My Leica M6

It doesn’t even have a screen!

I’m visi­ting my family in Aust­ra­lia for the moment, and I am?—?as I have come to be the latest couple of years?—?packed with equip­ment. Not only do I have my brand span­king new Canon HF-S10 with me to make a movie for my family and try to crack the nut of?—?“How to really use a camcor­der to record the ordi­nary” (more of that later)?—?my bag also featu­res a whole lot of equip­ment from the ice age, a 35mm Yashica T5, a Leica M6 / f2.0 50mm Sum­micron, a bor­rowed Has­sel­blad 501c / 80mm Pla­nar T* and a digi­tal snappy­cam Olym­pus mju. …Phew

Those kind of spec­i­fi­ca­tions and equip­ment leave a small part of the world droo­ling. Heidi, my cou­sins 12 year old daugh­ter, nails the other side of it. After being told abouth the splen­did­ness of my precioussss Leica,
My Leica M6, now with lens!!

My Leica M6

she first iro­ni­cally com­ments it as “The grea­test camera in the World” (and I who thought that I was Gene­ra­tion “X”), weighs it (600grams?—?didn’t know that!), and then replies “..and it doesn’t even have a screen!”
It’s not a strange remark at all from a girl that might not ever have snap­ped an ana­log pic­ture, but what does it mean? And why do I have all that expen­sive ana­log s**t in my bags?

I guess I have no short answer, but buy­ing my first Leica and taking my tru­sty Yashica T5 out of storage, loa­ding them with good ol’ film, pop­ping the shut­ter, having to wait seve­ral days/weeks to pay a lot of money, use a whole day to cut and scan just a couple dozen dust-loving, fingerprint-eating nega­ti­ves with expen­sive equip­ment??? That is of course totally insane. And, having shot purely digi­tal for the last 6 years or so?—?totally awesome. My means and met­hods might somehow only be use­ful for us nos­tal­gics, and ready ready for the museum show­case, but I still think it’s kinda sad that Heidi will never expe­ri­ence the mys­ti­que of pho­to­graphy, the dar­kroom, the che­micals, the scar­city, the “never know what you really got”, all of these things with the medium that pro­bably single­han­ded got me into ope­ning my eyes to the world of ang­les, lines, cur­ves, com­plex­ity, art, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and storytelling. Or?—?that is my first thought. Per­haps I’m roman­ti­ci­zing, or per­haps it’s just because I want her to expe­ri­ence MY fasci­na­tion, MY cir­cutry, MY ver­sion of the uni­verse. Somehow, the world moves for­ward today, as it did yester­day and 19 years ago when I was her age, and star­ted get­ting into pho­to­graphy. The medium chan­ges, dis­appears or evol­ves, the paths to insight or inspi­ra­tion con­ti­nues to be as diverse as human kind, and luck­ily?—?the mat­ter stays the same. Don't look back The scar­city is gone tho. Per­haps that’s why why Kodak film sales are up for the first time of a good num­ber of years (I only heard this as a rumor?—?anyone with a valid source?), or why my lab tells me they see more 120s coming in now than ever before. I guess it just makes a dif­fe­rence for the rest of us 12 year oldies or 32 year old youngsters. And the rest of you?… You should check it out. Buy a roll of film, shed some light in that dark dra­wer where your good Ol’ Nikon, Canon, Yashica or whate­ver have been wai­ting for all too long. Or?—?if you have no Ol’ Love, find her on Ebay or lomography.com! Then go out, and lis­ten to that shut­ter pop a couple dozen times wit­hout check­ing your his­to­gram, if the focus was just right, wit­hout dele­ting a single bad pic­ture from your 16Gb HiSpeed SecureDigital/CompactFlash or whate­ver Memory Card. …And see where that takes you. G’night, mate! * Bjorn?—?down under via Word­Press for iPhone

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