Leica

Meßsucher – an exhibition of photographs by Andrew Butler

OK, at very short notice I have been asked to fill a gap on a wall. A bit of history, we used to run from an office over The Café, Topsham so it’s a bit like returning home.

The photos in the show are all taken with a modern Leica, the M9, using Leica lenses: a 28mm Summicron (Asph), a 50mm Summilux (Asph), or a (1962) 90mm Elmarit.

The Leica M9 is a small inconspicuous digital rangefinder camera, it doesn’t have autofocus, it has fairly simple centre weighted metering and it doesn’t do video. Launched in September 2009, the M9 marked the return for Leica rangefinders to what has recently become known as full frame or 35mm format. It shares a lineage that dates back to the first Leitz Camera prototype of 1913 designed by Oscar Barnack. Although a modern camera the M9 will work well with lenses from earlier ‘M’ (Meßsucher) series cameras dating back to 1954.

The 35mm format was almost an accident based on available movie film stock; in many ways it is a compromised platform for photography. However, intended as a ‘compact camera for landscape photography’ the Leica fulfils that purpose to this day.

These images – for me at least – are what photography used to be about and are also an expression of the original Leica ideal; the landscapes are both rural and urban and record travels including Topsham, Dartmoor, London, Paris, Switzerland, Lisbon and Palermo.

Opening Times

The Exhibition runs from 8th- 31st Aug 2013 at The Cafe, 76 Fore St, Topsham, Exeter, Devon EX3 0HQ ‎01392 877827

Thanks

Paul for offering the space.
Niche in Bristol and particularly Hannah for turning the images around so quickly.
David of Stable Art in Bodmin who was as ever upbeat, helpful and inspiring.
Karin for giving me the kick to do it.
Dad.

Mac Motorcycle Photoshoot in Germany’s MO Motorrad

Many thanks again from Maik Schwarz and MO Motorrad Magazin for placing a great spread of the prototype Mac. I discussed the shoot some time ago but haven’t been able to put the images up whilst they have been going through the process.

The four page spread was as a result of our initial approach to Maik Schwarz on behalf of our client Mac Motorcycles.

I guess what is nice about working with MO is the strong sense of design and the simple approach. The images have barely even been cropped. For this shoot photos were captured on both the Nikon D800e and the Leica M9 although the selection that has appeared in the magazine are all from the D800 pool. Interestingly (to me at least) a couple were with a short zoom Nikkor that I no-longer have.

MO-1034183

Pleased to see the portrait of the bike’s creator Ellis Pitt shown without a crop too.

Postscript

OK, so it’s last thing on a Friday evening, Ellis has just forwarded this comment that he has received via email. Yes, this is why we do it;

I’ve seen your bike in the german motorcycle-magazine MO. What a great piece of work – congrats!

I can’t remember that ever a picture of a bike got me by the balls as this one did and I’m in love with motorcycles for about 30 years now.

What’s striking me most besides the fantastic line is the sheer beauty of the raw material

Lisbon

Four days isn’t enough, obviously, but most of these images were taken in a two hour walk and already they leave me with many questions, in particular how to return. I deliberately go to places with no foreknowledge, it’s a risk I know. After a short while in Lisbon it is hard not to see that all is not what it seems. At times the place seems like a forgotten film-set; rush past on the bus or in a taxi you might not notice but stop and look deeper into the eyes of the building windows and a darker truth emerges. Many, so many of the buildings are empty, some in disrepair few looking about to be repaired. Cash is king, plastic won’t get you far here and the police stand outside the Rolex shops and the supermarkets. Dining can be inexpensive, and good, really good, you will be hustled to make your choice though, such is survival. And for many survival doesn’t seem guaranteed yet the people are polite, friendly and courteous. As we drove back to the airport I asked the taxi driver why all of the building doors were green, he laughed, a few minutes later he pointed to a brown door and laughed again.

Brand, What’s in a Name?

There is a case for suggesting that the Leica M9 isn’t the tool for shooting motor-sport, I would agree. One might also suggest that driving a Lancia 037 (Versione Stradale) from Twickenham to the Wiscombe Hill Climb, taking part and then (presumably) returning home isn’t sensible. Robert Wadsworth assured me that he had to drive the car to the meeting because he ‘didn’t have a trailer’, this all seems perfectly reasonable.

Can I make it clear, I love old Lancias but don’t look at the current Lancia website full of re-badged Chryslers unless you want to cry. There is something about the old ones though. I drive a Saab and briefly Saabs were re-badged as Chryslers, in fact Lancias were re-badged as Saabs too after the ‘engine falling out issue’, but I would never try to link the Saab experience to the Lancia one.

Now, I must admit I had noticed the two young men with their lovely long lenses. I was even briefly perplexed by one who had both Nikon and Canon gear in his bag, that’s just not right is it? What I hadn’t realised was that they had noticed me, well to be fair I was probably stood in their way and actually it was the M9 that they had noticed. I had ridden to the meeting on the BMW and the Leica works really well, fits in the top-box, no need for a trailer.

While we were talking nonsense about cameras I was aware of Sir Blighty-Tweed walking past me, barking “Aha, BMW, by the people who brought us Auschwitz!”. I assumed he was addressing the chap cruising up the hill in his old 3-series, but then I looked at the logo on shoulder of my, err, BMW Rallye-3 jacket.

Probably best not to mention the Leica then?

Photographing Training Sessions

No reason for this other than to remind myself that it doesn’t rain every day.

Another day photographing training sessions, an email while I was working asking me if I had something suitable for the front page. Oh, and a quick (soft) drink before the drive back to the Lightroom. This was the view.

Reminder set.

BMW Cafe Racers, Uli Cloesen

Some time ago Uli Cloesen contacted us from New Zealand about using some of our shots of Kevil’s Ruby BMW café racer in his new book. The bike was only around for a short while before going off to it’s new home in Poland. Well it’s been a long but worthwhile wait, the book is out.

This is what WH Smith says,

Many books have been published about BMW motorcycles, but this is the first to cover the evolution of the BMW sportsbike to the BMW cafe racer. A marque not commonly associated with the cafe racer scene, the growing trend of custom BMW cafe conversions is illustrated in detail with stunning images of sporting, racing, and ‘cafed’ BMWs. From Airheads to Oilheads, modified singles to parallel twins, Fours and Concept 6s – see the ‘cafed’ side of BMW.

I say there’s some neat bikes very neat bikes indeed.

OK, so WHSmith.co.uk weren’t the quickest to deliver but hey, Uli told me it was the cheapest place to get it so here you go, it’s the hardback too.