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Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by laverdure, Sep 18, 2007.
Well written article that has educated me. Thanks
Finally. Leica explained by someone who can really write. A gorgeous read. Thanks!
No offense intended, Roger! Let's say that, well, I appreciate the bokeh of his article.
Nice article. Leicas are superb cameras and optics. Haven't ever owned an M series but have enjoyed using R series Leicas since 1984.
The New Yorker is a fine publication; those intriguing articles taught me how to write a proper paragraph. I'm glad to see The New Yorker editors have some interest in this.
A very well written article by someone who has a good knowledge of photography. Too bad he didn't choose a film Leica to play with!
Thanks for posting this. It is an interesting, well-written article.
Don't worry about IR and filters for correction - just think about that $7000 jewel hanging from your neck.
Digital bling for the Park/Fifth Avenue set.
Maybe this article will further drive down the eBay prices on M6/M7/MPs?
I have been a subscriber to The New Yorker Magazine since 2000, but delivery has always been erratic. I get nothing for weeks and then I receive three issues on the same day. Every year one or two issues get lost in the mail. I hope this one won't get lost, but I will probably have to wait till mid October to receive it.
I would like to see if it carries a full page, full colour, ad for Leica cameras.....If not, this article is a major PR coup for Mr. Lee.
The new print New Yorker was in my mailbox this evening.
The Leica story is at the back of the magazine. It prints the yellow Leica ad full-page and also has a couple of snaps from Elliot Erwitt, G Winogrand, and A Rodchenko (Winogrand is also represented earlier in the mag, in the gallery listings).
This is the STYLE issue.
When the author stated that he first desired a Leica after seeing Henry Fonda with one, I knew what this article was about. Camera as luxury item, part of the same sad cult parade of fashion and celebrity that pollutes most of the ad space (and in the Style issue, the editorial space). It's lovely ad copy, but it could just as easily be about Maserati, Pucci, or Versace. Oh, wait -- that's the rest of the issue.
Ah the STYLE issue--an unfortunate vestige of the Tina Brown years--but I suppose that once it became a regular feature (it coincides with Fashion Week in New York) they couldn't forgo the ad revenue. At least they try to be intelligent about it.
Bear in mind that even if Tina Brown did allow scent strips into _The New Yorker_, she did also introduce photography into the magazine and hired Richard Avedon as the first staff photographer.
You know, some people can't deal with the fact that you can still buy a brand new Leica but you can't buy a brand new Contax G2...
BTW, he doesn't know how to use the D-Lux either. You don't see a picture and THEN turn it on, you use it the way he described using the M8 -- in your hand, ready to go. The beauty of the D-Lux/LX is that you CAN use it that way, unlike any other small digi I've seen.
I recall when I used to live about 30 minutes away from the Leica factory in (West) Germany, just west of Giessen - I believe Leica was in Wetzlar at the time. I stopped in a few times, just walked in. They had a mini-museum in the front lobby. The receptionist asked us if we were there to see anyone and we said no we just dropped in and we would like to look at the museum. In the US, secutiry would probably run you off but instead she asked us what Leica gear we used. My girlfriend owned a fabulous V35 enlarger. The receptionist made a call and someone in a white lab coat came out and met us and gave us a spontaneous tour of the offices where they designed the V35.
It was quite nostalgic reading the article. I'm going to print it out and hang on to it. I miss the enlarger......
Don't knock it. If Leicas become fashionable again they'll sell more and those of us who use them can continue to use them. The fashionistas subsidize the users -- fine.
Likewise ads. I'm not sure how you can 'pollute' ad space, which helps keep the cover price of mags down.
Sure, there were errors, and the article was self-indulgent and overlong. But would you be complaining if (say) someone wrote a similarly laudatory/tacky article about Ilford, helping to keep them in business?
Leicas are fashionable in Japan and China, I've read. I don't know if this is true. I've never been to those countries---only Mexico and Canada outside of the US.
All art is propoganda - Diego Rivera
To say that economics exempts anyone from criticism is really the most demonic sort of propoganda, no?
Yes, but I'm not sure what your criticism is.
You can't pollute advertising space because it is self-proclaimed economic propaganda. Either that is inherently polluted/polluting, or it isn't. What is advertised is irrelevant.
So in other words, 'it's an ad - it's inherently polluted'? Sounds like an advertorial I once wrote for an oil-rich country. Paid well, and after a long hot bath I could walk among honest people again.
I wouldn't say that the article was tacky. Self-indulgent - oh yeah, overlong - maybe. But if you accepted the givens - this is not a tech review with a 'lenses so sharp you could use them in laser eye surgery' slant; it's not printed in Mother Earth News, so it had better not read like a glance at a new composting technique (could you imagine it; "and the earthworms, cradled in my now powerfully-loamy hand, call me to remember their cousins so well-adapted by the Master") - it did work. And after these years of reading articles about Leicas and respecting them, I finally found myself desiring to use one.
Maybe it was also because I had been given a LOMO (now dubbed 'the anti-Leica') the day before, and if it had been about my mother's old Kodak 110 POS, I would have slobbered for it.
All points taken. Tacky? Matter of opinion. I wouldn't argue too hard on either side. But it was definitely VERY long. Chopping 30 to 60 per cent would make it clearer whether it was tacky or not.
My criticism is that it is more ad copy than essay: "...the old, bewildering Leica trick: the illusion, fostered by a mere machine, that the world out there is asking to be looked at—to be caught and consumed while it is fresh, like a trout."
What is the message here? That the possession of a particular brand-name item instills in the purchaser something spiritual. Lane even sets us up for it by citing his speculations about Winogrand:"it could be that the taking of a photograph meant more to him than the printed result" (though GW repeatedly said that what he cared about was "the picture").
While Lane's talent with language is unquestionable, his relationship with picture-making is almost entirely superficial. It is a song of desire for camera as jewelry.
The world is out there asking to be looked at, if we could just get our eyes away from the shop windows.
It really became quite a bit wearing after a while, especially since most of the virtues he cited were really virtues of rangefinders in general, or even just smaller formats. More substitution of style for substance.
"...the old, bewildering Leica trick: the illusion, fostered by a mere machine, that the world out there is asking to be looked at—to be caught and consumed while it is fresh, like a trout."
I take that as legitimate, if purple.
"it could be that the taking of a photograph meant more to him than the printed result" (though GW repeatedly said that what he cared about was "the picture").
That's what he said. Do we necessarily believe him?
While Lane's talent with language is unquestionable,
No. See above, under 'purple'.
It is a song of desire for camera as jewelry.
Not necessarily. It could simply be the reaction of a writer who is not quite as good as he thinks he is, using the literary tools at his disposal. And, of course, being paid by the yard.
Among the celebrated fashionably brain-dead and culturally amoral, lots of things serve as jewelry. Sports cars, vintage Airstream trailers, Leicas, pocket-sized terriers, etc., come readily to mind. That doesn't mean sports cars can't be fun transportation, Airstream trailers can't be shelter, Leicas can't be great picture-takers and small terriers can't be lovable little puppy dogs.