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thwaap ... an ode to the Leica by cweeks thwaap ... an ode to the Leica by cweeks
pretentious? perhaps. but, then again, if you know me ... you know i don't really give a rat's ass.

does it contain mature content? hmm ... no more than whatever else i friggin' write.

this is dedicated to those that belong to ... they understand.

beyond the fact this is an amazing system of bodies and lenses ... for over fifty years ... using them is akin to a sickness.

sickness in the bank account.

better than owning a boat though.

i think, at least.

so ... i hope you enjoy this wordy ... diatribe ... dedicated to those that know what it is to use a Leica ... to those that'd like to learn more ...


cheers all!

NOTE: this was uploaded as a compressed PDF which you have to download. just so you know.
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pinyty Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2010
Some are great picture. But the quality can match up by a zorky or a fed camera on fomapan film. But I have to say i never tryed a leica. And I think there are many photographers who just cant afford one. You can always afford a zorki a fed or a zenit. And after all not a leica makes a photographer. Leicas make snobs, and a few pohotographers. The zorki's and fed's had made photographers and a few snobs. It's easy from hollywood to comment on how fucking lame are all the people who use digital, or anyting else but rangefinder leica. Try to move to a former comunist country and buy a leica and be a fucking photographer here.
8j-j8 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2007
this is really the best article i read about photography and Leicas also...
thank you for posting it. altough i do not own Leica and never had the opportunity to try it, i would like to have one. you´re lucky man:)
cweeks Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2007
thanks, mate.

hope you get one in the future...

you'll know why i wrote that!
8j-j8 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2007
i hope so:)
delfin Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2007
one of the rarely positive side effects of physics is the fact that wider aperture gives shorter depth of field, with corresponding shorter exposures (ie. more possibilities with less available light, and distinction within your picture at the same time)

...can you imagine how fucked up photography would be if that was the other way around? long exposures for shorter depth of field, fuck no.

your writing style is infamously fucked up in your own special way... if you hired someone to make paragraphs out of your chaotic genius, you'd start a fucking revolution.

thanks for writing your mind...
dskphotography Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2007  Professional Photographer
this is the article that convinced me to buy one and the shot of the girl gently sipping her drink is what sent me over the edge of completely believing that your are really beyond awesome thanks for the great inspiration :salute:
cweeks Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2007
really? wow! thanks for letting me know!

if you want that exact shot, though, you're going to need the f/1.0! ;)

very happy to know i inspired you, mate!

keep me posted!
kmnyc Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2007
The thing I love about my Leica most is that there's only one button. The shutter release.
microfoundations Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2006
Nice words! :)
a8freak8a Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2006
Thank you for this.
Passing-Shadow Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006
Hey Chris, thanks for a great set of photo's and for inspiring me to go out and just take photo's. I don't have a leica, but I know how special an old camera is, when I use my Dads old Minolta Srt 101, with the 1.4. It's magic.
Even if film and developing is ludicrously expensive in South Africa.

SteliosKa Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2006
so how the fuck can I get myself that damn Leica I can only dream of and that fast glass, when all I can get myself is a (great) Canon A1 with a 50mmf/1.8 prime for just 150Euros?
princesssfi Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2006   Interface Designer
well it certainly looks like a lot of people have read this, and certainly a lot have commented.
i don't think i've read anything like this anywhere from someone as passionate about photography as you [except perhaps for polaroid/timezero afficiandos].. its certainly an eye opener.
i told my mother i wanted a leica - she told me it was probably illegal to publish photos of other people without their consent, "stalking them"..
i told my dad, and he said, "you know, i have always wanted a leica."
end of story.
thanks for opening the eyes to a new type of photogrpahy (from someone who thought the SLR had it nailed.. but knew it was less than stealthy).
many thanks for the diatribe ;)
000moggy000 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2006
Chris, I have to say, I love your dedication to film. People like you are the reason that Ilford refuses to throw in the towel. Of course, digital has it's place in the plasticfantastic world of deadlines and cost-effectiveness, but when one is making art and I mean really making art, they're pulling something out of themselves... and I'll say one thing for sure, "digital images" don't come from your soul. Not like a child would come from a person.

Everything I process myself feels complete. The Macbook will never replace the imtimacy and solitude of a pitch black closet. How else can you really get in touch with what you're feeling?

