We caught up with five M photographers, all using Leica M-Lenses to tell their stories. From street scenes, fashion, portraits, architecture and more, discover which M-Lenses they choose for maximising their creativity, even during the pandemic.
Documentary and street photographer, Eelco Wortman
Camera: Leica M10-R
Lens: Leica Summicron-M 50mm
“I was primarily a film photographer, who loves the rangefinder workflow and the cinematic character of an analogue image. But film has its limitations, especially in speed and at night-time. That’s why I like using the M10-R. It feels similar to shooting film, with manual settings and no distractions, but this camera also gives me the analogue workflow that I like, without having any limitations.
The Summicron-M 50mm is one of the best 50mm lenses ever made. It’s amazingly sharp, the contrast is great, the colour rendition is beautiful and the bokeh is as smooth as butter. I use this lens mainly because I prefer taking portraits. However, the global pandemic has made creating portraits more difficult. Although I thrive best in new places and through travelling to different locations and meeting new people, I now push myself to go out locally with my camera, every single day to keep my work flowing. My photography has also shifted to present more abstract images, focusing more on details, colours and light. Overall, these limitations have taught me to be more patient and more focused, which I’m experiencing as a positive learning curve.”
Fashion and wedding photographer, Fede Grau
Camera: Leica M10
Lenses: Leica Summilux-M 35mm, Leica Elmar-M 21mm
“The advantages of having a super wide-angle lens, like the Elmar-M 21mm, is that it makes everything around me seem magnificent. It can produce intensified perspectives and minimal distortions, which allows me to see things differently. As well as its incredible sharpness, it’s also super compact in size.
The Summilux-M 35mm, on the other hand, is a little bigger, but this is my most commonly used lens used with my M10. It’s incredibly fast, and I love its definition at full aperture.
I like to create images that invite you to another place, another world, another dream. I hope people look at my photographs and feel inspired to escape their own reality and try something new. These concepts are only possible with my Leica M equipment.”
Street photographer, Wei Jian
Camera: Leica M10-P
Lens: Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm, Leica Summilux-M 35mm, Leica Summilux-M 50mm
“Lenses play a very big role in photography. People often think it’s a purely technical matter, but it’s more about the relationship you want to create between yourself and the subjects. Firstly, the 35mm lens feels very natural to me. I will have this lens on my camera when I don’t know what to expect. It gives you a perspective that puts you ‘on the street’.
I then generally use my 50mm lens when I want to take a picture that really focuses in on someone or something. I sometimes like to leave the rest of the scene to the imagination of the viewer.
Finally, I use my 21mm lens when I’m drawn to space or structure, rather than an individual subject. With its extremely wide perspective, I often use it to emphasise the scale and depth of a scene, particularly in my architecturally focused images. It can sometimes be quite difficult to get it right since the wide perspective also means that distractions easily creep into the frame, but it does produce very dramatic images, and I love the challenge.”
Experimental photographer, Christina Min
Camera: Leica M (Typ 240)
Lens: Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm
“Using the Macro Elmar-M 90mm feels like cheating. It feels like cheating because it’s such a great lens. It’s compact, it’s lightweight, it’s sharp from corner to corner, and it gives me a unique point of view. Sometimes you just want to filter out the surroundings and focus in on that one beautiful thing. The Macro Elmar-M 90mm enables me to do just that. It’s like cropping in on life; capturing and framing the essence. It pulls me into the moment and the experience of the subject. It makes me feel like I’m right there walking along with them. Yes, there are other great telephoto lenses available, such as the amazing Summilux-M and Summicron-M 90mm lenses, but these lenses are not as small and not as compact.
Not only does the size of this lens allow me to carry it in my pocket, it also allows me to blend in, so I remain discreet. During the global pandemic, I have enjoyed visiting places that would normally be filled with tourists. For example, the Gyeongbok Palace is a very popular tourist attraction in Seoul, but at the moment, it’s beautifully empty and surreal.”
Analogue photographer, Agnieszka Paluk
Camera: Leica M3
Lenses: Leica Elmar-M 50mm, Leica Summilux-M 50mm, Leica Summicron-M 28mm
“I prefer Leica film cameras and film photography in general. I notice that when I take digital pictures, I have too many possibilities. I can take an unlimited number of photos, not thinking too much about the composition. As a result, I create hundreds of photos that are unsuitable for publication, so I delete them. My M3 is perfect for its quiet shutter, incredible optics and beautiful design. It allows me to create frames full of emotion, with exceptional image quality, tonality and micro-contrast.
I use the Elmar-M 50mm lens when I go out into the streets during the day because it’s really small, compact and a very light lens. It’s great to work with when the light is bright because it doesn’t flare. Then I use the Summilux-M 50mm lens for portraits when I want to create beautiful depth of field and when there is less light. This lens guarantees me the perfect separation of my subject from the background. Finally, I use the Summicron-M 28mm lens when I know I need to get super close to people or objects, and when I have to fit many elements into one frame.”
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