Ross Evertson, Leica M6 Rangefinder – Item Number One

Ross Evertson, Leica M6 Rangefinder – Item Number One

A recent photo taken on Ross's Leica.

Name, Age, and Occupation?

Ross Evertson, 36, Artist & Freelance Creative Director.

What is the thing you have owned the longest?

A Leica M6 Classic.

How long have you had it?

Since 2002. Although there was a low moment when I traded her away. She flew back home after a year, though.

How did you come to possess it?

I found her, gently used, on the Leica/etc. message board Range Finder Forum. It was my first year in college, and I wanted to upgrade from whatever plastic fantastic prosumer Nikon I had back then. I remember catching a lot of flak from my fellow students about spending “so much money” on a 35mm (maybe 1100 bucks?) and now we all buy 3k+ digital bodies every couple years.

Have you made any customizations, modifications, or repairs?

She’s been warmed over a few times, but hasn’t needed any serious work. I’ve used a range of lenses with it over the years, from a 28mm Summicron Asph to a Minolta 90, but I currently have the V4 35mm Summicron and a current 50mm cron. As long as those keep working I probably won’t ever get another lens, these two are the right two.

When was the last time you used it?

This morning. The dog was being cute enough that I wanted to spend money documenting it.

Why have you kept it so long?

The form and function of an M6 (or rangefinders in general) has a very specific appeal and purpose. If you get it and/or it suits your needs, there is nothing else. I started making photographs when film was the only option, and when that’s the case you spend a lot of time getting to understand and trust your equipment. Eventually it adopts a kind of aura, when you instinctively understand what lens and film combination is going to give you what result.

For better or worse, Leica rangefinders are legendary. There is a loaded history and fetishization of these cameras, for good reason…reportage/journalism/documentary work. They’ve always been coveted for the way they feel and function. While I appreciate that aspect of its nature, over the years it’s become the most reliable, comforting image making tool I own. No matter what else is in the camera bag, there is always room for the M6 and couple lenses.

If you were offered a brand new version in exchange for your item, would you take it?

If only because I understand that these things don’t live forever, and at some point it might be hard to keep a (as of now) 30 year old body alive.

The Leica M6 is no longer available, but you can find it often on eBay. You can find Ross and his work on Instagram @thestudioitself.