Today is the 10th anniversary of the Leica M9, my digital camera of choice for the last almost-6 years (January 2014). I got a little nostalgic today thinking about the many places it’s been with me and what it’s seen. I have shot about 13,000 images with my M9. I found my perfect lens (the Summilux 50mm 1.4) which I never took off again. I documented every single day of my life with it in 2016 during my 365 project. My M9 captured the portraits of strangers and loved ones, it chronicled beginnings and endings. It came with me hiking in the wilderness, and walked the streets with me of the world’s largest cities. I experimented with all sorts of light, subject matter, and editing styles until I found what made it sing to me. It braved hurricanes and blizzards, it traveled through countless x ray machines and was thrown into tote bags and handbags and many different camera bags. It fell off a chair once and crashed on a tile floor - I have a dent in my lens hood to prove it. I cursed at the write speeds, and I cried over the sensor replacement because I was so afraid it would lose its soul (it didn’t).
No other camera can render light and color like the M9 if you shoot it the way it likes to be shot. But it requires a lot of persistence to understand what it likes. You have to treat it like a being with its own mind. If your minds match, it can be a magical partnership.
This camera has been my sidekick as I journeyed to find my artistic voice in photography. It was the camera that was with me when I disconnected from “likes” and found the only “like” that mattered was my own. It’s not only given me the best images I’ve ever made, it’s become an indelible part of how I see. How my M9 translates the world is the language I’ve come to speak with my pictures. The soul of this camera has become a mirror of my own.