The personal blog of photojournalist Noah Darnell.

Going out with ME…

Going out with ME…

And, yes, that’s referring to the Leica M-E (Type 220)…

I’m not really a newcomer to Leica. I’ve had a Leica M4-P since 2006 and an M8 since 2010. So after careful planning and many miles of thought, I decided that the “M9 update” was the one. I pre-ordered it the moment it was announced.

I’ll hang on to a few other reasons to discuss later.

The first day out and about with a new camera is probably not going to yield any portfolio-worthy photographs, but – no apologies made – a Leica isn’t meant to sit in a box in a closet.

It’s meant to take out and shoot.

Unfortunately, I’m not all flush with fine Leica glass yet… but honestly Cosina is making some incredibly good glass these days to fill out the other ranges.

The thing about a Leica is that I don’t think the images equal the sum of the parts. There’s a feel to them.

I don’t even think it is a factor of “wow” or another empirical evidence that a pixel peeper or another resolution test or high-ISO comparison can perceive.

And I don’t think it’s just a Leica fanboy thing, either. It is actually intimidating to shoot with a camera that I often get somewhat inconsistent results (but that’s certainly not the camera’s fault).

Perhaps some of the mystique of the Type 220 is that I look forward to the day when much of the gray paint has rubbed off (that gray paint which so many “collectors” have said is “ugly”) and my Leica is all weird-looking and brassed and truly “ugly” from hundreds of thousands of miles of use.

The photo above is photo #47 ever made with this camera. I’m really looking forward to photo #47,000. And I’m really really really looking forward to #147,000.

Being the first owner of a camera is important when the intention is such mileage and so many frames because I’m actually looking forward to the day when the shutter just gives up and I have to send it in.

I’ve always felt a certain warm spot in my heart for theĀ VelveteenĀ Rabbit story in which something that is thoroughly “loved on” becomes more real. And maybe it carries on to my current lifestyle with equipment that causes some people to geek-out and put it away out of sight wrapped so tightly so no dust or light can spoil it. I love the dents and dirt and rubbed-shiny keyboard on my MacBook; I love the holes in my jeans that are there not because I bought them “ripped” but I actually wore them in the rough places of the world for so many days in a row that they’ve gone threadbare; I love old shoes that have almost no soles; I love the Chrome backpack that was once solid black but is now gouged and streaked from many dozens of trips through airports and in the backs of dirty pickup trucks; and I love the abuse and wear on cameras…

…because the abuse and wear on the cameras is just as much evidence of life being lived as the photos that I made with them.

Stay tuned…
-Noah D.

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