Raiding the Archives 2: Leica Cherry

The negative sleeve I plucked at random from my archive this time around commands that I tell the the tale of my first Leica camera.

Back in late 2007 I was sharing an office at work with a gentleman whose work ethic was particularly poor. Typically, instead of work, he would spend his days researching another topic which started with the same three letters, but ended with ld of Warcraft.

One fine day I entered the office and noticed that instead of the typical World of Warcraft information being on his monitors, it was the current eBay listings for Leica cameras. Intrigued I asked “You looking to buy a Leica?” to which he replied that he wasn’t looking to buy, but was gauging prices to sell the M3 that his father had given him.

Game on.

Winter Motorcycle, 2007

At this point in my life, the closest I’d ever come to one of these supposedly magical cameras was when I crossed paths with a guy shooting with one four years earlier in Seaside, Oregon. It didn’t take me very long to talk him into letting me put a roll or two though it to, you know, make sure it was functionally sound before he sold it. I needed to at least get my hands on this camera to see what all the fuss was about. And maybe, just maybe, acquire it off him at a really sweet price.

A few days later he brought it to work and gave it to me for a few days. If any hardcore Leica collector had seen the condition of this camera, and that we were handling with without the finest cotton gloves, they probably would have started raging like a young John McEnroe. The condition of his father’s M3 was spectacular. Testimony to this was after we figured out that the shutter needed a tune up and the camera was sent to the well-known repair tech Youxin Ye. When Youxin received the camera, he e-mailed back basically saying “How much do you want so I can keep this camera?”

Given that someone who has had their hands on thousands of Leicas in his lifetime had just told him it was one of the best specimens he’d ever seen, I no longer believed I would be getting a sweet deal on it. However, just for a moment, I wondered if I could still procure a great price in exchange for silence on his lackluster work ethic? I decided not be that evil and bought a heavily used M3 off eBay instead for less than $400. I think he ended up selling the body to a local collector for about $1300, though I did manage to secure the 35mm Summaron and 135mm Elmar lenses he had at a very good price.

The negative sleeve I plucked at random was the first roll I shot while I had his minty M3 in my possession. Saturday, November 10th, 2007. A nice wintry day with heavy, wet snow falling gently from the sky. I met up with Whitney and we went for a little walk while I photographed things.

Same Pear Is A Slut, 2007
Lower Chester, 2007

Though the photos aren’t much in themselves, this was the the roll marks the turning point in my career where I started to take street photography very seriously. So far so good.

Category Archive Raiding  | Tags: Leica M3