Although I am a huge fan of Mark E Everett and his band Eels, due to some personal little earthquakes last year I had a difficult time listening to his music that has often a melodramatic character. He is a master in expressing the struggle he has with romance and love:
What I Have To Offer
What I have to offer
Well, there’s a lot
Now I’m a modest man
But look at all I got
For all the wear and tear
I look OK
I got good manners
And I make good pay
And you know I’m all full of love
What I have to offer
Well, there’s so much
I care and nurture and a
I got a pleasin’ disposition
And I don’t care about
Football or fishin’
And you know that I’m all full of love
What I have to offer
Well, check it out
I’ve learned some things
And I know what it’s about
I’m quite discerning and
I’m pretty smart
It takes an awful lot to
Win my heart
But you know that I’m so full of love
So when this amazing artist recently visited The Netherlands, I hesitated for a moment to go but just for a brief moment. I took my beloved Leica M8 with me and being signed by Anton Corbijn it resulted in this photograph which reminds me of the Rattle and Hum period of U2.
Thanks Mark and Anton for your art and inspiration.
Swiftly he manoeuvred his bike to the right as he approached me. I was totally in the moment, in a meditative state as I always am shooting with my Leica’s. I could not be bothered less. It rained slightly that evening in Amsterdam. Tourists moved from the Central Station towards the city centre. I decided to shoot with the old M8 again, paired with the magnificent Zeiss 28 mm. Furthermore I had set the camera in Jpeg and black and white, inspired by the photo contest (see this post). Reviewing the picture later, it showed a fair amount of under exposure, due to the headlight of the bike pointing directly into the simple centre weighted metering of the Leica. It results in a noisy image, but having the awesome Kodak sensor it yields a nice grain like look-I think.
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.
This is awesome: I got interviewed by the renowned Dutch Leica photographer Joeri van der Kloet. Joeri is a friend of me too, so that’s a double whammy eh? No featured photograph this time….just check out the interview 😉
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. 🙂
Nature surpasses all concepts of greatness. The wonderful thing is that you can be awed by it in so many ways. As I live in Amsterdam now, all the places that are not occupied by concrete or cars are safe havens for the mind. I took this picture in the Westerpark, a park along a busy road. You can sense the different state of mind of people when they are surrounded by nature, even if it’s a park.
This will not be the last post in which I praise the Leica M8 I’m afraid. There is something about the files that keeps me grabbing the now 10 year old M8. I recently read an article by Thorsten Overgaard where he confesses a return to his M9, letting the ‘better’ Typ M240 collecting dust. There is something about the CCD sensor that sets the M8 and M9 apart to all other camera’s, in my opinion that’s to say.There has been enough written about this (and fiercely discussed), so I won’t go into this any further :-). Having said that, one of the qualities the M8 is praised for, is its black and white conversion, which this picture is a fine example of (see my pictures here and more to follow in future posts). I shot this picture after visiting the Starbucks at the Rembrand Plein, Amsterdam. I noticed the man directing the traffic and took the shot at a high ISO (eeeek!). Although the bright yellow light he was holding in his hand did me grab my camera, in post production a black and white conversion yielded the best results.
Shot from the hip as they say. I can’t get enough of watching children exploring the world. As my daughter is growing up to be a wonderful adult, I keep being fascinated by small children. Besides the symmetry in the composition, I like the way the child moves its arms while walking down the path. The sheer wonder of a young human being exploring all that’s new, is a never-ending inspiration for me to keep grounded and have that beginners mind.
Together Alone is a song by Dutch singer Anouk. A song in which she sings about her betraying her man. Heavy stuff alright and a strong title for describing the lack of fulfilling she apparently felt at that time. This title crossed my mind when I saw this man sitting on the park bench all on his own….except for the dove that seemingly is not intimidated by the man. The web is flooded with street photography showing people sitting on benches, I know, but the fact that the man sits on the very end of the bench en the dove just minding his own business I found quite funny. I hope you too. When showing my girlfriend this picture, she mentioned the white bird on the right, turning it’s back to the two. I like it when a photograph reveals these kind of details. Shot with my dear M8 paired with the lovely Zeiss ZM Biogon 28mm.
After visiting Berlin in 2011 with my daughter, I recently revisited the city of Berlin with my girlfriend. I had decided to take the M8 with me, paired with the Zeiss ZM Biogon 28mm. Foremost for the very reason of wanting to get out of my comfort zone and to spark creative ideas. Shooting with the M8 and the Zeiss meant an other shooting approach for that the M8 performs different at higher ISO. Furthermore, the Zeiss has a maximum aperture of F2,8 instead of F2,0 of the Summicron (which I have traded in). As this is a lovely combo, the results have been great but it also meant that I needed to be a bit inventive to make a shot like this. Shot at ISO 320, manually set on 1/15 and F2,8, I managed to take this picture of the Brandenburger Tor. Handheld, but I had to lean against a post. I have used this technique here too.