Cult of Leica

Six years ago in the New Yorker Anthony Lane wrote a memorable essay, "Candid Camera", subtitled "The Cult of Leica". It's an exaggerated but delightful song of praise and includes the wonderful quote from Ralph Gibson:

"More great photographs have been made with a Leica and a 50-mm. lens than with any other combination in the history of photography," Gibson said to me. He advised Leica beginners to use nothing except that standard lens for two or three years, so as to ease themselves into the swing of the thing: "What you learn you can then apply to all the other lengths."

And yes, it's hype and mystique and mojo. As photography advisor/reviewer Ken Rockwell says rather less poetically, "The camera's only job is to get out of the way of making photographs." What counts is composition and timing, understanding and exposure, and above all focus, as Rockwell emphasizes in "The Secret: What Makes a Great Photo". The camera doesn't matter — within limits!

^z - 2013-11-15