Archive for Leica

Don Draper’s M2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 8, 2013 by johnbuckley100

What does it say about Leica’s newfound, once-again brand hotness that in the season premier of Mad Men last night, Don Draper gives his doctor friend a Leica M2, which his agency represents?  We easily could imagine the writers having decided to have Draper’s agency talents dedicated to breaking Canon or Nikon cameras on these shores — jokes about overriding Made In Japan cultural limitations, etc.  Nope, it was the venerable German brand that Don has so many of in an office storage closet that he can give one to his neighbor.  (Who is, by the way, the first actual friend outside work we ever remember him having.  But that’s a post for someone else…)

How many Leicaphiles, waiting impatiently for the M they ordered months ago from their dealer, had the thought: if only it were so easy?  If only a friend had closets full of the new Leica to give away…  Either an example of brilliant product placement by Leica’s marketing department, or Matthew Weiner is a Leica user, or the show runners realize how hot Leica is, once again, as so many clamor for their products.

On Anton Corbijn’s “The American”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 12, 2010 by johnbuckley100

The first Leica I ever saw in use was when Anton Corbijn took photos of Gang of Four for a piece I wrote on them in the Soho Weekly News.  I remember him from those days as a tall, quiet presence who made full use of the non-threatening size of a Leica M — what would it have been? an M3? this was 1980, I think — to take these spontaneous, intimate fully realized photos of the band. Nothing staged or artificial, though those qualities would later creep in when he took album cover photos of U2 and the like.  (Not a criticism; that’s the different nature of an album cover versus photojournalism.)

The photo of Gang of Four that ran in the Soho News piece I wrote showed them isolated against a crowd walking up 5th Avenue from the old WEA offices where the interview took place — a perfect example, though I didn’t know it at the time, not having yet been rebitten by my teenage photography bug, of bokeh, the Japanese word for selective focus, the image a mix of what is perfectly in focus, and the rest somewhat blurred. (See the post directly below this one.)

What brings this to mind is having seen last night The American, Anton’s thriller starring George Clooney.  It is a fairly ridiculous film, but as a work of visual art by a photographer now given use of a movie camera, it is brilliant. Orson Welles once said something to the effect that making a film gives a director the chance to play with the best toy train kit ever, and Corbijn makes full use of his opportunity to bring something visually wondrous to the screen. Some of the images from the small Italian city Clooney finds himself in could have been framed by Henri Cartier-Bresson, another Leica photographer. The landscapes are framed with a still-photographer’s eye.  A magnificent visual experience, even if the plot is silly.

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