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Monday, 27 May 2024


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Bought my first Leica from Andrew Heller. He was Hungarian, not German, and deserves respect for his background, both personal and professional. Btw, he was really a Rollei guy. As far as the Leica M, he was adamant about sticking to Summicrons, which he used. I was flattered when he asked me later in his life if I were interested in buying his business; wise enough to say no, of course. Make money elsewhere to be able to afford a Leica!


“ Would anyone be interested in guitars if they didn't play the guitar?”

Leo Fender, inventor of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision Bass and a multitude of other guitars and guitar amplifiers famously could not play the guitar. He presumably was very interested in them. He later became President of a new guitar manufacturer - Music Man - and co-founded a third, G&L Musical Products.

You could substitute a wall of photo books for the wall of Leicas, or as a substitute/corollary to the cartoon’s caption? Someone said that the difference between hoarding and collecting was an economic distinction.
We do well to be mindful of our behaviors and nudge ourselves in a direction that fosters growth as well as some pleasure. Thanks for the nudge.

The camera comes first, unlike an egg it doesn't need a picture to create it.

The camera exists independently of the button being pushed.

Thank you for the memory of the Heller store. Ages ago I bought an item there. It was a metal lens hood for a Tele-Elmarit that I had bought new a few years before in NYC, and its original rubber hood had disintegrated. So much for Leica quality—yes, I know, E. Leitz (as it was then) did not make rubber lens hoods, but then neither did Olympus, and their rubber hoods, of which I have a couple for an 85/2 and a 21/3.5, have lasted much longer in excellent condition. A camera maker should choose suppliers that match the quality of its cameras.

That somebody decided to write a book called "Stuff White People Like", leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, Just like the (UK) Guardian is always slipping the "old White men", meme into lots of articles these days. This is pure racism.

What would happen If I wrote a book or published an article, where "white" became some other colour?

Saw this photography related comic today and this looks like an appropriate place to link it for people that might like it:


I’ve liked cars all my life. Not just as sports cars, just cars - 4WD’s, hatchbacks, family trucksters, vans, sedans, utes, and on an on. I subscribed to magazines, watched the TV shows, known “more about cars than anyone who doesn’t have a drivers licence”, as a friend told me. But I’m near 54yo now and got my licence four weeks ago.

Driving is fun*.

Also, I love me a good, skewering joke, when done well it can be like a camera flash in your messy, dark room.

(*I’ve a whole chapter about why this is transformative and healing for me me, but I’m holding out for a book deal)

A B'ing. The process of trying one thing then placing it down and picking up another to compare it with.

It's usually how I would choose a camera in a store.

And it's how I culled my collection of guitars. Funny how a once precious guitar becomes dead to me, once it shows that it's no longer competitive relative to the others.

"Would anyone be interested in guitars if they didn't play the guitar?"

I'm not sure that's the right question. I suspect that 10 percent of guitar collectors own 90 percent of all vintage guitars and, whether or not they play the guitar, collectively utilize less than 5 percent of them for any musical purpose.

I'm in two minds about that. It would mean that 85.5 percent of vintage guitars aren't being used by working musicians to make music, and there is surely some hoarding going on. On the other hand, collectors tend to take better care of things than do users, and those guitars are more likely to be around and playable in twenty, fifty or a hundred years than if they were on tour with working musicians or belonged to a busy studio.

We're privileged to hear the world's best classical musicians play instruments made hundreds of years ago by legendary artisans in part because generations of collectors, investors, philanthropists and hoarders, too, preserved those instruments to get them into those hands.

I used to go to Heller's Camera when it was in the Air Rights Building on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland in the 1970's. What I remember on display there was his impressive collection of Japanese Leica clones.
The other "Hungarian" store I frequented was Serenade Records, on Connecticut Ave near DuPont circle. Fabulous selection of imported European classical LPs, back when American LP's were dismally poorly pressed. EMI HMV, Decca, Classics for Pleasure, Hyperion, Lyrita, etc.

There might be few non-players who are interested in guitars, but I guarantee there is no shortage of bad guitar players who are very interested in guitars. But bless ‘em, they keep the guitar makers busy.

Similarly for me, pictures come first and they do not have to be taken by any special camera.

Second comes the play factor. I like cameras that give good play factors. For example, a folding camera like a Mamiya Six K2 may not have the sharpest of lenses but it's full of play. It changes from 6x6 to 6x4.5 with the flip of a switch and may well be the only camera that does that conveniently.

Lastly, having a camera that shoots and shows is nice but not a priority.

Old white men.

I am one. Might I offer a counter point?

I read from all three stripes of journalism. Left. Centre. Right.

The lefts problem with old white men is with grotesquely rich old white men.

The Right conflates and misconstrues this to be about all white people. For the purpose of engagement and the associated financial gain they earn from that disingenuous rhetoric.

Might you also consider that no old white man was ever enslaved or despised on site, because of their skin colour

The centre looks for solutions and common ground. But there's no monetization from that, is there?

Collections are great, but if they're meant to inspire and be used, they shouldn't be gathering dust on a shelf, particularly in one's latter years- share it and pass it on!

Oh, and thank you, Kye- reason and good will always shine through...

There is indeed nothing wrong with liking Leicas.
For history buffs: Leitz saved Jews in WW II.

Us white guys, in theory, want to be writers, but when it comes down to doing the actual writing, not so much. I think it was David Foster Wallace who said that he’d spend one hour writing and eight hours stressing out about not writing; but he did, ultimately, get some good work finished.

It's a real moment of reckoning for me to be confronted with the fact that every white person has at least one chapter of a novel or memoir stashed somewhere. And here I thought my single chapters of all my ideas meant I was really a writer.

I guess I need to press on and finish all my chapters two.

Of course here in Los Angeles, everyone does not want to be just a writer, but a *screenwriter*.

Robert: "Other brands gone: [...] Ricoh"

Whoa! Ricoh is very much alive, and the GR series of "street" compacts is their current hit.

Their other famous property is Pentax, which is also very much alive. Much to the surprise of many "Youtube Photographers".

Yes, of course, you are right. I even own and use a Ricoh GR III myself - it’s not a bad camera, with a very good slow lens. I was thinking of their SLR range, which never made it into digital.

In the 90’s I also used a Pentax LX and a Pentax MX, I loved the S69 screen in the LX, which had a wonderful viewfinder. I used it mostly outside the 28-50 mm range of my M6s when necessary. Its main weakness, apart from sticky mirror was mirror slap, which also plagued the Pentax 67, which I used briefly. Its owner would never use it off the tripod without flash. Canons firing! Unfortunately, for all their style, and their strengths, Pentaxes were plagued by poor marketing and very weird lens selection decisions. It was always a delight to get back to the quiet shutter snick of the Leicas, and not having to suffer shutter shake on a 100mm lens.

My first "real" camera was a Miranda, a long-gone one shot brand. I was in Japan sometime in the '50s, when Canon and Nikon had their emulated German rangefinder models -- Canon like the Leica 3s and Nikon like the Contax. For half the price, you could buy a Miranda and it was a real SLR. Lasted for nearly 20 years.

Just a little correction to Tom Burke's interesting observation:
Pentacon was sitting in Dresden, not Leipzig.
Praktica cameras as well as MZ-motorcycles and Wartburg cars (sold as Wartburg Knight) were exported from East Germany to the UK. Of course, all three manufactures did not survive the reunification of Germany in 1990...

Ah, jeez! You mention a shop with zillions of Leica, but don't post a pic of said shop? Inquiring minds want to know. (See?)


I couldn't find one online. That doesn't mean they're not out there. --Mike


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