Kai Elmer Sotto and his genie-rubbed cameras
Back in April I met Kai Elmer Sotto in Red Dot Cameras for the first time. In his hand was his very brassed-off Leica M-P and I was impressed. I’ve been rubbing my cameras outrageously since then but they are made of sterner stuff, it seems. Or perhaps Kai is made of sterner stuff. He certainly gets the best out of his cameras; he uses them hard, they travel around the world with him and they get no special treatment.
Since then the brassed-off M-P has been part exchanged for an M-D and, no doubt, Kai is rubbing it as I write. I look forward to seeing the results in due course.
The the meantime, his film addiction is rubbed by a lovely Leica MP which is already showing signs of graceful ageing. My own MP has a bit of natural brassing but nothing like this.
Recently Kai shared the top picture of the MP with me and also made mention of his trusty digital workhorse, the Ricoh GR. This is the camera I took to Germany earlier this month and used to grab some high ISO night shots in the centre of Munich.
Kai isn't easy on any of his cameras. They are workhorses. The Ricoh in question has been in the wars and no mistake: “I'm rough on my GR. The lens cover got stuck from all the surf trips and sand. So I ripped them out and stuck a plastic lens protection cover instead.” This would give me the collywobbles but Kai takes it all in his stride.
In relation to the MP, Kai reports: ”Shot my black paint Cron 35 the whole summer. And the past year. The black paint is finally fading on the lens. Yes, I do rub it like a genie lamp often enough."
All this begs the question of whether many of us take too much care of our cameras, maybe take them too seriously.. Perhaps we are so busy coddling the GAS’d gear that we spend less time taking photographs. Kai is clearly one of those guys for whom the camera is a means to an end, a tool that enables him to capture some great shots. He just throws the cameras is the bag and gets on with it. I suspect it is the best way of working.