The Leica M4-P is widely regarded as one of the last classic Leica M models and is a truly excellent tool for a photographer that is as much an artist as a craftsman. The timeless design, the handling, the soft, smooth sound of the shutter, I’ve spoken with many M photographers that say this is their preferred M throughout the complete history of the line. Similarly, the Leica 50mm ƒ2 Summicron lens is considered to be one of the best 50mm lenses ever made. And with good reason, it’s sharp, contrasty, and renders beautifully. Working with World of Photography in Grandview Ohio, we put together what we consider to be the classic film M4-P kit. A Leica M4-P, 50mm ƒ2 Summicron lens, Domke bag, and a selection of some of our preferred films, including selections from Ilford and Kodaks newly revived Ektachrome.
Of Mountains and Men and Misadventures, By Cyndi Mae Bandong
It was a red-eye flight from Shanghai.
The timid early morning rays bounced off the airport floor as I made my way through one gate after another. Queues upon queues of passengers, trying to shake off sleep, lined the glass wall to my right: there were rowdy children being told off by their mothers, fathers who looked exhausted to be even bothered, and then there were those who just wanted the whole ordeal to be over and done with.
I finally reached the gate where I was supposed to board my plane to Kathmandu. Bone-weary and anxious, I walked towards the wall and lightly leaned against it.
27 de Septiembre: Mexican War of Independence Re-enactment in Tonatico, Mexico, By Oswaldo Guadarrama
In the early morning of September 16, 1810, in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato, a catholic priest by the name of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, rang the bells to his church and made a call to arms which triggered the armed conflict that was the Mexican War of Independence from Spain. It is now over 200 years later, and all throughout Mexico, Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. Not many places, however, celebrate the day of the consummation of the war of independence, which took place on September 27, 1821. This is about one of the few places that do; this is about Tonatico.
I was 11 or 12 years old and looking for my first camera. My father told me, “Son, whatever type of camera you chose to be with is just fine with your mother and me just as long as it’s a Nikon.”
I had been perusing the centerfolds of camera magazines, ogling the Nikon bodies and yes, even the fine looking Olympus, Canon, Pentax, and Minoltas. When my father was once looking to buy a camera, his photographic mentor Gino Rossi told him to buy the one he really wanted, to not compromise. My dad told me the same thing and what I really did want was a Nikon. The others were pretty but they didn’t feel right for me. There was one caveat. I had read an article about Leicas and when I asked my dad about them he didn’t turn up his nose as he did at other brands. He said something about them being very good but too expensive — and for an 11-year-old about to spend his life savings of just over $100 that was the end of that. I ended up buying a well-used Nikon FM black body. My dad gave me a 50mm Nikon f/1.8 E Series lens, since my life savings wouldn’t cover any optics, and that camera carried me years into the future — to work at newspapers and on my first international documentary assignments in Central America. Along the way it was joined by a Nikon F3 and a few other lenses, most notably the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8. Finally, the old FM and the newer F3 were joined by a brand new Leica M6ttl. That my introduction to the M system and this is the story of that journey.
In the third week of the new year, I have crossed the Mississippi River from my home state of Arkansas and am passing slowly through little Mississippi towns like Rolling Fork and Cary under winter sunlight so pretty I wish it would never end. The Sunday streets are deserted, and the closer I get to the Louisiana border, it dawns on me that everyone is inside, glued to the Saint’s playoff game. Though not apt to follow sports closely, I appreciate high stakes and will always root for all things New Orleans, the great American city that she is. I am listening to the nail-biter on the radio and thinking of everyone I love in the Crescent City. On my approach into darkening Vicksburg: the crushing last-minute defeat just down river, a soon-to-be full moon emerging from a field in my rearview mirror. Evening is falling, and every direction I turn looks the way a Lucinda Williams song sounds.
Adventures in street photography, By Dan shallenberger
When you’re holding your newborn son, you feel like you have all the time in the world. Then you wake up the next morning and your newborn son is 18 years old and a senior in high school. I have a lot of wonderful memories of us together, especially since we have always had a lot in common. But memories related to photography will always be at the top of my list.
You see, his name is Hayden and he’s a very talented photographer. He actually makes me want to be a better photographer myself and pushes me to think outside my box. So when we had a chance to take a father/son trip to try street photography for the first time, and in Miami none the less, I knew it would be an amazing adventure!
As I close my eyes, I could still smell the aromatic chemical fumes from a typical photo development store. If you have ever walked pass one, think of it as a mixture of ammonia, noxious gases, and vinegar- like acid mixed together in a chemical lab. It is undeniable an unpleasant odor. But if you need to spend 8 hours in the store; the smell sort of becomes aromatic.
This is – The One Hour Photo, also known as my second home from the age of 11-14. As a child, growing up in Shanghai and Los Angeles, I would accompany my mom, a self-taught photographer, to her store on the weekends and spent my whole day there while completing my homework. I always looked forward to it because there was an El Pollo Loco next door, which means, my reward will be waiting for me once I have completed my homework.
We were running towards each other, we’ve been running for years, slowly becoming apart, further and further away from each other every minute. Children are screaming for their mothers, neighbors are calling “enough now, come inside” but I lay awake in the deepest of night dreading for an escape.
“Come on, wake up, you’ve been sleeping for so long” I keep repeating to myself, It’s been a few years since you’ve been stuck in that thought. “maybe you haven’t heard the message, you see, this thing you’re feeling happens to be wise and won’t leave until it’s message has been heard.” But I was stubborn and my ears had been shut for some time now, all I could hear was a voice inside my head telling me to give up, because finding myself was impossible, I was long gone.
We had a tremendous response to our essay contest and want to thank everyone who took the time to send us their essay!
All finalists will see their entries published here on the pages of Field Photographer now through the 28th, with the final selection and winner announced February 28th! Both Andrew Tonn and myself are going over all entries and selecting our favorites then comparing notes. As a bonus a special selection will be made by Gary Crickmore proprietor of World of photography in Columbus Ohio.