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Opinion – Leica Life

About two years ago, when I first got my taste of film, it felt like a very archaic and long about way to get a shot, back then, often one that ended up being more poorly done than what I shot on digital. Despite that I still kept up with it from time to time, especially to the lament of friends who were heavily becoming invested in the medium, perhaps despite the scarcity of it all and especially as we continue into the future. If you’re in the photography community it would often be seen as a certain level of elitism, especially when touting the benefits of it, as many a photographer will do once they’ve sunk their teeth into it.

When I moved to Japan I finally got around to picking up a cheap but perfectly functional film kit. Despite it being bare-bones and at times limiting I ended up spending more and more time with it slung around my neck and over the past year and a half it’s become my go-to when travelling. I have really come to enjoy shooting film the past year and it’s at times hard to explain outside of the idea that it quite simply feels good. There is a connection there, between you and your subject that gets bound together through a physical medium. It costs money and it adds up quite quickly but the way film has slowed me down and made me pay attention to the elements needed to properly compose and expose a shot have done a lot to help guide my photography in a more refined direction.

As I mentioned in earlier entries I finally took the step to invest in a Leica. I had used one on my first trip to Japan after a friend lent me his. Back then I made a lot of mistakes with it and actually managed to mess up 4 of the 8 rolls of film I had shot during my trip. Despite it all the visceral experience that came along with using it left a lasting impression that carried on until I bought one. More then ever now I am coming to understand the drive this camera helps create. A camera is just a tool in the end. That being said, this one feels like it reduces the distance between photographer and subject. It feels like a completely visceral and mechanical experience and brings back a lot of the focus and joy of shooting, at least for me.

These days I am shooting primarily film. That statement was something that would have seemed completely foreign to me 2 years ago, despite my comfort in the digital world. In the end it’s a whole different beast but one worth taming and enjoying.

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