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Week 8 | 52 Rolls in 52 Weeks

Week 8 | 52 Rolls in 52 Weeks

Portland, OR

I finally did it. I acquired a Leica. While in Portland to do a couple of photo shoots, I stopped by Pro Photo Supply to pick up some Portra 160 and T-Max 100 when I stumbled across a Leica M6 in great condition. I picked it up and immediately learned what all the fuss is about in a well-made, all-mechanical Leica. After 24 hours of deliberating whether this camera was more important than eating, I decided that I could do the ramen thing for a month to make of for it. It was definitely worth it.

Here are some of the black and white images I shot with it later that day when I loaded it up with some classic Ilford HP5 film.


I loved the "Not for Sale" sign in the windshield of this classic. I appreciated the bold statement. I immediately thought of forced labor, immigration reform, and human trafficking and how this message can be universally applied. Image shot with Leica M6 + Ilford HP5 developed in Kodak HC-110.

The main reason for my trip to Portland was to photograph Hava Dennenberg to create some images for her upcoming business Farmhouse 18. More information on that to follow. Here is Hava trying out a walnut that has just fallen to the ground. Image shot with Leica M6 + Ilford HP5 developed in Kodak HC-110.

I just simply loved this scene. It's not often we get this kind of sun coming through the branches of trees in this part of the Pacific Northwest. Image shot with Leica M6 + Ilford HP5 at 50mm and developed in Kodak HC-110.

This is one of my favorite photographs from that day. Shot with my trusty Mamiya RB67 loaded with Kodak Ektar 100 with 127mm lens.

Self Portrait

I took a little extra time with this blog post. Rather than write it all in one sitting, I‘ve spent hours in reflection and countless others in thought over the image that will serve as its subject. Now, as I put the pen to paper (I literally hand wrote this post before publishing it here), John Coltrane’s “I’m Old Fashioned” is playing on the turntable. I took an extra few minutes and recorded the song directly from that turntable and have converted it to MP3 below. As I venture into this post, I invite you to press play and experience this moment with me—complete with record pops and whispers. If you might, take a few moments to take a look at the photograph and then read the following reflection.

Self Portrait, Photo by Michael B. Maine

A few weeks ago I decided to take a day and walk around Vashon Island. Months prior I was taking a stroll over there and noticed an abandoned house marked with a sign declaring it unsafe and uninhabitable. It struck me as ironic that the human-made structure was decaying and labeled unsafe amidst the ever-renewing trees, grass, water, and the rest of the natural world surrounding it. To me, the house appears to be at peace, almost desiring to return to a state where it is the provider of life once again. At first sight I knew I had to make time at some point to photograph that scene. Making that photograph was a secondary goal of this later trip. The first was to enjoy a peaceful day away from the computer.

Although I did capture the house scene it was the image above that I feel I was destined to find. When I got home that night I posted the picture on Facebook with the title “Self Portrait” and was quickly asked by several people why I named it that. After staring at the print and reflecting at length, this is what the photograph means to me:

I feel this image accurately describes my presence in this world. More than a mere reflection in the glass, everything in this photo tells a piece of my story. Firstly, everything is apparent, but nothing is fully resolved and comprehensible. Just as you can tell the dark blob of a human figure is my reflection, the distortion and lack of detail keep you from  being completely  sure who or what it is. You know that is a newspaper, but what does it say? You can stand right in front of it, but even under close analysis you can only make out a few key pieces of information. I think those who know me might find that a fairly clear depiction—every now and then you’ll get a glimpse of the person underneath. But more often than not, you’re left without the entire story. Authentic, yet not fully understood. I’m working on that—working on allowing more of myself to be read.

Notice the blackberry stem. It is neither attached to the ground nor is it draped from the top. However, it is present. The decaying car represents the death of my old hopes and dreams while the grass represents the emergence of new ones. No longer do I find myself with grandiose dreams of succeeding in the corporate structures as it exists today, but rather finding creative ways to build the organizations of the future—the ones that exist with purpose beyond the bottom line. Even beyond the triple bottom line.

I could continue deconstructing this image further, but I’d like to leave at least some of it to your own interpretation. What do you see in it? What does it mean to you?