Sunday, 25 April 2010



In the early seventies I bought a Leica M4 and two lenses, a 35mm f: 2 Summicrom and a 90 mm f: 2.8 Elmarit. I used her to photograph some of the student revolts in the last stage of the Franco regime as one, at night, in Barcelona’s Gracia quarter, that ended with the launch of Molotov cocktails. Afterwards I ran into a police car and a pair of 091 agents chased me to the race through the narrow streets of Gracia. I heard a couple of shots, but I didn’t turn to see if I they were aimed to the sky or to my body. At that time I played as a right wing in the School of Journalism’s football team and I was very, very, fast. The police didn’t catch me.

In the summer of 1973 I took the Leica to Derry, on my first trip to Ulster. Also had a Nikkormat, a Nikkor 35 mm f: 2 and a 135 mm f: 2.8 Nikkor. I needed to expand my photo equipment (at that time you needed a body to shot black and white ( Kodak Tri X) and another one for colour slides) and I could not maintain, and expand, the two systems, so I sold the Leica equipment to a friend who was an Architecture student, Miquel Corominas, for 25,000 pesetas. I always regretted it.

With the money from the sale I bought a Nikon F and with the two bodies I photographed the 1974 Portuguese Revolution in colour and black and white.
Over time I expanded my Nikon equipment but I kept missing the beauty of the Leica, her tact and the almost inexistent noise when I pressed the shutter. It was as if I had lost a love and could never forget it.
The years went by and, at last, I bought, second hand, a Leica M2-equipped with a 35mm Summilux f: 1.4. I didn’t take too many photos, it is not easy to work with Leica, but it was wonderful to feel her again in my hands. Never again would get rid of her.

With Leica M2 I photographed the miners, on strike, inside Cala mine, at 1 / 8 of a second, lens fully opened.

It also portrayed with her, 1 / 15 f: 2, Tri X pushed to 6,400 ASA, the woman who rummaged in bins on the Barcelona’s Ramblas on Christmas night.

I photographed with her, in Madrid, the Spanish general elections in 1982, together with José Azel and Magnum’s Jean Gaumy. We all used reflex but also carried our precious Leicas. "Working with Leica is like fishing whith fly," said Jean Gaummy who is a fishing fan. I do not know anything about fishing, but I thought it should be the ultimate.

Every time I use it her I think is the camera that also used Capa, Cartier-Bresson, William Klein and Robert Frank, and closer, Xavier Miserachs and Joan Colom.
I must confess it, Leica is a woman (the name says it) and most photographers are madly in love with her. If not, ask Larry Towell who even composed a song for her. A statement of love, isn’t it’?

No comments:

Post a Comment