How I Shot This

Bud Green explains his retro style.



These days, most aspiring photographers go for digital SLRs. But not Bud Green. The 45-year-old software developer from the Chicago suburbs got a Leica MP rangefinder and started developing black-and-white film (Kodak Tri-X Pan). Not quite the modern route, but a path to great photos, nonetheless. (See more at

Q. What are we looking at?
A. Those are my sons, Milo and Seth. Milo is 9 and Seth is 7. Seth is the one with the airplane.

Q. Did you pose them?
A. It was a Saturday morning, and they were just doing what they normally do. I take so many pictures that they kind of don't pay any attention anymore. Occasionally, I'll tell them to hold on and keep doing what they're doing for a second, but most of the time it's something they'd be doing anyway. It was a coincidence that they happened to have their airplane PJs on, though. I keep my camera with me a lot. If I'm at home, I always know where it is. And I'm always looking at the light. A lot of times, I'll see a quality of light that I like, and then try to see if there's something worth photographing.

Q. So no digital?
A. Digital cameras are so electronic, and I really liked the simple mechanical feel of the Leica in my hands. Learning how to develop my own film and do lots of experimenting without sending it out made it easier, too. I thought I'd be using digital by now, just out of convenience. But after doing this for a while, I don't feel any real need to switch. If there was any reason for me to be efficient, I probably would. But this is just for pleasure, and this is just what I feel like using.

Q. What drives you to photograph?
A. It was the pleasure of the camera itself that got me going at first, and then it became a challenge to try to capture the everyday life of my family. Something about seeing an image and what it shows motivates me to go on and take the next one.

The Outtakes:Left: In this shot, the framing isn't tight enough, and Milo, on the right, is too conscious of the camera. Right: A cool close-up of the paper airplane, but the rest of the shot is too blurry.