I have used this little Leica for a couple of years having bought it 2nd hand during the Lock-downs. The original lens was the Elmar 5cm f3.5, the type that sits inside the camera body and you pull out when taking photographs. This lens was not terrible, but lacked the contrast I expect from a Leica camera and, having read about photographers from back in the day who substituted it for a Canon lens, I decided to do the same. This is now the lens that I use, with better results, in my opinion. I decided to use Kentmere film simply to try it out and was surprised at the result in a number of ways.
I suppose the first question is, why would anyone want to use the Kodak Cresta II for serious photography – it’s a joke, right? Well, you might say the same about the Holga or pinhole cameras, but each of these produce unique images that are different and vaguely nostalgic; so it is with the Cresta II.
I got back into film photography at the start of the first Lockdown, buying a £15.00 folding camera and a roll of HP5 and fell in love with a process I hadn’t used for more than 20 years. Taking photographs of near empty streets while on local walks I learnt to regard myself as an urban landscape photographer, a term I discovered from watching a documentary film on Don McCullin who briefly describes the term. Since that time, I have collected a range of film cameras across most formats and photograph areas predominantly around the city of Plymouth, where I happen to live. Each of the chosen areas forms a project lasting a few weeks up to several months while I drill down into what I regard as the essence of the place I’m working on. Each project, generally starts in the same way, with short, exploratory walks and a basic camera set to aperture priority.