• Kaisern Chen

Behind and in front of my camera

Updated: 1 day ago

A camera was once perceived as a magical and obscure device many believed it will capture and take away the soul of the person on the picture; as a photographer and an industrial designer, it is a very fascinated tool because at the instant of exposure everything was put to work to result in a picture. 

The camera has become much easier to use coming to the digital age and even more comfortable when basically all smartphones have at least one or two cameras.  

This blog is a collection of varies images I took with a person behind and in front of my camera. 

Young Kayan with a Leica MP!


Carol Alves, with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE

Marta Vorobiova, with Phase One XF IQ380 + Schneider Kreuznach 120mm LS f/4.0 Macro

Nina Laroque, with Leica M-P 240 Edition 100 + Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8

Viktoria Szalay, with Leica IIIg + Summaron f=3.5cm 1:3.5


A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.

~ Dorothea Lange




Tonya Vysotskaya, with Leica M-P 240 Safari + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH

Zlata Dagilis, with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE

Sorina Mihaela, with Leica M 246 Monochrom Edition Jim Marshall + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH



A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.

~ Edward Steichen





Goda Paulavičiūtė, with Hasselblad X1D + XCD 45/3.5

Kanjana Chaiwatanachai, with Leica M-P 240 Safari Edition + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH


An image captured on camera represents an individual record seen by the photographer's eyes.

~ Eraldo Banovac




Irina Kornia, with Leica M2 Button + Summicron-M 50/2


Erika Larissa Tang, with Leica M-P Titan + Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH


Daria Saburova, with Leica SL Typ 601 + Apo-Summicron-M 75/2 ASPH


Angela Hasler, with Leica M Monochrom 246 + Apochromat Kinoptik Paris 50mm F2 Focale


Aneta Oszust, with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.

~ Peter Adams




Tatiana Batir, with Leica M10 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Anna Sedykh, with Leica M-P Titan + Summilux-M 35/1.4 Titanium


Madeline Minkema, with Leica SL Typ 601 + Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90/2.8-4 ASPH


The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

~ Andy Warhol




Marta Vorobiova, with Leica M Monochrom 246 + Apo-Summicron-M 90/2 ASPH


Jenny García Vergara, with Hasselblad X1D50c + XCD 90/3.2


Kristina V. with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Varvara Zorina, with Leica IIIg + Summaron f=3.5cm 1:3.5


Elis Regina, with Leica M-P Titan + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE Titanium


Betina Canoza, with Leica MP à la carte + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH II

Leica MP - The best Leica camera ever made as far as traditional photography is concerned, IMHO. The original MP introduced in 2003, about 50 years after the Leica's M3 (1954). The MP stands for a rather bold claim "Mechanical Perfection" which 16 years later still stands strong and remains in production as of today (April 2019).


Some might argue that the newer M-A introduced in 2014 is the better example of a purer mechanical example than the original MP but except the slightly brighter rangefinder viewfinder by eliminating the part that is reflecting the metering diodes into the frame, all else are basically the same. My preference for original MP over M-A is that both are essentially a purely mechanical camera with the MP has the option of using a battery to power the meter or remove it, so it is no different than an M-A.


The MP, held in the hand of lovely Argentinean model Betina, is an à la carte edition of MP I commissioned Leica to custom-make for my birthday, black-paint MP with the removal of front and top engraving to make the camera looks as essential as it works.


The unmistakable acoustic signature of the shutter release of such purely mechanical camera immediately reveals the precision-engineered excellence of a photography tool that bears the claim of "Mechanical Perfection"!


More educational and interesting review by Erwin Puts. a fine gentleman just passed away in early 2021, his works will be remembered by many.



Katerina Gartell with Leica MP + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Ana G., with Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 + Apo-Summicron-M 75/2 ASPH


Diana with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


A photograph shouldn't just show you a person. It should also show you their soul.

~ Anthony T. Hincks




Sara Maricevic with Leica Q2


Victoria Pacheco with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Irina Kostina with Leica M-P 240 Safari + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH


Aigul Fazylova with Leica M10-D + Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH Titanium


Kate with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE

Leica M Edition 60 introduced initially at Photokina 2014 on the 60th anniversary of the legendary Leica M rangefinder system. The commemorative limited edition is a special version created by Audi Design that pays homage to the essence of photography and carries it back to its origins. It is one of my favorite M cameras for its clean and simplicity look as the first digital M camera without a rear screen. A camera I enjoy shooting very much until the introduction of Leica M10-D as my most often use Leica M camera. https://www.kaisernchen.com/post/leica-m10-d-diary



Malu Carvalho with Leica M10-D + Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH


Diana Hamed with Leica M-P Titan + Apo-Summicron-M 90/2 ASPH, July 2020


Amanda Gabriele de Oliveira with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH.


