Friday, October 20, 2006
So Shoot Me
I made another expensive purchase today: a Leica CM camera. Still in limited production (although only three or four are still available in Australia), it's the very last of its kind: a robust, professional-standard, semi-automatic, point-and-shoot, 35mm camera.I am not going to argue the toss about digital vs. film photography. I'll concede that, these days, a high-priced 35mm film camera is an elegant anachronism. But you don't have to be a camera geek to appreciate the superiority of Leica's traditional German engineering. From the Leica Summarit 40mm f2.4 retractable lens – the pin-sharp resolution and colour of which puts even the most expensive digital SLRs to shame – to the hand-tooled titanium body, the experience of using the CM is somewhat akin to driving a classic Mercedes coupé. Needless to say, the images it produces are so technically precise that one American photo magazine described them as "almost 3D". I've always used photographs as references for my work. However, over the past year, I've been exploring it as an alternative medium of expression – if only because it offers an irregular but necessary escape from the solitary tedium of painting. I've collaborated with a few photographers – as both a model and as an artist (reworking the prints they make with words, hand-drawn embellishments, and paints) – and I've shot hundreds of candid, black and white snapshots of my own that, collectively, form a chaotic, occasionally confronting monograph of my life these days.Maybe buying the Leica CM means that I'm taking this 'pastime' just a little more seriously.