Digital Leica with 35mm/f2.8 lens (6000 €)
I know. A Leica camera is a great camera, I think so myself. It’s been in the hands of great photographers since the beginning of the 20th century. It has captured men jumping over puddles of water, bearded revolutionaries and indians running down hills, faking their deaths. But no, that wasn’t the work of a camera, it was the work of those great photographers, holding the camera.
Have you even held a Leica? Tried it out? Well, why do you then believe that it is such a outstanding camera? The answer? Marketing. Even though a few of us would gain in some way by owning a Leica, the company managed to make all the rest of us believe that we MUST have that camera. By showing the photos of the old masters and letting us know that they were shot with a Leica, we start believing that it’s the only way to become as good. It is not.
Using a rangefinder though, is a different deal compared to a DSLR. It’s quicker, not as threatening as a larger camera, and there is no use thinking too much about exactly where the framing is because the lens won’t capture it exactly like that anyway. So buying a rangefinder is not a bad idea, I’m just saying that you don’t need to buy the f*cking Grail. The wine tastes just as good in a cheaper glass.
What to buy instead
- Start of with getting yourself a Fujifilm X100T, with a fixed 35mm on. 1300€
- A stack of Moleskine notepads. 5 might do it for a start and you can buy more along the way. 100€
- Buy a round the world ticket. That will set you back around 2500€ for the flight, and you´ll have 2000€ left for accommodation, in-country trips and most importantly - food! This is a trip that could easily last for 4 months.
Talk to everyone you meet along the way. Get invited to people's homes and parties, explore every path before you. Write it down in the Moleskin, take notes on the shots you take. Make sure you don’t have anything at home that demands your attention and stay focused on your task.
Why this makes you a better photographer than the Leica does
The iconic photographs that ”Leica” (no, the photographers holding the Leicas) captured was because they found the right moment, the right motif. And they did that because they went out looking for it.
Traveling also trains your people skills. How to talk to others, to become inspired by others. When you have taken enough photos of people you’ll stop thinking about it, it will become the action of intution. And when it begins happening automatically, you’ll never feel anxious about doing it.