After meeting the PR rep for the local Leica store at a swanky rooftop event for the magazine I shoot for, I was given an opportunity for which most photographers would kill: I was given a camera and asked to shoot for Leica. The manager of the local store very generously offered to loan me a Leica M9, the iconic brand's newest digital rangefinder camera. Historically known as the camera of choice for photojournalists and street photographers because of its discrete size, Leica's are small but mighty and very, very expensive. Like most things, the Germans know how to make cameras of exceptionally high quality, and the exquisite photos are a testament to that.
I was a bit weary of the rangefinder since I have a weak eye that makes manually focusing difficult for me but was excited to learn new equipment and was up to the task. After a brief orientation in the store I was presented with a GORGEOUS camera to shoot whatever I pleased for a week. The conditions were twofold: I had to propose a specific project, and then present and teach a class at the Leica store upon my return. The opportunity to shoot a personal project for a client and then talk in front of an audience?! NO PROBLEM! For me, that was like getting a gift in addition to the camera! :) I packed the Leica and every other camera I have into a minivan and hit the road to head West to the destination for our project.
When given the Leica, I knew just what I wanted to do for my project. I felt that it was important for me to honor the photojournalistic tradition of the brand by photographing real people to whom I have deep emotional ties, so I decided to photograph my great uncle Gordon, a cattle farmer in Western Pennsylvania. I spent a couple weeks every summer on his dairy farm, and the rural way of life is near and dear to my heart. The nature of farming and farm communities is changing rapidly with the rise in technology, and I felt it was important to create a visual portrait of a fading time.
I ended up shooting the project with the Leica and my Nikon D600 with a 24-70mm lens, using only natural light. I hope you enjoy the project!