Why I Bought My Leica And What It Taught Me About Myself

As I sat there looking at the negatives, I could only sit back and feel a bit let down. I had finally purchased the "camera to end all cameras", the "best of the best" of my camera world. The Leica M6. It matched my style and approach, it has the potential to create great images (which it has), it is legendary and some other photographers that I admire use or used them often.

 Obligatory selfie in the mirror while holding the camera in question.

Obligatory selfie in the mirror while holding the camera in question.

So why was I feeling downtrodden?

Quite simply, I came to a realization. The images I had initially created using this "amazing" camera system were not super awesome nor mind-blowing. Sure, they were great but they lacked something. Soul. My soul. The camera was missing a very important part. 

Me.

Sometimes, when we buy a camera or purchase a new piece of gear, we think that plunking down some money and buying "the perfect camera" will make our photographs become a bazillion times better than before. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, better equipment helps in making better images and the right tools help get the job done in a certain way but without a creative person to "be" the camera and creating and imagining... you just end up with a more expensive version of the same type of photographs as before.

 A view from the top of Okouchi-Sanso in Arashiyama, Japan.

A view from the top of Okouchi-Sanso in Arashiyama, Japan.

When I purchased my Leica in Japan, I was very happy to have it. It was exciting and it felt so good to be in my hands. The sales person in Map Camera really helped me in making sure the camera was in good shape and I was very satisfied with what I was getting. I had eyed the Leica M camera from online but now it was a reality. 

But when the first roll came back and the images looked "decent" but not "awesome", I realized what was wrong. My preconception that the Leica was the magical cure was wrong. 

This is a result of two things. First, it's a realization that I have to step up my creative photographic game and BE a photographer and a creative more than a camera button pusher. Awesome images are made up in here (feel your forehead right now for effect). Second, I had not taken the time to really learn how to use a particular camera and make it a part of me and the inexperience meant missed shots and not being able to use the camera to it's fullest.

 Amidst the beautiful nature in Okouchi Sanso, there were occasional shrines and temple areas.

Amidst the beautiful nature in Okouchi Sanso, there were occasional shrines and temple areas.

After a few more rolls, I began to see better results as I got more used to the camera. If anything, though, I've learned just how important it is to "step up my game" and really go all out when taking photographs. It's so easy to just "sit back" and be cautious. I can't afford to do that anymore.

My Leica and I have places to go.

 Taken at a crosswalk about a block away from Kyoto Station.

Taken at a crosswalk about a block away from Kyoto Station.