There comes a time in life and in the pursuit of art when less is more. When decluttering of the mind, minimalism and simplicity become paramount. Just like you delete old, unwanted files from your hard disk to give it a new lease of life, your mind too begs for a cleansing. All the old files were relevant at one point in your journey but as you move along they served their purpose and are now obsolete.
I started in 1988 and traversed the film/slide era, jumped on to digital, went through an overdose of gear acquisition syndrome, bought innumerable DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, lenses, accessories and throughout this journey kept cluttering the mind with technicalities. Metering systems, autofocus systems, high ISO performance, number of focus points, tracking efficiency, custom settings, FPS and the list went on. Somewhere along the way light, contrast, color and composition became secondary considerations. If I got the technicalities right, I should obviously get the perfect picture, right? Wrong.
With so many buttons, settings and options, my mind was constantly under a burden to get all those combinations right and if I thought I got them right I would manage some good shots too.
Since about the mid 2000s I had been lusting for a Leica, simply because I thought they looked great. I knew my wallet would never be heavy enough for me to dare to even consider buying one, so I kept lusting, reading, watching YouTube and dreaming. I was convinced that even if I got it I would never end up using it for professional wedding shoots.
And then in 2014, it all came together. I was in the US, had saved some money and saw a used but amazingly well maintained M9 for sale at a good price. I jumped at it. I had a Zeiss 50 f2 ZM lens and I started shooting. The years of YouTube videos and readings helped and as I clicked, it was as if I had been shooting Leica all my life. As I sifted through the files they just blew me away. I was in love.
Suddenly there was nothing to think of apart from the light, frame, composition and focus, in that order. No locking focus and reframing for composition or moving focus points. Just frame, focus and shoot. The M9 had nothing to confuse you. Just select your ISO, set it at aperture priority, select aperture on the lens and shoot. The LCD screen had a terrible resolution so there was no point in chimping either. Just shoot!
That was the beginning. The rangefinder bug had bit me. I tried the M9, Monochrom CCD, M240 and M10 (which I use now). I just bought an SL as a second body for commercial shoots. I just have four lenses and use the same set on both cameras. I am feeling liberated J