Last week one of our members, Alexander Bendo, was mugged. While he is physically unharmed, the thieves took his camera gear. I am sure all of us can imagine how awful it would be to lose our gear. In Alex's case, the loss is even more keen, as he is in the middle of working on a photography book project. Please take a few minutes to read Alex's story below. In the meantime, please help him out by donating here.
On November 17th, 2016, I was mugged in the streets of Puerto Rico. I was out working on images for a book project, which is a pretty normal thing for me. I walked about 200 feet from my car, managed to take two pictures, when three men confronted me on the street. They threatened to hurt me if I didn't give them my camera and light meter. Out of concerns for my own safety, I did not resist.
I bought the camera, a Leica M5, and a Zeiss 50 mm Planar lens, eight months ago, specifically for the book project, "Anthropocene Spaces." I wanted a particular look and I loved the low profile of a nearly silent camera for street photography, and the look of Zeiss glass. I spent the last six months traveling with this camera, taking photographs for my project. After the shock of the robbery passed, I was heartbroken. I planned to shoot the entire book with that camera and a Contax G1. The project and the cameras were linked.
Adding up the financial loss, I had paid $1,090.00 for the Leica M5; and another $300 to have it serviced at the Leica Store in Vienna. I paid $630 for a used Zeiss Planar lens. And I paid $300 for a calibrated Pentax Spot Meter. All together, I lost $2,320 worth of equipment in a matter of seconds.
Gear can be replaced. We all know that. Unfortunately, I saved for years to be able to put this combination together. I still owe money on the lens. I won't be able to replace it any time soon. As a result, progress on my book project will be slowed. My artistic perspective will be limited. When a photographer makes choices about the gear that they will use for a project, it matters.
At the urging of colleagues in the Film Shooters Collective, I am putting together a GoFundMe campaign to appeal to the kindness of strangers. My fellow photographers and fellow artists know exactly how emotionally and artistically devastating theft of your tools can be. That's why I'm asking for help. I don't want to let this injustice defeat me.
I want to complete this project.
The money that this campaign raises will be put toward replacing the gear that was stolen from me. I just want to be back in the place that I was on November 16.