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.
Last edited by bjorke; 09-21-2007 at 11:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
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Being that the article appeared in the New Yorker, I think this is a salient observation.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
This is why some things, like Leica rangefinders, are desirable. Just like certain Italian cars and motorcycles, there is little to no practical reason to use one. Quite simply we are left with passion.
There are aspects of my Ducati that are wonderful, yet I know it's many shortcomings; these are things I would never tolerate in any other motorcycle. My Swiss watch does not tell time nearly as well as a battery powered quartz movement Seiko, yet I can enjoy wearing it; so I put up with the shortcoming, because it has a style that suits me.
Those who would buy generic, or do things simply because they are practical, or buy things because they are highly rated by Consumer Reports, might miss that there are passionate reasons for taking certain directions. There is no rational reason for using a Leica, nor any other finely made niche product. Indeed, they are not without problems, nor without shortcomings, but they fit the way some people want to take photographs.
I am glad the Ducatis, Ferraris, Swiss watches, and Leica cameras are for the few in the world, to be scoffed at, scorned, or simply ignored by the majority in public. To appeal to a wider audience might mean higher production, and dilution of the concepts behind these things. Those who understand that passion behind these things will appreciate them, though I don't really think it matters if anyone else gets it.
A G Studio
Seems to me there is your rational reason.
Originally Posted by HerrBremerhaven
I use an M6 with a 35mm f/2 & I reckon it gets me photos I wouldn't get otherwise. A compact yet high quality camera that is easy to take with me every day, wherever I go. Very simple to use once I understood the best way to operate it. Perfect for street photography at night. There are some expensive products where one needs to consider how long it will be useful for, rather than worrying about the upfront cost. I paid $2,500 AUD for this kit, second hand, but I expect I'll be using it for 10 or 20 years easily, which makes it seem like a bargain.
I didn't notice the length the first time that I read it, but went back to the article last night - over 6,000 words! I've done a whole special report for the FT on investment in Lithuania in that space. It's not a surprise that he had to wax poetically at times. It almost feels as if he got a call shortly after he'd done an overlong draft and was told that he needed to add another 1,500 words.
Originally Posted by eddym
Thing is, can anyone point to a better, non-tech article on Leica? I'm interested now in how to explain to someone about something that usually comes down to 'either you get it, or you don't'. Fit and finish are something I'm aware of, i.e. on the Voigtlander Prominent I once owned, the BMWs I've driven. Maybe this is becoming a question for the Ethics and Philosophy section, but it's still about Leica. Any suggestions?
The Kiev 88: Mamiya's key to success in Ukraine.
Photography without film is like Macroeconomics without reading goat entrails, and look at the mess that got us into.
Since the Leica threads have been running, I've been trying to think of an analogy, and the best one I've come up with is a Mercedes diesel-powered sedan, which if you drive big miles is one of the cheapest cars around to run (I mean over 200,000 miles and more) and is driven by many people (including countless German taxi drivers, but not me) for this reason, without any regard to the supposed cachet or snob appeal of the Mercedes marque.
Originally Posted by Jim_in_Kyiv