Yesterday & Today with a Leica M9 by John Tuckey

Yesterday & Today with a Leica M9 by John Tuckey

My name is John, and I’ve been a Leica addict for two years now.

Coventry Air Museum 2012, M9 with 50 Lux, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

As I started in photography i went through Canon SLRs, Panasonic M4/3, and then the Leica X1. The X1 made my jaw drop, the best pictures I had taken to that date from a camera with none of the ‘features’ that I had bought into to that point. I was hooked in no time.

Sywell Areodrome 2012, M9 with 50 Lux, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

From the X1 i swiftly moved to an M8 with a Voigtlander 28mm, and I think this was Leica’s real success with the X1 is that they made M system photographers out of folks like me who would probably never made the jump direct. Anyways, after stocking up on some summarit glass, the M8 finally became an M9. FInally, on the M9 it seems i’ve trolled through a good chunk of the current Leica Glass (personal favourite is the 50mm Lux ASPH – I finally got guilty about the cost of it and sold it to move down to a cron, and sure enough have rebought it – wont do that again).

DC-3 at Victory Day in Leicester 2012, M9 with 50 Cron, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

I currently shoot with M9 and an M7 with a 28 cron, 50 lux, and a 90 elmarit (M7 film inspired by Ibraar and others on this site, 90 elmarit instead of the current 90 cron courtesy of the joy of steve – thanks all!).

Victory Day in Leicester 2012, M9 with 50 Cron, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

As for what I shoot? As you’re no doubt already figuring out, I have always had a passion for black and white. Even as a child I revelled in old black and white films – abbot and Costello, laurel and hardy, basil rathbone and Harold lloyd where and still are my cinema heroes. So perhaps no surprise that the photography I enjoy also focuses on capturing or mimicking a past I never knew first hand – a past in black and white, as nature intended 😉

Victory Day in Leicester 2012, M9 with 50 Cron, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

I’m lucky in this goal in that here in the UK there’s a thriving scene for WWII re-enactments, which i’ve pretty much become a regular attendee for. If you know of re-enactment events near you, please do tell me about them – i’ll get there eventually 🙂

Criche in Derbyshire 2012, M9 with 50 Lux, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

I also make the odd foray into recreating the past myself. I’ve been lucky in having models and sets (and that Leica gear) available for images that every now and then, really capture a vintage feel with a bit more variety than the ‘war story’ shots from the re-enactment scene.

My Back Garden 2012, M9 with 50 Lux, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

Megan 2012, M9 with 90 Elmarit, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

Maybe I’ll inspire some of you do do some more with Black & White, which has to be a good thing! Maybe some of you will have a think about how your Leica might be a time machine of your own, and that would be excellent! 😉

The GWR at Winchcombe 2012. M9 with 50 Lux, Processed in Aperture 3 and Silver efex 2.

If I have inspired then I can’t recommend Silver Efex Pro enough. The high Structure filter, film effects, emulation of the colour filters, and the point control for selective editing are simply unbeatable by anything i’ve seen in Aperture or Lightroom. Seriously, theres a free trial, go play 🙂
Enough waffle from me for now, hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at what I do for fun!
[ad#Adsense Blog Sq Embed Image]



  1. John, how about the Goodwood Revival this weekend, short notice but a stunning event! Made for your sort of (wonderful) photography.

    • cheers Peter, i just looked it up and yes its just the ticket, will miss this one, but will definately keep my eye on upcoming events 🙂

    • Hi Alex. Not much, but then film is still quite new to me, and its carried as a second body – so i keep the 50mm on the M9, and then interchange the 28mm and 90mm as needed on the M7. So i never get as many on the M7, but it cuts down on lens changes on the M9 (dirt attracting sensor and all).

      I have a couple of rolls ready to go for development from V day though, so there should be some new stuff soon 🙂

  2. Nice shots, John. You have picked on some moments which briefly capture what we imagine was the “feel” of the day; I was recently looking at some of my uncle’s b&w shots he took in the UK as an RAAF 460 Sqn (Lancasters) navigator with Bomber Command and they have the same feel. Sadly, his photos came back to Australia without him.

  3. Lovely evocative images John! I am also tickled by the fact that you are using a Leica to shoot repro. scenes of wartime Britain. Back in the day they would have either banged you up as a spy, or perhaps assumed you were an SOE operative back in Blighty for R&R.

  4. Big, strong images, enthusiasm for B & W, a good eye and a camera with you are one. Thank you for your contribution and for the motivation to keep going and to improve their own development. What you said is also true for editing my experience. I’d love to see more of your work.
    Greeting KLaus

  5. Thank you John for sharing these photos excellent work, they take me back in time. I have a Leica X2 would not take anything for it.

  6. I suspect I shall be in a tiny minority of 1, but the super image quality notwithstanding, the subject matter does not, for my tastes, suit super sharp imagery. There is an incongruity between subject matter and technical quality. Personally, I would have preferred the images to more replicate a 1940’s photo.

    The image of the child evacuees is wonderful, and very evocative, but is a superb subject for a true retro image as there is no give-away in the whole image to say shot in 2012.

    • Yes I agree, imperfections are to be desired in this little quest, I tried a Zeiss Sonnar briefly to try and capture some of the lens look, but was disappointed. Also, most of this content is taken from my panel submissions, and those imperfections do not fit well there, regardless of intent 🙁 it’s also harder to apply them after the event when shot on the M9 😉

      • Hi, John.

        Thanks for the link. Some more ammo for next year! The Tramway Museum is with a reasonable distance from me, so will definitely be an event to take in.

        I agree with your view on digital post-imaging adjustment. I played around with some of my SVR images, and no way can I replicate digitally a film image shot with a soft, lowish contrast period lens. Hence, why I shall take my Super Ikonta along next time and possibly my Leica IIIf, which is a bit late, but I do have a pre-war f3.5/35mm Elmar to fit, and a 1950 Summarit. So I can get close to a period image, albeit on a modern b/w film emulsion.

    • Neil, I assume you are UK based. If so, you may like to check out the Severn Valley Steam Railway website. Each year they stage a “Back to the ’40s” event. I did my first this year and was simply amazed. Great photo opportunities. Next year’s event will be held over two weekends in June and July.

          • Hi, Ibraar.

            No, I haven’t got any links. Funnily enough, this is something I have very recently been thinking about, not because my photography is any great shakes, but I thought it could be a way of sharing with interested friends some holiday pics. So I may get there!

            Any thoughts on what would be the best way to proceed for a silver surfer, but who is pc proficient? I am very wary of any such sharing sites as I am old fashioned and don’t understand why the younger generation so happily posts personal info about themselves for all the world to see!
            Regards, Terry. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.