Of the five rolls I've shot using the Leica M2, this is without a doubt my favourite pic. I find it mesmerising, although it's a simple shot. Some of you may be sitting there thinking, "What the hell's this? What happened to the misty landscapes?" Well, all I can say is that I like it and there's no accounting for taste. I like the contrast between the hard, man-made edges and the natural, free form look of the water. I'll shut up about it now because praising one's own photographs is a bit sad.
Would I have taken this pic with the OM2N? All I can say is that I've visited this beach-side play park in Arbroath quite a few times and never even thought of it. It's a photograph of a corner of the kids' paddling pool in the park in case you haven't figured it out yet.
It could be the Leica - or the rangefinder style of photography - encourages me to look slightly differently at the world. Or it could be that Ralph Gibson (sorry to go on about him again) used a film Leica and I love his photography and may have been sub-consciously chasing what I think of as a similar style.
It's easy with a Leica to imagine you're following in the footsteps of your favourite photographers - all complete rubbish, of course, but very appealing to those open to self-delusion.
I used to think all this stuff about Leica changing the way you viewed a scene was a load of rubbish - and that was just a couple of months ago. But what can I say? There is something going on here that seems peculiar to the Leica. I know there is at least one regular reader about to throw his morning coffee at his laptop after reading that but I've certainly not experienced it with the Konica Hexar AF, the only other rangefinder-like camera (it's autofocus but you look through a window) I've used quite often in the past.
Old palsI experienced this Leica mystique last week when I was walking off Monifieth beach having taken a few shots and - feel free to laugh here - the M2 felt like a pal. As if we were a team. I've not had that with any other camera, not even my much-loved Rolleiflex 2.8F.
It's been suggested that this type of photograph might be the result of going out with just a camera and a standard lens and that any 35mm camera might have produced the same results. That's certainly an argument but I've had spells in the past where I've stuck with just one lens for lengthy periods, most notably the 50mm f2 macro on the OM2N, yet I don't think I've come close to getting the graphic, more minimalist shots that I've been getting with the M2.
The shot above isn't quite the full 35mm frame. That's because, try as I might, the sun's position was such that there was no way I could keep my own shadow out of the right hand side of the image. I leaned out of the way as far as I could whilst still being able to take the photograph and then cropped myself out of the Tmax 400 negative at the scanning stage. If only were always so easy to deal with troublesome people in life. :)