A true photograph is a tangible, real, flawed thing of beauty, just like you or I, and not even a million treapixel camera will change that. Ever.

I've been doing digital for College (photojournalism diploma) and it sickens me how cold digital work feels to create. I'm still taking pictures, but I'm not making "photographs". We aren't even photographERs. We're creating digital images, which is something different.

It's all documentation versus art, I suppose.

...and I don't shoot Leica for the same reason as everyone above. Funds. But I am stuck on an old Nikon F for film work. Cheap and strong. It will come someday.

Thanks again Chris. I love your work.
ShinnoNoir Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2006   Photographer
I have no way of purchasing my own film camera as of now, seeing as I use a DSLR while working for school, and he seems to have a problem with me making use of the maxxus we have( a manual film camera) though my only experience's are with that of higher level DSLR's on manual, I can imagine the whole film process tedious, but more rewarding.

ill have to try it some time, if I get someone in command who allows me a bit more experimentation in my work of course.
Altered-State Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2006

I always read, look at your stuff...but I only comment when I think it's worthwhile.
You have a real knack for pissing me off....and just when I want to say 'fuck you, you pretentious prick' you immediately come up with something else that is spot on, true, down to earth and (more often than not) funny.

Photography as an artform for most of us is an immotive one, but most of us aren't artists (commercial real estate pays my mortgage). You do this for a living which is something that I tend to forget. So each and every time I start to go down the 'what a prize wanker' route....I stop and think, 'Hey, this guy does this day in and day out, what are my attitudes towards my work and the people that contact me daily? How would I feel if some upstart started on at me about what I do?'....I figure I can't crit on any count.

So...what have we learnt, ...I think you are honest, you know your onions, and you can take a decent shot. As for the Leica diatribe...well, we share so much else in terms of taste (watches, flashlights, France, gearbags, cigars...possibly [H. Upmann are currently providing me with my tobacco pleasure])...I'll trust your judgement on the Leica...besides, who am I to disagree....and who can dispute the quality of such a manufacturer (unless you are talking about their earlier digital jokes!). In fact you are so european in so many figure out if that's good or bad!

Keep pissing me off ... I enjoy the experience

(PS, your dog really is a nod toward your Hollywood cronies though ;))
cweeks Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2006
put a little of that commercial real estate money towards a leica and find out, mate! ;)

yes, my dog keeps very good company ... but ... she's not really my dog ... she's my daughter's dog.

i think king charles whatevers are the new "hollywood dog" just so you know.

cheers mate!
T-Hughes Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2006  Professional Photographer
Very cool work. Jaded... but cool. I read the whole thing and I get the feeling you like those cameras! You're very good at talking about your work and the processes you use. Many artists (myself included), are like, "um here's a pic-ture I took yesterday. Sun light. Girl pretty."

You've almost got me wanting to go back in the traditional darkroom. I'm also a fan of toy cameras, view cameras and even ambrotypes. I really like the stuff you're producing, particularly with your favorite cameras, at close range.
skizzenblock Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2006  Professional Photographer
so i read this whole thing, which i was impressed by myself with. your obviously in love with your leica, all four of them! i think you say alot of true things, "Moments don't include the oppertunity for re-shoots." particuarly spoke to me.
underwaterkitten Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
That was amazing.
You're a brilliant writer as well as photographer.
I'm a digital 'photographer'. I hate my camera.
I don't hate digital cameras as such, but yeah, they don't have the same effect as film.

My favourite pic is on page 23.
But I like everything else as well...

Yes, I do realise I'm reading this almost a year after you posted it, but a friend showed me this, and as I said, it was amazing.
And I'm not sure how valid a 16 year-olds opinion is anymore.
nu-tones Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2006   Photographer
that was a good read!
rakastajatar Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2006  Professional Photographer
film + me = :heart:
vicroyoftime Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2006
I liked the one of U by U in the car......and the dog.
something we won't see in a gallery anytime soon perhaps,but well done nevertheless!
SpanishJohnny Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2006
hey chris,

finally i read it... i must say really cool ! i must say i really love to read things about your photographs, about the background and your thoughts. someone ask me to do "casual"-cool b/w wedding shots in september. i thought of yours...and found them again in this paper. I guess i already told you but they are fucking brilliant. I like to look at your photographs - they save not only the moment they also save the spirit of the scene.
also the "cover" shot with that kid model... i really like you play with the aperture and how you blind out the people in the front !

ciao, han
multix Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
my leica makes pssskk on thwaap :)
multix Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
fun to read and even if we disagree on some points or have just different views... We agree on so many things especially regarding these "fake" photographers.
I go to my dealer and he shows a elica in a Bag, it is a columbus edition. He tells me that if he opnes the bag, the camera will half its value. Is it ven stilla camera? What poor destiny it has.
ANd those guys with the digiams? I almost have pity of them.

