The Mysterious Case of the Returning Leica

In November 2016, I was in a transitional part of my life (I still am) and was considering selling my Leica M2 and switching to a digital Ricoh GR. I listed the camera on several facebook camera trading groups and the Australian/UK craigslist alternative gumtree. Long story short, I was scammed whilst trying to sell it.

The signs were obvious now looking back but I was desperate and really needed to believe what I was being told was true. I received an sms initially suggesting to keep in contact with a buyer via email. I then received an email that night saying that the buyer was an Oceanographer and that they were in contact with me via a satellite internet connection from a research ship. A story like this surely would have tipped off anyone if not for the fact that an uncle of mine has in fact worked on a marine research ship. I was sent fake paypal statements via email, and so I stupidly sent the camera to China — of all places. Days went by and the money never came. I only realised it was a scam when I received an email from paypal, supposedly that there was an error in their system and I was overpaid by a thousand dollars and that I should wire another thousand to the buyer before receiving any of the money.

After grieving over the fact that I had lost the camera, I found myself in a pretty dire financial position and unable to pursue an internship position in Jakarta and potentially move to Melbourne sooner. I eventually made it out over to Melbourne, and since arriving I sold my Ricoh and then here I was, a photographer in Melbourne with no camera (shout out to Weng Hong for lending me his Yashica 35 CCN 🙌). Then suddenly out of the blue in March 2017 (4 months since I thought I had lost the leica) it reappeared in Perth. From there, I got it sent over here to Melbourne (thanks to my Aunt Arshi 🙏).

I once said that me and the M2 didn’t really bond, perhaps trying to mask the hurt of the fact that I had lost it. But clearly I wasn’t thinking straight as it’s a much more beautiful camera than I remember. After receiving it again on Tuesday, I shot a roll of Agfa Vista 400 (essentially fuji superia 400) and have had some low res scans of the images but even these are wonderful.

I have previously written about abandoning film in favour of digital here, and whilst I still feel the ricoh gr is an incredibly amazing little camera, the issues of sensor dust kept plaguing the one I had. The GR belonging to my friend Justin also died out of the blue (a camera he bought under my own suggestion). All of these issues suggest to me that it is just not a robust system especially if you are shooting everyday, this particular M2 is over 50 years old and I guess here’s hoping for another 50. I’ll take it a sign from the universe that I’m basically supposed to be shooting film. Below is some other colour photos I took before losing it last year.

If there is a lesson to be learnt, is that to be more patient when trading and selling your gear online. There could be a whole array of reasons why the camera came back (most likely perhaps that the thousand dollar transfer was the real scam and the address in China was fake), yet another thing I took back is that I guess sometimes miracles do happen and that film really does never die.

Originally posted on Medium on 8 March 2017, also published on Petapixel.

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