Sylvia Madej with Leica M5 + Summicron 50mm F2.0

Leica M5 is the only Leica M camera I owned but never make any shot with. It is a very well built camera and the last Leica M camera entirely made in Germany by hand using the traditional adjust and fit method. It is bigger and heavier than the regular film M cameras and with a slightly different design that many regarded less elegant which I agree. Leica was in cross-road again to try to give the M5 as many improvements as possible over M4 back in 1971 when M5 was introduced.


It was not a success camera for Leica although it is technically one of the best Leica M ever made.


It is life.



Aleks Love with Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 + Apo-Summicron-M 75/2 ASPH


Libby Jennings with Leica M10-D + Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH Titanium, Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand


Ivanka Ungarová with Hasselblad X1D 50C + XCD 45/3.5

No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.

~ Seymour Parrish



Sorina Mihaela with Leica M10 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Liza Kaylee with Leica M10-D + Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM


Valerie Fedorenko with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Daria Kirillova with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH. FLE Edition 60


Olga Kultunova with Leica IIIf + Elmar f=5cm 1:3.5

It's one thing to take a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are. ~ Paul Caponigro



Carol Alves, with Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 Jim Marshall Edition + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH

The M Monochrom model Typ 246 Jim Marshall Edition is one of the most recognizable M cameras by implementing a special "Laiton" finish which provides a unique matt finish each with one of a kind appearance from the individual hand-rubbing process. The DNG file from the MM246 provides extra depth of resolution and tonal transition to standard RGB based sensor (Bayer to RGB demosaicing) therefore eliminating the pattern and color noise. It is also unique in its capability of real monochrome video recording. It is one of my favorite Leica M cameras.


Vika Kraynyukova, with Leica M-P Titan + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE Titan


Tereza Jelínková with Leica M-P 240 Edition 100 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Anastasia Maslova with Leica Q2


Goda Paulavičiūtė with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Victoria Costello and Virginia Costello, the twin sisters from Argentina, with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE Edition 60


Sabrina Baycroft with Leica Q2

I believe in living with the camera, and not using the camera.

~ Dotothea Lange



Lera Ryzhova with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Anastasiia Burdak with Leica Q2


Alisa Ratushniak with Leica M10-D + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH


Steve McCurry with the prototype Leica SL2 + Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90/2.8-4 ASPH, Chongwu, Hui'An, Quanzhou, Fujian, China August 31, 2019

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.

~ Steve McCurry



Sabrina Baycroft with Sigma fp + 45/2.8 DG DN Contemporary


Aneta Oszust with Leica IIIf + Elmar F=5cm 1:3.5 with E. Leitz Wetzlar VIOOH Universal Rangerfinder Viewfinder 35-135mm #5808


Katarina Gartell with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Julie Rose Brisson with Leica M-P 240 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH


Victoria Pacheco with Leica MP A-La-Carte + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.

~ Ralph Hattersley



Virginia Costello with Hasselblad X1D II 50c + XCD 90/3.2


Irina Kornia with Leica M2 + Summarit f=5cm 1:1.5


Danielė Žibūdaitė, with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH


Izem Yilmaz with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Por, Chollarun Kittiwan with Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wetzlar Edition + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH


Katarina Gartell "Private Moment" with Leica M10 Monochrom + Voigtländer APO-LANTHAR 50/2 ASPH VM

Maria Klepikova selfie with the 1954 Leica IIIf RD, a camera two generations camera older than Maria, is one of the oldest Leica in my collection. The original Leica IIIf introduced in time for Christmas 1950 matches the red color of the bodysuit nicely. The old camera pairs with Maria and the Andy Warhol space theme at the Fotoclub Bangkok very well and thanks Maria's beautiful pose to connect all the elements that work well as a picture.


Maria Klepikova "Space-time Travel" with Leica IIIf + Elmar F=5cm 1:3.5 with E. Leitz Wetzlar VIOOH Universal Rangerfinder Viewfinder 35-135mm #5808


Eris Kim with Leica M Edition 60 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Olga Svyryda with Hasselblad X1D-50C + XCD 45/3.5


Elena Shargina with Leica M10-D + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH

Photography is the art of making memories tangible.

~ Destin Sparks



My wife, Kanjana Chaiwatanachai with her Leica MP240 Safari Edition + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH

My Leica M10 Monochrom in the hand of the lovely Thai dancer, Fai Panasorn Khaophong - the signature of classical Thai dancers (Ramthai) long and bend fingers.


Fai, Panasorn Khaophong with Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wetzlar Edition + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH


Katarina Gartell with Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 110/2 R LM WR

Tereza Jelínková with Leica MM246 + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH

Sara Maricevic with Leica Q2

Liza Kalylee with Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wezlar Edition + Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH

Kanjana Chaiwatanachai with her Leica MP240 Safari Edition + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Maria Klepikova with Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wetzlar Edition + Voigtländer 50mm f/1: 2.0 APO-Lanthar aspherical VM


MP - The mechanical perfection


It is probably safe to assume most Leica users today shoot digital Leica primarily, and maybe most of them started with a digital Leica. It is also safe to think that most Leica users have a particular desire for owning vintage Leica film cameras whether or not to use them.


