I acquired my interest in photography at around the age of 14 with the discovery of a folding ‘Autographic Brownie 1A’ camera in the loft, and thence via a ‘Halina 35x’ - which I wish I had now, since I realise it was – almost – a Leica copy, to my first Leica, a model ‘F’. With that, came the notions of the right way to ‘do photography ‘ that I still hold today, mostly. The SLR type of camera was never going to be for me, since I could not understand how a camera which prevented you seeing actually what you had photographed, was in any way acceptable. Even the now – universal adoption of the instant return mirror only shows the scene ‘before’ and ‘after’. How could Henri Cartier-Bresson ever have captured his “decisive moment” if he had been obliged to use an SLR?

Today, the photographic ‘genres’ which I most like are ‘performance’ which include Bands in the local pubs, motor racing, and portraiture – which I could say is a branch of performance photography, since the subject being portrayed is actually giving a performance, whether they know it or not! As long as the excellent modern films in black and white and colour print stay available, I shall continue to use my Leica ‘M’ model because it is ideal for any photographic task. Really, what more could one ask?

Robert J Fantom
March 2010