A wonderful time, it’s the birthday of digital M photography. We would like to take this significant anniversary to share a small but nice selection of M photographers and their images whom influenced digital M photography with their inspiring pictures: Max Malatesta, Ram Shergill and Alex Webb.
It all started with the digital Leica M8. The first digital M, featuring a 10.3 megapixel, low-noise CCD image sensor. Of course, all generations of M lenses could be mounted of this wonderful piece of technology, allowing the holder to go beyond what the mechanical predecessors allowed. Back in photokina 1954, Leica introduced the first M series camera, the M3. And 52 years after the M3, also at photokina, the historical introduction of the rangefinder digital Leica M8 was made. So to start opening up the champagne and slicing up the cake, let’s begin with the work of Max Malatesta.
Max Malatesta was born on May 22, 1970 in Rome, Italy. He is an actor, known for “Traveling Companion,” “Miracle at St. Anna” and “Silk” and a photographer. He was previously featured in our Leica. My Life. series that focused on his work with the Leica X1. Now, he shows his work with the M8. You can connect with Max on his website, find him on Leica Fotopark under his user name Max Malatesta.
Max says this of the M8: “The M8 was my first rangefinder camera. With this camera I began to think before actually photographing: to see, to observe, to wait. On the whole, the pictures are already within us. Life awakens them in an instant and, for some mysterious reasons, we quickly raise the camera to our eye. Nosce te ipsum, the Romans used to say. Get to know yourself.”
“The M8 has taught me to ask myself questions. I still don’t always have precise answers. I measure myself against myself. I still have a lot of work to do on my humanity. We have to find the light within us on our own, or we can try to recognise it in the great wide world. The Leica writes precisely, very clearly and very understandably. Unrivalled, I would say. With a lot of soul. In one word – photography.”
Our celebration continues with the Leica M9. Internationally acclaimed British fashion photographer, Ram Shergill, has worked with Amy Winehouse, Eddie Redmayne, Dame Judi Dench, Naomi Campbell and many more. During his studies he met Philip Treacy and consequently was introduced into the world of fashion and art by Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, he became a force within the fashion and art world himself.
Presently, Ram is using all Leica cameras. “I find my Leicas are lightweight and compact and signify photography in its purest form. The simple and effective shutter dial and aperture ring allow the photographer to do nothing but capture imagery without any digital programmes and interference or peripheral features.”
In regards to the Leica M9, Shergill says, “I love the Leica M9 as it’s the camera closest to making it look like you’re working with an analog film camera. It also has a lot of character to it when you’re using daylight, as well as flash plus ambient. I feel the Leica M9 gives a look and feel of film, firstly because the format is quite similar to a 35mm film, quite long and thin.”
Find more about Ram Shergill at his website.
Alex Webb – Leica M (typ 240)
Alex Webb is best known for his dynamic and complex colour street photographs – especially from Latin America and the Caribbean.
He has published 15 books; his latest photography book, La Calle, which features some 30 years of his street photographs from Mexico, was published in fall of 2016. Webb has exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Geo Magazine and other publications.
Webb has been a full member of Magnum Photos since 1979. His photographic work has been honoured with numerous awards and prizes including a New York Foundation of the Arts Grant in 1986 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.
Here is a depiction of his work with the Leica M (Typ 240).
Thank you Max, Ram and Alex, for sharing these images and stories. Please visit this website to find out more about the 10 Years of Digital M Photography.