Munichs oldest cemetery with Leica M and Monochrom by Andreas Cornet

Munichs oldest cemetery with Leica M and Monochrom

by Andreas Cornet

Dear Steve, my name is Andreas and I live in Munich, Germany. I follow your great blog for about a year but so far did not post anything. My photographic life started some 11 years ago when our daughter was born. I started shooting with several Nikon DSLRs with growing fascination. My entry into the Leica world happened with the D-Lux 3 and the brand did a nice job in “trading me up” with a M8 via a M9 to a M240 and a MM right now.

For a long time already I had the idea to start a photographic project on Munich cemeteries. Steves recent article on post mortem photography and Jim Fishers great cemetery shots together with fantastic light two weeks ago finally got me going. I chose the “old south cemetery” in Munich which was founded in 1563 for the many poor victims of the pest epidemic. At that time it was “extra muros” – outside the city borders. No need to explain that this has changed with the growth of the city … .

In terms of gear I took the M240 and MM together with a 35mm Summilux, a 50 mm Noctilux, and a 90mm Summarit. I did not use 50 mm a lot in the past but since buying a used Noctilux 1.0 (not the current 0.95 version) this has changed significantly. Most of the shots you see are done with this lens, only few are 35mm or 90mm. However, I do not use it wide open only. I also like it very much at 5.6 or 8.

Great winter sun, several crows/ravens and some nuns going for a walk created an almost surreal atmosphere. Like a quite island in the middle of the city bringing back the past. I hope you get part of that from the pictures. Although I liked some of the photos in color very much I decided to transfer the M240 files to b/w using Nik Silver Efex. If you are comparing the M240 with the MM files (that’s what I did …) keep in mind the MM shots were taken a bit later with sun fading away already.

Next will be the “old north cemetery” as soon as the light gets right … .

Thank you and best regards,


Pic 1, M240, 50mm, f 5.6

Pic 2, M240, 50mm, f 1.7

Pic 3, M240, 50mm, f 1.0

Pic 4, M240, 50mm, f 11

Pic 5, M240, 50mm, f 1.7

Pic 6, M240, 50mm, f 1.4

Pic 7, MM, 35mm, f 1.4

Pic 8, MM, 90mm, f 2.5

Pic 9, M240, 50mm, f 1.2

Pic 10, M240, 50mm, f 1.4

Pic 11, M240, 50mm, f 8


  1. Fine pictures…for sure. I do shoot & love statues since my teenage day, now i’m into my 40’s…

    Taking pictures is like self-therapy…i can relax & chill for the most, especially on graveyards…love the great works from real craftmanship, the ancient stone masons, which also have had a real female model being used for their statues…that’s why they’re often so life-like…
    i’m just trying to picture them emotional…as if they’d be real…sometimes, it works a bit…

    A few of my (also fave) Statues from different Cemeteries are onto my small 1x Site, click my name here for the URL if being interested.

    Good Light !


  2. Andreas,

    I, personally, believe too much is made of bokeh, as though it was the Holy Grail and be all and end all of a lens’ performance, and this is to ignore its image forming properties.

    However, I do find the out of focus elements of some of your images rather odd, and I would have to say possibly the ugliest I have ever encountered. This surprises me as you are using Leica optics.

    I recall reading many years ago a substantial article in the British Journal of Photography when they tested and reviewed the early Noctilux and the opinion was this lens really was intended to be used wide open and, importantly, low light level subjects for which it was obviously engineered. Under the appropriate shooting conditions its “bokeh” impact wouldn’t nearly be as noticeable or, at the time, was an acceptable trade-off for the super fast speed.

    Any comment about using it wide open?

    • Thanks for the many comments on bokeh especially which seems to be seen rather controversly. … . I just checked: It looks totally different on the original color file and also if I select a rather neutral setting in Nik Siver Efex. I had used a template with increased contrast and structure and that created the bokeh several of you did not really like.
      The good news is: It is not the lens … .

    • Thanks for the many comments especially on the bokeh which seems to be seen quite controversly … . I just checked again and the original color file and a neutral b/w conversion show a very much different bokeh. I used a Nik Silver Efex template with medium contrast and structure increase and this obviously has created the bokeh some of you do not like. The good news is: It is not the lens …. .

  3. Interesting pictures and a subject that is rather interesting IMHO: thanks for sharing.
    On the technical side many of the pictures (5,6,7,9,10) exhibit one of the most distracting out of focus rendering I’ve even seen: which lens was that? Noctilux?

    • As I was looking at the images I was thinking the exact same thing. It is perhaps some of the most unpleasant looking (to me at least) bokeh that I have come across.

    • I find the discussion of “unpleasant bokeh” funny. It’s purely subjective. I kind of like the bokeh of this lens. I find it high in structure and interesting, as opposed to soft sweet mush (not the I’m opposed to that – it’s just different). I think it adds to these shots – particularly with the branches.

      To each his (or her) own.

  4. The grave sites with statues of the apparently grieving young are quite poignant aren’t they?

    Additional, I like the one of Jesus, looks like a personal resurrection scene.

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