Meet, Leica, he’s kinda hot…
As many of my friends & followers may know, my training in Watercolour and visual arts originally started in Film Photography as a teenager. My first camera, a point and shoot Cannon 35mm was bought for me by my parents for my 12th birthday, it still stands in my memory as one of my favourite gifts of all time. Sadly I no longer have this camera, as a photography student with no money I part exchanged it for a 35mm Pentax SLR with lens kits. That was later part-exchanged for a Nikon Digital SLR. (That camera I passed on to my younger brother a few years ago). I went all digital no looking back.
By 2010 my entire collection of professional photography was, all digital- including award winning work for National Geographic, the raw images of my watercolour works in Astronomy and most importantly, my personal life and travels… This was all lost. When I had a disaster in life, being made homeless after a collapse in my relationship and a subsequent failure in my business, and starting the recovery of cancer treatment. On top of all this my computer broke, the back up drive was stolen -Along with many of my larger watercolours.
This raised the question in my mind… all I had left of my personal travels was what I had printed out, or what was older and on film.
As I rebuilt my life, smart phones caught up! I love the way a camera is now an expression for modern life. We are becoming a visually literate society. Again, ringing in my ears was the contrast of media… My very human skill based watercolour work, my passion for images, reliance on smartphone photography, and of course the loss of my thousands of much loved (by me) photographic work.
The answer was obvious… eBay. I strategically researched and decided to buy a Twin Lens Reflex, 120mm film, Mamiya 330f Pro. My ‘dream’ film camera… once tens of thousands of pounds… was now available for under £100.
ALL of my current professional work in arts photography uses this TLR. N regrets at all… I get films, negatives, lab processing, beautiful silver-black prints, amazing colour images, no pixels… but most of all I get a slower, more considered, and infinitely improved thought process for designing a photographic visual art piece. The Mamiya is now an old friend I can meet with for coffee, tea, cake and creativity when we both think ‘Lets do this’.
Day to day, I’m still using my iPhoneX for travel and off the cuff images and photographs. I’d looked longingly at Polaroid’s impossible project cameras, the Mint TLR instant camera and others… all expensive, but also all, somehow, unfinished examples… (Though I do love the Mint TLR). Nothing in instant cameras gave me that ‘Marry me’ factor or the ‘I really want to work with you’ feeling that my Mamiya TLR does.
Then I found that Leica… the holy grail make of photography, had brought out an instant camera… I looked it up online and BAM, love.
I was lucky enough to pick-up a brand new in box one in the sexy orange colour on eBay at a price I still can’t believe. -It was meant to be!
So here is Leica, my new boyfriend. He’s expensive, but beautiful, he’s rugged and strong, yet, elegant and well designed. He’s complicated but simple. When we come to the point of creating something beautiful together, he doesn’t last long, but that’s kinda ok too.
As always I will share images on this site and in my instagram and twitter feeds! (Links on this site).