Since 1925 Leica has introduced tens of different serial models that each photographer has his favorite, prefer one over another. However, the Leica MP is always high on the wish list as it is a purely mechanical camera with the option of electronic TTL metering when installing a battery. It has remained in production since its introduction in 2003 to the present day. Leica gave the MP the claim "Mechanical Perfection"; bold, but few would disagree.


It is one of the hallmarks of mechanical instruments. Hundreds of parts synchronize rhythmically at a shutter press; such tactile response bonds the users a deep connection to the camera, almost an addiction.


Leica MP is one of my favorite Leica; even though I don't use it often anymore, I still keep a few of them, such as the Hammertone MP LHSA Edition and the a-la-carte MP held by the lovely Daria in this picture.


The MP is the kind of camera that you know will undoubtedly outlast you once you have one in your hand.



Daria Sorokina behind my a la carte Leica MP + Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH, captured with Leica M10-D + Macro-Elmar-M 90/4


Valentina Kolot with Leica Q Titanium, captured with Leica M10 + Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH FLE


Pattaraporn Pratumfang with her Nikon FM2, captured with Leica M10 MONOCHROM + Voigtländer 50mm / 1: 2.0 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM

System cameras are among those few objects where brand loyalty is best exemplified in modern times. The logic behind such a phenomenon is probably the system camera is a building-up process, and users are locked within the brand ecosystem, making switching brands harder as the system grows. The debates of system superiority follow suit among all levels of users, on all things related to the gears they are defending, while photography is often ignored.


However, there are exceptions.


Nikon FM2 is one such example.


Nikon FM2 rapidly gained trust and popularity among professionals and advanced photographers since its release in 1982 and established its iconic camera status over time, almost without dispute.


I used to have three FM2 series cameras, two black FM2 with MD-12 winder to use along with my F3 in the '80s and '90s, and later added the Titanium FM2T simply for the sack of possession.


It is a camera that most photographers want, regardless of the brand of camera they use.




Natthida Duangjampa behind Hansa Canon

The Hansa Canon in Miss Natthida Duangjampa's hand is a scaled model I bought in 2012, about a decade ago, as a release to celebrate the 75 anniversary of the famous Canon.

The Seiki Kōgaku Kenkyūjo (精機光学研究所, or Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory), Tokyo, Janapn, manufactured the original camera that would eventually become Canon. The lens attached to the original Hansa Canon was a Nippon Kōgaku 日本光学 Nikkor f:3.5 5cm.

It was the time the Japanese industry followed the jikyu jisoku “自給自足” - self-sufficiency goal for manufacturing independence to pave the road to building the Japanese Empire.

Japanese optical and camera industry benefitted from recruited German scientists following World War I, which ended with Germany's economy destroyed and many people out of work. Total of eight German engineers came to work for Nippon Kōgaku in 1921, with families which housing and whatever needed to uproot their lives in Japan. Heinrich Acht and Professor Max Lange were among them and were responsible for product design and engineering and optical design, respectively. Eventually, the Japanese camera and optical industry infused with the German gene that later enabled them to become a rivalry to top German companies like Zeiss, Leitz, and Schneider. Now they are the dominant force and the leader on all fronts.

The Canon EOS digital camera was my primary 24X36mm system back in 2012 when I bought this model Hansa Canon. It is not the case today. I have been using various and multiple system cameras for decades. I stay with the logic of what works best.



Tatiana Larionova with my Leica MM246 + Apo-Summicron-M 75/2 ASPH

Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 was the second Leica M camera with the proprietary Monochrom CMOS sensor after the original Leica M Monochrom (CCD) and before the M10 Monochrom. I am lucky enough to have all the Monochrom models and enjoy shooting with them. The MM246 remains the only Leica Monochrom capable of recording real monochrome video, albeit at a modest 1080p at 30fps.


The Leica Monochrom cameras are desirable and effective tools for creat high-quality monochrome images; however, cameras with color sensors are also very competitive and sometimes more flexible choices for monochrome images using software conversion.


By statistics, most of my monochrome images were created through the conversion of color files, albeit I own all three generations of Leica Monochrom cameras. It is not a testimony that I value color cameras over Monochrom models for black and white images, while I do believe color cameras are competitive tools with flexibility. Leave the camera alone; let the picture speaks.



Anastasia Maslova with Hasselblad X2D 100C + XCD 45/3.5

Katarina Gartell with Hasselblad X2D 100C + XCD 55/2.5V

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