citroën 2CV’s have the ability to just go on and on while being eroded to a point you seriously wonder when they will just fall apart. I’ve owned a blue, red and white one (funny: the colours of both the Dutch and French flag) and enjoyed driving these cars so much that I still yearn for owning one….again. This particular one I spotted in Den Haag, while walking down the wet and shiny streets (see this post).
I recently walked though the National Park De Hoge Veluwe and noticed some remains of which I thought were some bunkers. I got pulled towards it and sat for quite some time in complete stillness. The sun burned on my face and all sorts of sounds emerged from the woods. Later on, when I walked back to my car, I saw a plate on which the story of the remains is told. Helene Kröller-Müller and her husband were keen art collectors and had big plans creating a huge museum in the National Park but when the Great Depression kicked in, they were forced to suspend the build. What supposed to be a manifestation of their love for art, ended in building blocks scattered around. It is now part of the National Trust and the art collection in what is now the Kröller-Müller Museum (also called the ‘second home of Van Gogh’).
This place has an energy which truly resonates with my being….I can’t explain it, but I treasure the feeling nevertheless.
Great street photography makes ordinary things look extraordinary. It is the beauty of the small things that often are overlooked in every day life. It is there for everyone to see but only the photographer is able to catch the moment and create art. I live nearby the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, so visiting this great museum is something I regularly do. As the museum was packed with tourists the last time I paid the museum a visit, I decided to put my focus on the many visitors instead of the displayed art. Due to the fact that it was so crowded and everybody was taking pictures with their smartphones themselves, I was free to take some pictures of the visitors, something you actually hardly can do anymore these days because everybody is so hyper sensitive for having a picture taken without their strict permission. Looking through the crowd, I saw the three figures on the paintings looking at the three persons sitting in front of it and quickly took a picture. If this is an example of great street photography is for others to decide, but it made me chuckle nevertheless 🙂
The picture you are looking at, is one of an old Mercedes Benz Estate (a W123-T to be precise). It is being used as a daily driver by one of my neighbours in Amsterdam and was parked just around the corner when it caught my eye. Battered and used, with quite a lot ‘patina’ (well, dents and rust to be honest), but revealing a beauty many vintage cars can have. Bathing in the evening light, certain details just caught my attention. Like this detail, shot wide open with the Summilux lens…smooth as silk.
You find yourself in a strange dynamic being a Leica shooter. One day you are being envied and seen as a snob who has spend too much money on a camera that lacks so many features other camera’s have, the other day you are being praised for your pictures you take with it. We live in an era in which the camera itself is a statement and fashion item too, beside being just a tool for creating art of capturing moments. For some people, owning a particular camera seems to be more important than actually shooting with it. I’d guess that’s all right too…whatever floats your boat. Instagram is flooded with ‘eye candy’; just pictures of Leica’s, but also other brands, instead of pictures taken with the camera. Being a substantial financial investment (hence the second hand option I took), it attracts both haters and lovers of the brand and for different reasons. I try not to identify too much with the gear I use, but having said that…..I actually do. I do but more in the sense that this type of camera make me feel they are my soul mates. Not to state something pompously, but the less is more approach of the Leica brand really resonates with me. They really are an extension of my eyes, heart and soul. Stripping the camera of all of the non-essentials enables me to focus (not pun intended) on the key points of my photography: seeing and capturing. I recently saw two Youtube video’s, in which both the M8 and M9 are being praised, despite being ‘old’ and ‘lacking’ or expensive. It prompted me to write this comment:
Hi Mattias, thanks for the effort you have put in this video and the one the M8. It strongly resonates with how I feel using my M8 and M9 (both second hand bought). In this age of ‘low light madness’ and the need for having a camera that does it all (including video), it is refreshing to hear somebody talk about these two camera’s and their specific qualities. What I like the most about using these kind of camera’s, besides obvious things like the IQ, handling, manual focusing and build quality, is ‘the less is more’ approach of Leica. The very reason I still shoot analog besides digital. This makes it not a camera for every one, but if it is it…..it surely becomes a soul mate of you and technical specs will soon be irrelevant :-). You can check out my pictures at http://vincentvankleef.wixsite.com/lightonlight . Cheers, Vincent
Till next time, thanks for reading this post. 🙂
I am fortunate to live just a couple of minutes away of the famous Van Gogh Museum. For a lot of tourists, this museum is a must-see when visiting Amsterdam. For a good reason; both the collection as the building are impressive. The only downside of this museum is that it is packed with visitors all-of-the-time.
I like strolling through the city at night and took this picture from outside the Van Gogh Museum. Although in monochrome, it resonates well with one of Van Gogh’s famous quotes:
I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.
-Vincent Van Gogh
I love the Rotterdam Central Station. As I was walking back from the Kunsthal where I had met the famous photographer Peter Lindbergh and had Anton Corbijn sitting right behind me, I saw this segment of the station bathing in the evening light. I had the image pictured in my mind instantly. I made sure to use the f8 aperture in order to have the best performance of the Summilux lens (not that this lens really needed this).This picture has gained quite some praise on my Instagram account, I hope you like it too.
I can really get annoyed by all the scooters in Amsterdam. I try not to (non-responding is a spiritual practice you know….) but boy they can get my nerves as they spit out so much pollution and noises. Foremost however, it’s the way they are driven; often in a reckless way. Having said that the Vespa is true design classic, just like the Leica M and iPod Classic are.This Vespa caught my attention as I walked out the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. I like the structure of the background and the great detail the Zeiss lens produces.