Leica MP + 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH by Dewey Hammond

After nearly four years and probably a few hundred rolls, I recently sold my Leica MP rangefinder film camera and Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH lens. 

These are five of my favorite shots that I took with the Leica setup.

San Francisco, California. Kodak Tri-X 400. HH.

Arlington, Virginia. Ilford XP2 Super 400 BW C41, two or three years expired. Dragon.

Beijing, China. Kodak Ektar 100. I like this not for the photograph but for the mystery.

London, England. Kodak Ektar 100. Mei Mei.

Russian Far East. Arista 400. Dmitry dips his new passport in vodka, a tradition for important documents.

Dragon in Hollywood by Dewey Hammond

During a recent stay in Hollywood, the dude at the front desk gave me the hotel's nicest suite, presumably because it was already somewhat late, the suite was empty, he was feeling generous, and he thought I was deserving; or, more likely: Dragon's disarming and charming face, complete with its world-class underbite and admittedly questionable odors, opens doors. 

To say thanks, I served Dragon breakfast in a martini glass on the dining room table.

Training my dog to walk like a person by Dewey Hammond

Sometimes my friends bicker about where Dragon will go if he outlives me, despite the fact that I have always said, "None of you are even in the running," that Dragon will live with HH; and, if HH doesn't want Dragon, he will live his own life, independently.

Independence comes with prerequisites, like being able to go to the corner store to buy snacks and wine, or to Beanstalk for treats and lattes. As part of his training, Dragon has been learning to walk upright like a person. His current best is about one minute on his hind legs.

Dragon with Mina during one of their super-serious training sessions at Beanstalk Cafe; Nob Hill, San Francisco.

Dragon with Mina during one of their super-serious training sessions at Beanstalk Cafe; Nob Hill, San Francisco.

Dragon with Mina during one of their super-serious training sessions at Beanstalk Cafe; Nob Hill, San Francisco.

Olympia, Washington by Dewey Hammond

While digging through my film photography negatives to select a few shots for my online galleries, I came across a few digital photos that I enjoy, despite not particularly enjoying digital photography anymore. Digital photography made me lazy, more like an editor than a photographer, which is why eventually I ditched all of my digital gear except for an iPhone, upgrading first to a Leica MP and then to a Rolleiflex Automat V MX-EVS. Or maybe it was the other way around. I forget. 

DSLRs and their double-digits frames-per-second capabilities make it too easy to capture what Henri Cartier-Bresson, the godfather of street photography and photojournalism, famously described as the decisive moment, that moment that is there but then in a flash is gone. The most famous example of the decisive moment in his body of work is perhaps, "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare."

This photo of Kelly reminds me of that iconic work; although, to be clear, I am not comparing myself to HCB: I'm a much better photographer these days, but only because Cartier-Bresson is dead. For real, though, Cartier-Bresson inspired me to quit my job, buy a Leica, and travel the world. I'll forever be grateful to my favorite photographer for the influence he has had on my life. 

I shot this frame a few years back, with a Pentax K-x, probably on burst mode. I love the negative space between Kelly's left heel and the ground, along with the negative space between her jacket and the garage door; and, of course, that trademark Pacific Northwest precipitation.

Olympia, Washington; f/2.8, 1/160; c. 2011.

Olympia, Washington; f/2.8, 1/160; c. 2011.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare (1932).