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Adventures in Photography | Leica IIIa

Keen to learn more about the history of photography, I read a book by Cartier-Bresson, a biography of Bob Capa, watched Life Through A Lens by Barbara Leibovitz and began to wend my way through Langford’s photography guides.  This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg, but it was a start.  Although it’s really the difference between watching a tennis match and playing it yourself.  I needed to take photographs in film.  And I couldn’t use just any film camera, it had to be a very old one with a soul and a place in 20th Century history.

leica IIIa camera


So I bought this handsome 1937 Leica IIIa on an impulse in March of this year and immediately realised I was out of my depth!  I’m not a camera geek (although it is an aspiration of mine!) and I know little of the mechanisms of how cameras work.  All I knew about this camera when I picked it up for the first time was what I’d read on wikipedia, that it was a “a screw-mount, coupled-rangefinder.”  I had no idea what this meant, but I knew it was beautiful.  So remaining firmly within my comfort zone, I used my Canon 40D SLR coupled with my EF 50mm f/1.4 lens to take this pretty picture of the Leica digitally! *rolls eyes*

I bow in awe to the great 20th Century photojournalists who managed to master this camera.  From my first roll of 36 I’d say I could throw at least 12 straight in the bin, another 10 might be salvaged by extreme photoshop cropping (not really in the spirit of the exercise!) and that’s before I even begin to think about developing the film myself. But, if at first you don’t succeed…!

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