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Tuesday, 06 February 2018


I have an M4-2 that was supposedly previously owned by a known photo-journalist. Who? I never found out. But it's been a workhorse camera and I enjoy it for its faithful service.

I can understand the attachment to an object owned by a relative and handed down might be priceless in the eyes of the current owner. Maybe it will be equally valuable to whoever they pass it to, or maybe not.
I can understand an object made or embellished by a friend, regardless if they happen to be famous. I couldn't sell such a thing. I think Mike's friend did the right thing, used the camera for it's intended purpose enough to wear the embellishment off. I've little doubt he thought of his friend every time he used it.
But a bought object? I don't get it.

Ken Tanaka wrote:
But the bigger question: what ephemera of today’s generation will be treated as a devotional artifacts in the future? I really can’t think of anything!

According to contagion theory, any artifact that has been used, and physically touched — presumably even an iPhone or Bluetooth earbuds — should qualify (^^;

Memorabilia puzzle me too: I don't really believe that one object might be worth far more than an identical object just because ......
But the objects themselves can be of value in more ways than monetary. A few weeks ago I was allowed to handle a 4000 year old bronze axe head: beautifully made with great skill and precision, you could not do better today.
The sense of connection to the unknown maker all those years ago was emotional and humbling: I'd love to have a conversation with him.

We hear this kind of "woulda, shoulda, coulda" all the time in the securities industry.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world today. If only you’d predicted that coming two and a half decades ago, you’d be a lot richer as well.
[ ... ]
... your 100 shares would have multiplied into 5,600 today, and your initial investment would now be worth $632,800. That’s a return of 28,663%. And that’s before dividends, which would have added another $5,936 to your return so far this year alone.


(Dec. 11, 2015)

There is certain grandeur about a brassed up black Leica or Nikon F. I suppose at least half the paint has to have been worn off during your watch for you to sport one without feeling like some kind of poseur.
Of course this M2 will never see film again. The camera is now an artifact rather than a tool. Beautiful object with a sad story to tell.

It’s the allure of fame, drawing us near
Iike a moth to flame. As if some magic was instilled in the object by the famous owner that might rub off on us. In reality, it’s just a piece of history that works the same as any other similar object.

... to add to my previous comment: it is an awesome story none the less! I hope the camera does remain in the public eye.

I find humans' fascination with fame both curious and uninteretimg. I assume psychology will have worked out the mental aspects behind this fascination.
The interest in historical and vintage / antique items also goes through fads in determining an item’s monetary worth, but then an item’s worth to an individual is very subjective. If someone has the inclination, time, money and space to collect and store, good on them. Otherwise, museums fill the role nicely in preserving historical items, including in their context.

Reminds me of this book by Christopher Koch, who also wrote The Year of Living Dangerously - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highways_to_a_War

It's about a photographer that disappears in Cambodia during the Vietnam War and the efforts of a friend to find out what happened to him years later. I wonder now if this novel was inspired by Sean Flynn.

My only claim to memorabilia fame is I own the 85mm f1.4 AiS Nikon lens which took the photograph of a crying Margaret Thatcher leaving No 10 for the last time in the back of a Government limo'.

I have the Brownie Hawkeye that my elder sister won with a photo of my younger sister a while back. (1956?) https://www.flickr.com/photos/claylof/28345188099/in/dateposted-public/

What’s a steel-rimmed Summilux? I thought in that era they were Aluminum so did Leica do a run of tougher Summiluxes?

[I should have put that in quotes too. I just got it from the article. (Nobody in here but us chickens.)

Fixed now. --Mike]

I own my dream camera: A plain-jane Leica M6 with ZERO history. Zero significance. Zero collectability. Limited production run? Hell no!

These are tools. The magic goes away when the master goes away. If you offered me HCB's Leica at a standard price, I'd say "Hmmmmm... No built-in meter, right?"

"You know he heard the drums of war..."

I seem to remember that Leica once made a factory brassed up MP which Lenny Kravitz was supposed to have designed. What on earth was that about? I would love to know how many they sold.

I am semi-addicted to the TV program Antiques Roadshow. My wife and I like to sit there and get angry, shouting at the tube, "That crap is worth how much!?!"

One problem with this pursuit of “celebrity” goods is that it can lead you to write, as in the link you gave, “Fortunately, Flynn did not have the camera with him when he was captured ...”. Fortunately he didn’t have that camera case with either. Fortunately it was never discovered what happened to him giving it an air of mystery. Fortunate indeed!

I read Sean Flynn and Dana Stone story in "Requiem" a book edited by Horst Haas and Tim Page dedicated and assembled through the work of 135 photographers of different nations who are known to have died or to have disappeared while coverings the wars in Indochina, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

In the book are stories and photos of photographers on both sides of the war. Although I do not like war photography personally I found this book interesting and a way to remember their lives.


Horst Faas, rather than Haas. I'm grateful nonetheless to Robert for jogging my memory of the title of an excellent book I'd been trying to recall all day. I was lucky enough to meet Horst one day in the AP offices in London around 1990. Although he was only passing through he was gracious enough to accept my invitation to look over my portfolio. Horst was legendary as the photo editor who pushed against opposition for both Eddie Adams' picture of the execution of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan And Nick Ut's image of Phan Thị Kim Phúc to go out on the wire service.

A few years ago, while looking for a 21mm for my M8, I happened on a Voigtlander 21 color skopar ltm at a decent price.
The young man behind the counter mentioned that it belonged to his teacher at U.T. I asked who his teacher was and he said, Eli Reed. Bought the lens but I still can't make it look like Eli's work. Oh well.

Curious wording in the last paragraph of the JCH article:

The camera will be featured with the bag and prints of Sean’s, Tim’s and others work at shows in the Leica store in Hanoi and at a government house in Ho Chi Minh city. There is the possibility of the show touring to other countries in the future. The camera will reside in Saigon with its owner.

It's almost like Saigon and Ho Chi Minh city are two different places. :-)

I have a defensible belief in ghosts but refuse to believe they ever inhabit "stuff." Flynn's old Leica is, well, just another brassed-up old camera with a story. Frankly, I find Hunt's hocking of this particular holy relic to be mildly creepy.

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