In late May I drove from San Francisco to Charlottesville to attend the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. LOOK3, which is the festival that offered an award that began my relationship with Leica, is probably the most intimate and intense photo festival in America (For example, this year they coordinated the rare event of Sally Mann interviewing Nan Goldin on stage). Prior to the festival, Leica placed me in a five-day workshop with Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson, who has been a long time inspiration to most younger photographers I know, including myself. My time with Chris and the rest of the class turned out to be a wonderful, inspiring experience. I absorbed every idea, detail and feeling I could during the workshop. By the time I left I was mentally and physically exhausted, but creatively rejuvenated. I’m still letting the advice and insights I gathered during the workshop and festival settle where they need, but in short, my time with Chris and all the other talented and inspiring people at the festival restored some of my excitement and faith in the power of photography.

Unexpectedly, on my way to LOOK3, I was asked by Leica if I would be interested in going to Paris to attend the Antoine D’Agata Magnum workshop, Leica M9-P announcement party and Magnum partnership announcement and other Magnum festivities. I thought the email was either a mistake or sent to the wrong person. Lucky for me it wasn’t.  I spent eight days in Paris and needless to say, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of photographers that inspired me and helped me rearrange some ideas. And again, my time with Antoine D’Agata, although brief, gave me even more insight on the medium and my place in it.

After the past month I feel really refreshed and inspired about the power of photography and my future with it. Which is an ironic statement considering its contrast with the feelings of my last blog post. I wouldn’t disagree with anything I’ve written in the past, but the clarity and understanding I have on using the role of photography as a personal tool instead of a self-imposed obstacle in my life have greatly improved. I’m still in a state of processing, so a few pictures will have to do for now. I will say though, that I’m incredibly grateful to Leica for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had over the past month. What I’ve realized is likely to shape the next several years of my photographic and filmmaking endeavors.

-Peter Earl McCollough

Peter Earl McCollough was born in Billings, Montana, in 1982 and grew up in Davis, California. Shortly after turning 18, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served from 2000-2004. After being honorably discharged he began studying photography in Sacramento. In 2008, after transferring to Ohio University, he received a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication with an emphasis in Photojournalism.

He is currently a freelance photographer and aspiring cinematographer based in San Francisco. In his off time he likes to paint, especially watercolors, and work on his street photography. More photos can be seen on his website: