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Featured #2: Vincent van Kleef and his Leica M9

In this new series I’d like to give someone else the opportunity to talk about Leica photography. Interested? Send me an email.

Today, my friend Vincent van Kleef.

1) Can you tell a bit about your background (as a photographer)?

‘I’ve been into photography from my teens on. I am very visually orientated and love to transfer what I see into a photograph. Although I do an assignment now and then, I don’t consider myself a professional photographer. I still shoot analogue too, in the 35 mm and medium format.’

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2) How did you get into the Leica system?

‘Starting with borrowing a SLR from an aunt, I got to owning my first SLR, a Minolta X-700, a Canon DSLR to eventually a Leica. When I got older and got the funds to actually own a Leica, I decided to take the leap and do the hefty investment in the M system. Why I’ve never looked back I have expressed many times in my blog: I try not to identify too much with the gear I use, but having said that…..I actually do. I do but more in the sense that this type of camera make me feel they are my soul mates. Not to state something pompously, but the less is more approach of the Leica brand really resonates with me. They really are an extension of my eyes, heart and soul. Stripping the camera of all of the non-essentials enables me to focus (no pun intended) on the key points of my photography: seeing and capturing.’

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3) Which camera and lenses do you have?

‘I still own my M8 which I truly adore (check it out here ) and a M9. I have sold the 28 mm Summicron lens and the 21 mm Voigtlander in order to afford the M9. The M9 is coupled 80-90% of the time with the wonderful 50mm Summilux lens. I have added a 28mm Zeiss and 75mm Voigtlander to my collection as well.’

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4) What kind of pictures do you take and why?

‘Mostly documentary style and portraits, which is a natural expression of me being a photographer, using only the available light. A soon as you have mastered focusing with a rangefinder, you are actually able to shoot pictures which are considered more ‘DSLR-like’ too, like sports and concerts. When light conditions are challenging, I shoot fully manually. Sometimes this results in a photograph which is technically a failure, but actually turns out to be great as the blue tinted picture of the guitarist Joe Satriani shows. It prompted the guitarist to feature the photo on his site stating that this photo strongly resonated with his album “Shockwave Supernova”.’

Thanks Vincent! Check out his work here, here and here.

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