Photography for me is light and tones of shadows. My photos are the records of moments that pleased my visual sense, and the records of light that revealed the shinning properties such as forms and textures of nature and artificial objects. In photography, my ultimate goal is to create visual poesy from daily life. Here are the images taken with the Leica M Monochrom.
I am an amateur photographer living in Tokyo. My passion for photography restarted in 2013, when I obtained Leica X Vario, a very nice camera with zoom lens. Then sometimes, I felt that the colours could become a kind of obstacle for what I wanted from photography, and I decided to concentrate on black and white with a Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246). Black and white is familiar to me because I used to develop the films and print by myself during my student time in 1980s.
As is often said, photography is art of seeing, and because my interest is to capture (hopefully) poetic scenes from everyday surroundings, I do not set any special theme. The motif could be in nature, sea, architecture, or interiors, etc. So, the important is to carry all the time a camera that I feel comfortable with, and to walk as much as I can. (It sounds easy but actually not, and another big question is where to walk!)
Among so many fantastic photographers, I love the works by Bernard Plossu. They are intuitive, instinctual, and often very poetic. What I practice is also to intuitively react to luminous/aesthetic moments (as every photographer does), and I feel nowadays that a good rangefinder camera often works in favour for that purpose, because it provides a very good training to make what you want to create from things in front of you correspond with what will be recorded on the camera sensor (or film), while demanding your experience and imagination at the same time. And this imagination should not be excessive in your head; it should be tightly connected to the things in front of you. This is the joy that photography and Leica cameras present me.
Photography is art of seeing. However, you cannot know everything that will emerge on the actual photos. Camera often brings you a good surprise. And I am quite happy with wonderful surprises that Leica M Monochrom brings.
The world of photography has dramatically expanded recently, but I love to pursue the “straight” photos. For raw files development, I use Lightroom and sometimes Silver Effex Pro. In either case, the process is to accentuate the impression I had at the time of shooting the image. Nothing to be added, nothing to be removed.
As for the lenses, for several months now I heavily use Summicron-M 50mm f/2. Because I take architectural photos for my work for many years, where I use wider lenses like 20-40 mm on my company’s DSLR camera, I was hesitant to use a 50mm prime lens. But now, with a 50mm Summicron, I find that my hesitation was useless. It turned out to be perfect for visual field for my work. I even feel that 50mm lens doesn’t let unnecessary things come into the field.
I still have a lot to explore. My journey with my M Monochrom will continue. Thank you very much Leica Camera Blog for offering me the opportunity to post to your blog.
About Shinji Aratani
Born in 1961. An amateur photographer living in Tokyo. I work for a Danish lighting company, where I have learned a lot about light. My favourite photographers include Keiichi Tahara, Masao Yamamoto, Bernard Plossu, Harry Callahan, and Albarran Cabrera.
To know more about Shinji, please visit his Tumblr blog.