Photography: Dusting Off the Leica

Photo above – Sunrise along the Shonai River while out on my mountain bike.

It’s been a while since I shot a roll of film on my Leica. It was browsing through the wonderful book of photographs of adventures throughout Asia in the 1970s called Asia Grace by Kevin Kelly*, and John Sypal’s Zuisha (随写) that did it. Kelly did what I didn’t have the foresight (or talent) to do, and Sypal takes everyday scenes of Tokyo and adds magic to the mundane.

I pass this bush every day that I go out walking.

None of the photos I shot on the roll of film are particularly good. But that’s okay. The ability to interpret a scene via film and a tiny black box and then digitise it and post it on this blog is magic enough. It’s amazing that it’s possible at all. It’s also the slowing down and the lack of instant gratification. And of course there’s the joy of using a camera that’s probably the pinnacle of camera engineering. Leica film cameras do exactly what they need to do and no more. They are an absolute blessing in today’s world when everything – everything – seems unnecessarily complicated.

Asia Grace, Zuisha, and my Leica M6.

All photos were shot on Fuji Provia 100 slide film while out cycling last week.

An old karaoke bar.
Abandoned hotel in Jokouji.
Trail along the Shonai River.
Along my urban mountain biking route.

*You can listen to a wonderful interview with Kelly here.

Based in Japan since 2001 I spend free days adventuring into the mountainous regions of central Honshu and occasionally Hokkaido. In 2021, I plan to slow down and talk to more people. Feel free to email me.

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