And I think you fail to mention one, big difference that intercours between and film and digital.
When I use my Leica, my Exakta or my Rollei.. I shoot, maybe once, maybe if I am lucky I get two attempts... Then I have to wait. Then I develop. Then I wait, thein I print. Or maybe I bring it to the shop. BUt still, there is a hiatus.

Ever noticed instead how quick digital people look at their pityful display to "check"? They get distracted! And of course they do trial-and-error.

At the end, they tend to loose the capacity to visialuize the fact that you need to "study" your subject, to "forecast it" and then capture its instant.

Maybe I get a bad shot more often, but when one comes out, I feel my soul in it. That is so difficult to explain to someone who doesn't do it, it...
cafezero Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2005
great words Chris.

I remember how I first exposure (pardon the pun) to photography was via a pinhole camera I made out of a huge popcorn tin with a 4x6 piece of photo paper in it. Expose the image directly on the paper.

Not even a leica with its subtle *thwappp* beats the stealthy nature of a pinhole camera, and to have a true one of a kind with no negative at all. I've seen pinhole cameras made out of matchboxes, and produce killer poster sized prints. But at the same time, no real easy (or fast) way to control depth of field. It's a lot of math to get it just right.

It's all give and take I suppose. I say use whatever tools yield the results you wish to acheive.

Thank heavens for my senior year of high school, that AP art class put that camera in my hand and shoved me into a darkroom, where I fell in love, with capturing moments and tinkering with science to produce an image that can send chills down someones spine, or bring tears to their eyes.

Anyway, I just got my hand on a '53 Rollei, now I need some cash so I can buy some film. The pitfall of film to me...$$$
cweeks Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2005
nice pun. i remember one i made back in the day as well.

well ... i wouldn't say it beats a leica. not even in a stealthy sorta way, mate.

i have an old rollei as well. LOVE IT! had it modified to use 220.

cheers to you gettin' some $$$ for film, mate!

wanna see what you make with the rollei!!!!!

cafezero Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2005
not even in a stealthy way!? How can you beat taking a photo with a friggin matchbox!? It's real life James Bond action!


Oh, and that whole electronic maelstrom death sentence thing for digital film - I once accidentally put a 1GB card in the wash, left it in my pocket on accident...after that whole wash cycle, I found it at the bottom of the machine, water leaking out of it and all. Let it dry up over night, the thing still worked and ALL the photos were on it, none corrupt! Damn card still works to this day. Had that been a roll of delta, or velvia, or whatever flavor of celluloid film...that shit woulda been gone! No way that celluloid woulda held images with ludry detergent soaking it in a spin cycle!


give and take, give and take. everything has pros AND cons.

cweeks Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005
perhaps in a stealthy way, yes.

but i think even james bond would like to have at least a bit of sharpness. no?

i did the same thing with a 1gb card! friggin' crazy how well it holds up!

everything has pros and cons, yes.

cheers mate!
oceangirl Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2005
a very good read. i need to start reading the others now as well. somehow i always thought i commented on this and then realised that i hadn't.
good stuff onto the others :)
jark Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2005
maybe one day, when i am worthy, this will be of use to me :'( until then i will continue to admire your excellent skillz!
cweeks Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2005
did you read it?
jark Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2005
nope, not yet. :P
isuandrew Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2005
Reading this has almost brought a tear to my eye. I’m so glad that I decided to read it all the way through, I saw how long it was and almost exited out of it. But then that first photograph that was on the first page drew me in........ the one with the model drinking from the bottle with a straw...... it caught my attention because I remember adding it to my favorites a long time ago. The quality of it was unbelievable and just seemed to define “real” black and white.

