A Camera and a Beer

Leica and a Beer. Iksan, 2017.

So it all started with a conversation. A simple conversation.

Myself and Nick were having a beer and talking about cameras. We did that a lot. He asked where my M3 was.

You see, I had sold it. I bought it because it was cheap and I was poor. I bought it because it was battered and that made it cheap. I bought it because I had met someone that inspired me to go back to my roots. I bought it to forget about gear for a while.

I bought it on a whim. It was one of those things I decided in five minutes after having seen it in a shop window. It was my friend’s shop. I fondled it for a while. It was both weirdly rough looking and brand new feeling at the same time. Strange.

I bought it and used it. The first roll I shot in a park near my house. I took photos as we walked. Had been a while since I’d shot film. Also been a while since I’d shot without a meter.

Was nice.

At the Park. Leica M3.

I went home and developed. Had been a long time since I’d done that as well.

At the Park. Iksan. Leica M3.

It felt great.

A month later I was in Busan. I was supposed to be taking photos for a magazine. Still life photographs of fish. I left the Ricoh I had brought in my bag and just shot a roll.

Busan. Leica M3.

Forgot about the project.

There is much to be said about a camera. About the life of a camera. Just “tools” technically but I do believe one can be more.

It is kind of like the way a car can feel like it has a soul. The longer you spend with a car, the more memories you make in it, the more it starts to feel like it is more than just an engine and seats.

This isn’t an argument for film. It has nothing to do with the medium. Film is just the fuel.

It won’t be long before our cars don’t need that either.

Flash forward back to Nick and I drinking and talking about cameras. He asked me why I’d sold the camera. I didn’t have a good reason. I bought another because I thought it would be newer and nicer since I could then afford it. Was weird though, I had always thought about that first one. The photos never were the same after that.

He saw the look on my face.

“Let’s go get it tomorrow.”

You see, I had told him that it was still at my friend’s shop. He bought it back from me but hadn’t been able to sell it. The camera looked like it had been dropped and then the previous owner had tried to sand down the dent. The camera was otherwise new. This wasn’t a sand job to show brass (equally horrible) but a butchering to get rid of a dent. Koreans don’t like this kind of thing very much.

Anyway, we went the next day and I got it back.

Four months ago now and not a day goes by I don’t fondle my M3 with a beer. It has since been painted, but I asked the damaged vulcanite be kept so I could still recognize it.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

We have been busy making memories, so haven’t had too much time to blog. Ironically Nick’s 50mm Summilux now resides on the front. A more fitting combination I cannot imagine. All goes to the story.

The story of a camera.

And a beer.

Halloween, 2017. Leica M3.

Stay tuned for my next post about Halloween, 2017. Photos from – you guessed it – my M3 and Nick’s 50 ;).





  1. Nice story, strange how Leicas have soul like other mechanical cameras pre-1980’s. It will never be like that with digital….

    1. I think it is, at least for me, the fact that this camera will most likely be able to be adjusted, cleaned, and used for my entire lifetime. Difficult to say that about the others you’ve mentioned.

  2. Yes….. digital is great but my Leica with a roll of HP5 is pure magic. I’m going back to the darkroom…. nothings beats that.

  3. Memo to self – 1
    Get that M6 out of the storage closet. It deserves seeing light. And getting light through the shutter to some film (you still have some in storage too)

    Memo to self – 2
    Since you are never going to really go back to film like Josh can, try at least to get away from your now-too-familiar Lightroom process and make new presets. Something close to that Busan boat, for example. Keep yourself on edge.

    Thanks, Josh, for keeping us on edge indeed.

      1. Update on memo to self #2: it’s mighty hard to get the same feel. I am trying, it is likely that the way to get there is to actually dial DOWN clarity to some degree, possibly lower contrast too but at the same time preserve those deep blacks. Interesting challenge!

      2. Yeah it is certainly a softer look. I hate the clarity slider in either direction. Usually leave it at like minus 10 for digital photos. With digital I normally under expose two or so stops and push them back the same way I do with film. I also find the best way to get a similar look is with snapseed 😉 I don’t touch the sharpness either even and even then it down as much as possible in camera haha. The original X100 can get the closest to my film stuff in look I reckon.

  4. Because of you praising the original X100, I just bought one (I first bought one new in 2011 but sold it two years later because it was too slow for me at that time). I can only thank you because I am now so so happy with the X100. And the AF feels surprisingly fast now. The Image Quality is just perfect for my needs. All the best from Switzerland.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s