Photography is about having a point of view. It's about making creative, artistic decisions and not purchasing decisions, as the photographic internet is so fond of encouraging us to believe. And the fixed 28mm lens of the Leica Q dictates that somewhat. So is it restrictive? Well I don't find it so, in fact as with all single fixed lens combinations I take out to create images with, I find it liberating. Why so?
As I've written many times before, It depends whether you think images are taken or made. Is it our function as photographers to merely record what is in front of our eyes, or is it to use those eyes to fashion a photograph out of that reality, a two-dimensional representation that is more than the sum of it's parts? By making compositional choices, changing colour, contrast and cropping we 'own the image' and move from mere recorders to artists. And while that may seem somewhat overblown for many of the images we take, if that's not what we intend, then we might as well let our cameras make all the decisions and let apps. like Google Photos edit everything for us. But then where does that 'ownership' of our images lie if we allow that? And under what circumstances is that acceptable? Because even the simplest, most prosaic images we create should have that point of view, even if it's as banal as 'Look what I saw today.' Because the decisions of what, where and when we photograph are always ours, and it's that that makes them unique and ours and yes, art.
And the lens choices we make, contribute to that. By choosing to create images with just one focal length we have already made a creative decision and if we are confident in that choice, then we have already taken the first step in what is hopefully a rewarding and purposeful process. Plus, it's always been my belief that firstly I'm in charge of the picture creating process and secondly I won't let past habits and my previous ways of working inhibit any future decisions I might make. Too many photographers tell themselves (and often everybody else) that they like to work in a certain way, with certain gear and take a certain kind of picture. But one of the nice things about being a stock photographer is that I can ignore all that and go in whatever direction i like, take whatever pictures I like and use whatever gear I like. And since I happen to really like using the Leica Q and because it creates files of incredible quality, I'm quite happy (and looking forward to) entering a period where I'm going to be shooting with a fixed 28mm lens predominantly for a while, which is something I've never done before.
Being a musician as well as a photographer, I use a lot of musical analogies and when I compose, arrange, play and record music. I like to use different instrumental colours and voicings, as do many other composers, arrangers, players and producers. So it's no big deal for me as a photographer to do the same. Since the ability to experiment in any artistic endeavour is based on the confidence to go out and deliver, no matter what new ways of working are explored, as I'm not lacking in that due to my ability to keep selling images, I don't feel uncomfortable or restricted by just using that one lens. In fact it's a challenge I appreciate and relish.
Now obviously people can work in the ways they want and if people feel uneasy about changing the way they take pictures, what they take pictures of and what they use to do both of those activities with, then that's their decision. The fact that I don't feel uneasy doesn't make me 'artistically superior,' it just means that I have my own perspective on what I do. And in fact the different perspective from the Leica Q (Typ 116) stimulates me, rather than inconveniences me.
Bottom line is, life's too short to impose conditions on my creativity and whether or not I create images I'm pleased with is neither here nor there. I have no doubts that I'll create more of the former than the latter, but even if it is the reverse, I'll enjoy the process and to me, more importantly, I'll get a sense of adventure from the process. And that's something I would always find impossible to stop myself exploring.