I’ve owned my Leica M3 (“Leica Green”) for several years now. It was gifted to me by a wonderful blog reader, and in the time I’ve owned the camera, I’ve had it re-leathered, added a nice strap, and shot several dozen amazing images through it. I’ve shot with print film, slide film, black and white film, infrared film, distressed film, expired film … all manner and fun.
I’ve taken the camera with me on many journeys – we’ve visited the top of Mount Rainier, we’ve walked the white sands of Daytona Beach. And it’s just been an amazing camera to use.
But now comes the day when I must make a decision. As much as I truly love Leica Green, I don’t use it as often as I would like. Heck, during my last train chase, I brought the camera with me – one of several – and never used it.
That’s just not right.
And rather than let the camera sit on a shelf … it needs to find a new user. A Leica must have a user.
Let me introduce you to Almy.
Almy is an amazing photographer, here’s a link to her Instagram page. She shoots with film and digital, and she’s traveled throughout Europe with her camera gear. She’s also a very socially conscious person, she advocates for climate change and sustainability. This is important stuff.
She and I have communicated over the years, and last week, when we ran into each other, she told me that while she was in Europe, an unscrupulous dealer tried to sell her some third-rate Commie camera knockoffs as if they were worth thousands of euro. I understand that if you are starting out and you can get your mitts on a Kiev or a Zorki or a Fed, that’s a great starting point, but these cameras are only stepping stones to a true goal.
I mentioned to her that I had a camera that needed a new owner. I did not tell her what the camera was, only that if she wanted a camera, it was hers.
We met up last Sunday. And after much conversation about photography and the world …
I said to her, “Almy, you are a wonderful photographer. And with that in mind, I want to give you this camera. It was gifted to me by a wonderful family, and I made a promise to never sell or pawn this camera. And come the day when I no longer considered it a worthy part of my arsenal, I would give it to another worthy camera user. With the proviso that you never sell this camera, you never hock it, you never pawn it, and that you some day will pass the camera on to another worthy user.”
She agreed. She had no idea what was in the camera bag.
Me? I felt like Abin Sur handing a ring to Hal Jordan. 😀
I handed her the camera bag. She opened the bag up. And her face … went from excitement, to shock, to awe, to amazement – all in the span of three seconds.
“This is a Leica,” she said. “I can’t take it.”
I put it in her hand. “Yes you can.”
“But it’s a Leica.”
“Yes,” I replied, “and now it’s YOUR Leica.”
I explained that the camera was a double-stroke (takes two winds to advance the frame), and that it would allow her to move forward with new and unique photos and images. And it fits into her personal beliefs – it’s self-sustaining (no batteries), and it’s environmentally friendly (again, no batteries to waste).
I gave her a quick tutorial on how to load the camera, how to advance the frame, how to focus. But from this point on, the camera is hers. The only green Leica known to the world.
And you’re saying to me, “Chuck, why in the world are you giving away a Leica? Did you have a head injury or something?”
No. I feel that a camera should be used and used often. And I’ve used this camera – and now it’s time for someone else to take the camera to new adventures.
This is important. With such an amazing camera – sharp focus, quick shutter speed, elegance of form – this camera can last Almy for years. Decades, even.
And I hope that she gets every bit of excitement and joy from this camera as I have, as have those who had the camera before me.
This is the type of camera that you don’t sell. You find someone who is worthy of using it … and you give them that camera and they use it. That’s how the world should work.
Can’t wait to see the new pictures she takes with this camera.