This has really inspired me. I have been thinking of giving my life over to photography (no other jobs seem to interest me) and this has really forced me to a deciding point. I see photographers like you who have made it, and “sold out” on your terms, but you still have a sense of what IT is all about. Thank you so much!
cweeks Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2005
thanks for reading it all.

the next one is 128 pages. let's see how ya' feel after that. ;)
isuandrew Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2005
You’re welcome, thanks for writing it. This should be required reading for everyone, even if they don’t agree with it, there is still a lot of great philosophy and mind-set to pull out of it.

128?? Wow, I’m actually really excited!!! I’ll have to take some time with it though, I’m a slow reader. Question: Are you one of those people who are just fast at getting everything done or do you just like to put a lot of work into this site?
FenderSixString Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2005   Photographer
Chris, I loved this.

I have devised a way of my own to shoot up close and personal.

I recently received a Nikon F3 as a gift from friend who's a photographer and "Went digital"

Unfortunately, he left his Leica and Hasselblad to rot in a safe. I dunno, maybe he'll use them. Those New York Times guys just have "no time for film" I guess.

So what I'll do is pop off the prism and just shoot reversed. To meter, I'll get a handheld and carry that around with the ground glass exposed facing up while my camera rests at my hip. Mirror lock up and manual shutter to be as quiet as possible. I think this should actually work pretty well. Focusing is scetchy but not too bad with a 35mm lens and the distance scale to help if needed.

I'm sure it's been done but no one told me so I at least feel like I'm somewhat innovative.

I'm gonna start shooting Ilford Delta as well. This should be fun. Thank you, you've helped more than you think.
titaanzink Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2005
It's a beautiful masterpiece of work I'll keep to myself as inspiration. Analogue BW is unbeatable.
bleedingmirror Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2005   Interface Designer
After looking on Amazon and seeing the prices on some Leica's, I decided to read this to find out more- very interesting, and absolutely great photos.
Phybron Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2005   Photographer
Good article - I enjoyed reading that.

I've had a Digilux 2 for a few months now and have been really pleased with it.

I would assume you think that it's a half-assed digital Panasonic-rebrand piece of crap (with a nice lens), but having that means I take a camera with me nearly everywhere, and use it. Which is more than can be said for the Nikon SLR I had for years previously.

I think it's more important to have a camera you're going to use, no matter what it is, than one that may well be awesome but sits in a box.

Maybe one day I'll have the money to get a proper Leica and learn how to use it.
josue Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005   Photographer
there's not many things that i will sit down and read, but it seems with your work i'm just drawn to it. maybe its your striking shots. maybe im jealous of the equipment you use, because i have shit right now. maybe its your "i don't give a damn" attitude. whatever, it's working, obviously. keep rockin the cameras and the inpiration for us other people. bravissimo
raad Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
Thank you for sharing these words and photos with us. I think you realize how much of an impact and how inspirational they are by the positive responses. I would just like to add to the mix and also say that my camera will surely be set on "M" far more often now...
iamtsu Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
I'm gonna be honest, I didn't read the whole thing. But I got through a big chunk and I really like your style, its easy, no BS, in your face kinda writing.

I just stopped writing to finish reading. I've changed my opinion, wow.

Impressive photos.

It must feel good to just look back and say "I made this..". It's also good to vent, get some things of your chest. You've definatly done both and you are probably the most intriguing character I know on the internet.

Cheers, to life and living!

PhoeniX252 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
Great read and viewing :nod:
fortun Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
...thankfully, since most of my moments are contrived - the pink, purple and orange haired girls indulge me - maybe there's a trust that the moment will be worthwhile and that perhaps i know what i'm doing...

...funny though that i look to something as 'old' as a leica as my future - MP, natch...

...i think i share nearly every thought and philosophy herein - cept the coach part - my days of first class may well be behind me - stoopid internet economy...'s to crushed kneecaps...
cweeks Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
well ... i wish you lived in l.a., mate, i'd totally let you borrow my equipment. you'd dig this mp, mate!

except for the coach part!!!!! that's hilarious. i got fucked by that economy too. can you say, "margin call"?

crushed kneecap and a crushed face! ;)
nicolaskern Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
Didnt think I'd read the whole thing. Made me think a lot though. Very glad I did and very moved by your pictures.
ntora Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
I had to print this so I can read it several times...
enjoyable, dense, like your journals...
the bw darkroom is one of the most creative places and you reminded me of how much I miss it...
Creative in various levels mr Weeks.
raeie Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2005
You inspire me, thanks :heart:
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November 28, 2005
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