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A Leica legacy

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Sophie Green - our sales and marketing person has decided it's time to step out and get to grips with her grandfather's old Leica. A Leica II model D.

Sophie splits her time between working with us and a busy life as a commercial and documentary photographer. And, like us, she always has that hankering for exploring new fields of photography... In Sophie's case , she hopes that her grandfather's Leica will carry her into a deeper understanding of film photography and the challenges of producing images with a classic Leica.

Leica had a slogan - 'The camera that makes you think' and the advertising copy ran - 'The Leica does not set out to do your thinking for you. When you have a Leica, you have the ultimate in the 35mm range and a sure friend for life. But it still expects you to find the subject'

Sophie's grandfather was a remote figure in her life but he saw her growing passion for photography. Sophie tells me: 'He was always very process driven - and so am I. He was also pretty austere - which I'm not but, I guess we did have a similar temperament. He once told me that the man who invented perforations for film was related to us - I was a very curious kid - maybe he just told me that for fun... I'm not sure!'

Now Sophie has a Leica that, of course, uses perforated film. Over the next month or so, she is going to be getting to grips with it and seeing what kind of images she can capture. We are looking forward to seeing the results - and will report her notes on her journey and display her images here.

Far too many cameras are stuck on shelves. Get out there and take some pictures! We'd love to hear about your adventures with your cameras.

A footnote -

Sophie's fascination with her grandfather's Leica reminded me of my own beginnings with film photography. My father was an avid Leica collector and user and so was my grandfather. Neither were professional photographers but both took their photography very seriously.

My Grandfather left thousands of negatives tucked away in Leica negative storage boxes.

When I started to learn darkroom technique, I became very intrigued by my grandfather's work and started to print some of his negatives from the 1930s. I realised that he had actually been quite an avid street photographer. His pictures remain as an important document of the past. How wonderful that film negatives last so well!

My favourite image of my grandfather's work was the one above - actually taken and printed by him in 1944.

I took a photo of him with his Leica IIIf, holding the print -

Forty years on... And every time I move to pick up a camera, I am tempted just to use my Monochrom... But more often than not, I have turned back and picked up my film Leica and taken that, too. Film is forever, they say... And I honestly don't think I will ever be able to leave film behind - and in a way, it would be crazy to do so. The negatives that Sophie produces with her Leica will last as least as long as my grandfather's. Nobody knows how long digital files will last.

Sophie- 'I know that every picture I take with the Leica will have to be carefully considered and precisely realised - I know I won't be able to just snap, snap, snap with the Leica - I only have 36 frames on a roll and I don't want to waste a single frame. This is one process I have to get absolutely right'

Blog copyright Matthew Whiteman 2023

Camera images copyright The Latent Image 2023

Historic images copyright various

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