Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/06/12

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: [Leica] what and why you photograph
From: Nathan Wajsman <>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 06:56:56 +0200
References: <>

OK, I feel like I am at an AA meeting, relating the beginning of my addiction

When I was a teenager in Denmark, my best friend was (and still is) a very
accomplished photographer. I had often been with him in the darkroom, watching
him do his magic, and I admired the results. But somehow I never had the urge to
try it myself.

In 1985 my wife suggested that we buy ourselves a good camera. We were living in
Florida at the time but someone told me about all the cheap shops in New York. I
knew little about SLRs but based on a Consumer Reports test report I bought a
Pentax Super Program that summer during a visit to New York. I decided that this
was interesting and took some photography courses. I was in graduate school at
the time, had just a few courses and plenty of time. So I spent the next year
driving around North Central Florida and taking pictures with my Pentax.
Occasionally I would show up at the university too...

As time went on, I added to my equipment, dabbled in medium format, but I found
that as I had more money to buy stuff, I also had less time to use it. This
became especially true once my son was born in 1989 and then my daughter in
1994. By the time we moved to Belgium in 1995 the cameras were used
occasionally, but really more out of duty than desire. In 1998 I had received an
unusually fat bonus, and I decided to try something different. I sold all my
Pentax stuff and my Hasselblad and bought my first Leica M6 with a 35mm
Summicron. Since then much of my discretionary spending has gone to Solms and to
the ghosts of Wetzlar.

This has really reinvigorated my photography. It has encouraged me to integrate
photography into my daily life, so that I rarely go anywhere without at least my
little Domke bag with two M6s with 35 and 50mm lenses. I like to photograph life
around me, but also landscape (though for the latter I use my R8 or medium
format). My Leicas always go on trips with me, but in general I find that I take
the best pictures where I live or in places where I come often and know well. My
travel shots are usually nice but nothing special. My best recent work is from
Zurich (where I live), Belgium (where I lived 1995-2000) and Denmark (where I
visit very frequently). When I travel, the results can be good if I am alone and
have time to really explore the place and get a little into the life of the
locals; thus, I am pleased with my shots from Lisbon last year and from Nice
earlier this year, because in both cases I had plenty of time to explore the
city on foot, go into local bars, talk to people etc. In contrast, my shots from
a trip to Rome last year are typical record shots; I was there with my wife and
children, and there were too many different agendas to be accomodated.

I do not have a grand vision as such, other than to document the life I see
around me and to express human emotion in my pictures (this does not necessarily
mean pictures of people, see my PAW after the death of my mother).

Besides changing to Leica, the other thing that has been a big impetus for me is
to participate in this forum and seeing all the great work that others produce.
A big inspiration.


Dan Honemann wrote:

> Obviously, only the most passionate and dedicated photographers with the
> most discriminating eye use Leicas (isn't it fun addressing the choir? :)).
> I'm interested in hearing how fellow LUG nutz got interested in photography,
> why they pursue it and what they like to shoot.  I'm spending some time now
> looking at my own interest in this medium and seeing if I can't refine my
> vision (no pun intended) of what I want from this medium.  I'd love to hear
> statements from others about their visions and goals.
> Besides, it will be a most welcome break for me from mulling too much over
> equipment purchasing decisions.
> Dan

- --
Nathan Wajsman
Herrliberg (ZH), Switzerland


General photo site:
Belgium photo site:
Motorcycle site:

In reply to: Message from "Dan Honemann" <> ([Leica] what and why you photograph)