Photos & Projects

One camera, four conversations – Pieter Geloen

December 23, 2015

The man with his cigarette I met when I asked him if there was some nice scenery to take a picture of (I was in a town I never was before) He told me there wasn’t really anything interesting to shoot, and looked at the camera. ‘Nice little thing’ he said while pointing at the camera. We started to talk about how things nowadays aren’t build as good as back in the day. While we talked I asked him if I could take a picture with ‘this nicely build little thing’. ‘Sure’ he said, and stuck his cigarette in the air and smiled. After that we each continued our way.


The portrait of the man with white/grey hair was taken during a similar meeting. I was taking a morning walk around a pond in the neighborhood here and taking pictures. This man was watching me from a distance as I was shooting pictures.

He approached me and asked me if the pictures looked good. I told him this was an analog camera, and as I showed him the camera he started smiling. ‘I remember the days we took pictures on film rolls!’ He told me he had albums full and found it sad that his grandchildren weren’t really able to show him their pictures without really feeling the prints ‘Always on behind their phones and screens, never cuddled together in the sofa looking through a photobook’ Once again I asked if I could take a picture, and sure enough he had no problem with it.


As we were talking, this man with his dog came around, apparently they knew each other and the old man told the ‘dogman’ (let’s call him this to keep it clear who is who) ‘Look at this guy’s camera, now that is a real camera, not like those electronic toys’ We started talking again, and I learned that the dog wasn’t his own dog, but from his son. He’s the one that always walks the dog, as his son was a busy man. Even though he had the leash with him, he never had to use it, the dog knew the route perfectly. As we were talking I just went ahead an took this picture. ‘I’m going to be a celebrity’ he chuckled. We talked some more and each went our way.


The last picture was taken at a flea market. My girlfriend and I were taking a break from walking at a café and two men came to sit at the table next of us. One of them was this heavy guy. He was looking into the distance, and I snapped this picture of him. He noticed it and started laughing and asked if he was that good looking. I told him I liked the look on his face while he was sitting there. He asked if we had bought something at the market and we talked for a while. When we finished our drink he wished us good luck to find some interesting stuff at the flea market.

All these pictures have something in common: the camera or picture started a conversation with someone I would’ve never talked to if it weren’t for the camera. And as I went trough my album recently, these four came forward to me as they where taken after I talked with the person for a while. All four of these men I came across while walking with my Leica IIIc.And that’s what I like in this camera. It isn’t big, it doesn’t scare people if you pull it out. It looks good, even if they are spooked that you are taking their picture, they see the camera and are intrigued by it’s design. The camera is able to start a conversation, and that is something not all camera’s are able to do.

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  • Reply
    Hamish Gill
    December 23, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for getting in touch with this Pieter! I get similar responses to my Leica iiia as it goes!

  • Reply
    Geloen Pieter
    December 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for the opportunity Hamish! These cameras aren’t just good for taking pictures, they can serve for so much more.


    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 23, 2015 at 11:09 am

      I’d definitely agree with that!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Somewhat ironically, you dont mention the camera do you?

    • Reply
      Geloen Pieter
      December 23, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I am aware I’m not mentioning the camera, as this was first set out to be a piece of a larger article about LTM cameras. So I was assuming the other pieces of that larger article was going to mention the different LTM cameras, I just focused on one aspect of my IIIc. And that aspect was that it is a great conversation starter, so that’s what I wrote about.
      But as this text was a bit to much to cut up and put in a larger article, it was kept as one.

      • Reply
        December 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

        Cool, I thought it might be from Hamish’s comment, and of course revealing the camera (which may or may not be a pertinent point) is up to you.
        I just thought it was a little ironic given the articles title.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      The camera is mentioned.

      Because of how he sent me the content, the context was wrong with the camera mentioned it at the beginning. I just moved the text around a bit and put the mention of it at the end.

      • Reply
        December 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        Fair enough, I was being blind I think. Couldn’t see it for looking.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    100% true. I have had identical experiences shooting with film cameras in crowds of people, I once had a guy follow me through a botanic garden asking questions around every turn. It was almost bewildering to him that anyone would still use ‘old cameras’ as he put it. (I was using a Mamiya C330)

  • Reply
    May 31, 2019 at 11:37 am

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