Across the desert with my Leica M2 and good old FILM! by Dieter Schamne

Across the desert with my Leica M2 and good old FILM!

by Dieter Schamne  – His website is HERE

The following photographs are from series “Nostalgic depression. A broken American dream.”

The photographs are taken in a 70’s style, a mix from still life, objects and documentary photography. In April I was a few weeks in southwest of USA and travel across Arizona, California and Nevada.

The series is hybrid work, analog and digital process, retro and modern gear. Analog photographed with Leica M2 from 1962, modern Zeiss Planar 50mm and Kodak Ektar 100, developed and scanned film by pro minilab. Print the photographs with high end inkjet printer on high end Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta Paper. I’m using a lot of digital gear too, especially for commercial and manipulated conceptual works, but I would talk in this review only about analog photography.

The good news, the film is not dead and will not die soon. And better: film is not for everyone. For me the Leica M (I’m talking only about film M) a perfect camera, it’s small, robust, discreet and have in my opinion excellent design line. About optic and film material: I like Zeiss Planar saturated colors and rendering especially with color films like Kodak Ektar. The Ektar loves light and I overexposed this film mostly for one or two stops. That’s make a mood of nostalgia and can be print without digital post-processing. Kodak Ektar is relative slow film, but it’s no problem if you shot a daylight scene or if you used fast lenses.

Thank you for your attention and keep shooting

Dieter Schamne

Kiel, Germany


  1. I always love seeing buildings in a permanent state of decay. These are particularly interesting, as they are, as far as I can tell, mid-century.

    The first image looks like two contradictory things at once: a motorist simply checking his oil and water; and a scene where something dramatic happened and everybody left, never to return.

    The shot of the GE refrigerator is not exactly a terrific photograph, but it is very affecting. For some reason I was taken back 30 or even 40 years (before I can remember anything) to warm summers and (arguably) happier times. Echoes of crowds and swimming pools. Our memories don’t fade but painted metal sure does.

    I don’t know what you used for shot #4 but that film definitely captures skin tones very well.

    The Desert Center Cafe no doubt has stories to tell. I bet your first thought was to restore it to its former glory, and have it busy with patrons. I bet your second thought was to take the sign home. 😉

    I realized long ago that America is a domestic wonderland – not like Europe, where the ruins are centuries old, but a place where you can find countless ruins from merely 50 years ago, which are in many ways more haunting and endearing.

    Great shots, and it’s great to see more people shoot film, especially these days.

  2. Hi!

    Great shots, my style. there is so much detail and stuff everywhere! Congrats!

    I spent three weeks in San Francisco in September ’18, shooting 40 films Kodak Ektar with a Mamiya C330 (6×6), also overexposing a bit. The results were spectacular.


  3. Very nice work, Dieter! These aren’t casual travel pics. These are well done, thought out images. I’ve thought about scratching that Leica film itch. Thanks for showing us.

  4. Very nice, a bit more saturation and Mr Eggleston would have a new competitor 🙂 Good work!

  5. Really nice to see Film piece, thank you Steve!
    Dieter has a great site, well worth looking,
    this small piece really captures heat, faded color,
    compared to KR’s super make your eyes bleed color!
    A true version.
    The joy of film, is simplicity.
    A Leica M film camera is all I would have ever needed..
    A tangible result that can be touched..
    Well done Dieter.

  6. wonderful pictures, great gear, I am using M3 with Ektar 100, great documentary about one side of U.S.A, and great writing. I am agree with you … This is the poetry and beauty of film. More and more people use film or return to film, like FUJI renew Across 100, Kodak Ektar 100, … Leica is a must, but take a Canonet Q 17 GIII, and you will have great results for a low price. But use, good lab, and pro process !!! Thanks for sharing

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