Claire Yaffa: Leica V-Lux 3, Chapter Three

Claire Yaffa took her first photograph 45 years ago when her son was 18 months old and it was the beginning of her journey, first as a mother, then as a photographer. She has worked extensively for The New York Times and Associated Press. Her photographs have appeared in countless influential publications and have been exhibited at major venues in the US and around the world.

Leica Notebook, Chapter Three

Noticing tulips sans water, I was reminded of Kertesz’s famous photograph of his tulips. As I photographed with the V-Lux 3 my vision changed as I looked at the screen and then switched to the viewfinder, going back and forth changing between viewfinder and screen, closeup and full photographs. The magical experience for me when I photograph is how my vision changes and I am almost in a trance as I discover and go from one image to the other. Even if I do not get the original photo I set out to capture, the experience is so wonderful for me to completely lose oneself in seeing, feeling and getting close to what you want to say. It is almost like a religious experience being transported beyond what your original intentions are.

My surprise, the next day, early morning to see the “Kertesz” tulips not dying anymore! There they were, tall and beautiful, revived during night by the water given to them. This was also remarkable to witness and document with another photograph as the sun bathed them with light.

I used the V-Lux 3 to take these photos. What I like about the V-Lux 3 is holding it with its nice grip as part of the camera, the softness of sound as you press the shutter, the focal length is amazing as you can see from the photos taken from my house to closeups of the lake and snow. It’s a compact camera that’s very easy to use, but with sophisticated touches: the facility to focus and be ready for the next photograph, the ease of using flash in low light situations, the ability to photograph in low light, ability to use JPEG and RAW and movie options. As I use the camera, I am sure I will discover many more positive features and will include them in my next chapter.

Sitting at my desk in my studio, objects sitting on my shelves darkened with the coming of night as I looked outside to the lake. Through the lens, they brightened and became as important to me as when I first discovered them and made them a part of me.

Hearts have always been a passion for me and the reflection of hearts in the window made me very happy, as did the blanket on the back of the Eames chair that my mother and son made and put together when he was growing up.

I began looking around my studio and wanted to share the images I saw: my husband’s tennis sneakers on the steps beneath my photographs of the Masters of Photography, the work table where my grandchildren create their art and the ball they play with near my cases of photographs.

In my darkroom I was able to photograph without flash, as I did in the studio.

The black and white photograph of the lake is about 300 feet from my studio window and the close up is sharp and precise, as I saw it. The new Leica V-lux 3 did not disappoint me. My selection of photographs are to try to share with you its versatility.

So we continue. Are we our own camera? Is it our past and present which enables us to see, to feel, to react to something which stirs a memory or feeling and we say “Yes. Here it is. I must try to capture what I am feeling and seeing.” Barton Silverman, an outstanding  sports photographer for the New York Times, took an incredible photograph of people photographing the celebration parade of the Giants winning the Super Bowl. I do not think, there was anyone in the audience watching the parade who did not have a camera to capture this extraordinary event. We have all become photographers as technology has given people who have not studied or spent years as a photographer the ability to photograph. We have always tried to photograph a celebratory event, but now, life is captured by the many who live it.

-Claire Yaffa

You can also see more of Claire’s work on her website, www.claireyaffa.com.