With Leaving Dakota I wanted to do a series of images with the most modest camera setup I could find, I wanted it to be fun to do,
and I wanted it to be engaging and beautiful.
In September of 2010 I got it in my head that I wanted a Leica Digilux -- a digital point and shoot camera produced in low numbers between August and December of 1998. It was beautiful and strange and, when it came out, expensive and I couldn't afford one. Fast forward a dozen years and its 1.3 megapixel image is bested by every cell phone and disposable camera available. The Digilux had been forgotten -- but not by me. Of the 6,000 made I doubted that any were still actively taking photos, but they'd been relegated not to desk drawers, as happens with other digital cameras, -- these were Leicas -- they were lovingly replaced in their orignal packaging with every cable and manual they shipped with and placed in closets, and there they became frozen in time.
There are two things that lead me to wanting to bring one of these cryonauts back to life. One is that I'm distressed when photographers preface their work by blaming their lack of equipment, and secondly, I believe in the magic of talismans -- that your mind can imbue an object with power and posession of that object can then churn the dark places in-between thoughts, dislodging the little bits hidden within.
For me, Leica's have always had that magic -- If I have a Leica, then my photos must be good goes the thinking. Unfortunately, a lot of people stop there and end up with shelves filled with Leica's and no photos to show for it -- and therein lies the crux of it -- you have the talisman, but you still need to fight the dragon.
I believe that one good way to get something done is to just put a few creative people together in a room with a box of unrelated junk and see what happens. So I called a bunch of actor friends who brought props and ideas and the phone numbers of people who lived nearby and over Thanksgiving weekend 2010, we shot Leaving Dakota.
Thanks for looking.
Philadelphia -- December 2010