Friday, December 4, 2009

What are Leicas for?

I don't know what to say when people talk about others who photograph birthdays, babies, family celebrations and other events of the kind... with a fine camera. That is to say, a Leica.

Case in point, the feelings that arise when people read that Gary Winogrand's Leica M4 is now in the hands of a family friend who uses it for birthdays, funerals, Christmas and Thanksgivings.

What's wrong with that? Given my newly acquired status, I use both my metered and unmetered bodies for family pics.

Should I call them artistic because of the camera they were made with (which, as you can ascertain, is my M4-2 with Konica lens), or should I dismiss them as family snapshots?

On the other hand, who can say whether these are prosaic, daily life images, completely void of value?

To be quite honest, those who would consider my use of a Leica M4-2 a waste, just because I'm not doing other type of images, should be out in the street, producing images themselves. From where I see, a camera, however legendary, is a photographic tool, and using it for that purpose is far preferable than leaving it to rust, no matter how much we revere the dang object.

Hence, these shots are artistic snapshots... 'cuz they're pretty, not because they were made with "artistic" gear. What's your take?


Max Cooper said...

I really like the work you've got here. From this post, I get the sense that you're struggling with a photographic identity crisis. Do you deserve the Leica, according to all the folks who've come before? Are your pictures art? What's the "proper" use of a fine camera, if not art?

To hell with that. Just shoot pictures.

Francisco Solares-Larrave said...

Well, I was addressing the snapshot vs photograph notion, but if you say this is good work, I'll take it... even if all I've been able to do with it are relatively simple shots of my daily routine. Thanks for your comment!