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mar. 11 mar 2014

Leicaphilia : "Leica Photography’ Is Dead. Leica Killed It"

A l'occasion de l'anniversaire des 100 ans du Leica (page commémorative ici), je vous invite à découvrir l'opinion d'un Leicaphile très remonté ! Et je dois dire que j'adhère à son discours à 200% (discours qui dépasse la seule question du Leica)...

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Selon leicaphilia.com, Leica s'est tout simplement égaré au fil des décénies, en ne se concentrant que sur la qualité optique (un peu comme Sony s'égare actuellement avec ses 36 Megapixels, en oubliant de nous proposer un viseur correct, des objectifs grand-angles, des zooms compacts et léger)...

Pour leicaphilia.com" What made the ‘Leica mystique’, the reason why people like Jacques Lartigue, Robert Capa, HCB, Josef Koudelka, Robert Frank and Andre Kertesz used a Leica, was because it was the smallest, lightest, best built and most functional 35mm camera system then available.

It wasn’t about the lenses. Many, including Robert Frank, used Nikkors or Canon lenses on their Leicas. "

Leica aurait perdu son âme dans la course à l'optique : alors qu'ils avaient construit leur légende sur le seul fait de produire des appareils plus compacts, plus léger et plus efficaces (... ils ne sont plus rien de tout cela aujourd'hui). J'ai souvent écrit que, le Leica était le compact expert de son époque. Un peu l'équivalent en 1920, d'un Panasonic GM1 de 2014... (c'est dingue en y repensant, que ce soit le leader mondial de l'électroménager et des Rice Cooker, qui parvienne le mieux à proposer au 21em siècle ce que Leica avait inventé en 1914).

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La naissance de la légende Leica n'avait rien à voir avec le piqué des optiques : car à cette époque elles n'étaient tout simplement pas les meilleures... Et les inventeurs de la "photo Leica", (dont tant de photographes se réclament sans vraiment les comprendre), ne s'intéressaient pas au piqué de leur optique...

Mais ils inventaient une nouvelle façon de photographier : plus moderne, ultrarapide, ultra légère et libre, se moquant des conventions et du paraitre.

Tout l'inverse de ce que symbolise Leica aujourd'hui : le passé, la lenteur, la lourdeur, le dogme quasi religieux et le paraitre (même le fait de coller un gaffer noir sur le logo de son Leica ressemble à un signe de reconnaissance et d'appartenance à une aristocratie photographique)...

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Alors je vous colle ci-dessous un long "extrait" de cet article exceptionnel, car j'aimerais vraiment que vous lisiez la suite ici : leicaphilia.com.

" Above are two of my favorite photographs from two of the twentieth century’s most skilled and creative photographers. Both are powerfully evocative while being deceptively banal, commonplace. A dog in a park; a couple with their child at the beach. Both were taken with simple Leica 35mm film cameras and epitomize the traditional Leica aesthetic: quick glimpses of lived life taken with a small, discrete camera, what’s come to be known rather tritely as the “Decisive Moment.

Looking at them I’m reminded that a definition of photographic “quality” is meaningless unless we can define what make photographs evocative.  In the digital age, with an enormous emphasis on detail and precision, most people use resolution as their only standard. Bewitched by technology, digital photographers have fetishized sharpness and detail. 

 

 

Before digital, a photographer would choose a film format and film that fit the constraints of necessity.  Photographers used Leica rangefinders because they were small, and light and offered a full system of lenses and accessories.  Leitz optics were no better than its competitor Zeiss, and often not as good as the upstart Nikkor optics discovered by photojournalists during the Korean War. 

The old 50/2 Leitz Summars and Summarons were markedly inferior to the 50/2 Nikkor. The 85/2 and 105/2.5 Nikkors were much better than the 90/2 first version Summicron; the Leitz 50/1.5 Summarit, a coated version of the prewar Xenon, was much less sharp than the newly designed Nikkor 50/1.4. The W-Nikkor 3.5cm 1.8 blew the 35mm Leitz offerings out of the water, and the LTM version remains, 60 years later, one of the best 35mm lenses ever made for a Leica.

But the point is this: back when HCB and Robert Frank carried a Leica rangefinder, nobody much cared if a 35mm negative was grainy or tack sharp. If it was good enough it made the cover of Life or Look Magazine. The average newspaper photo, rarely larger than 4×5, was printed by letterpress using a relatively coarse halftone screen on pulp paper, certainly not a situation requiring a super sharp lens. 

 

 

( ... )

It was only in the 1990′s, with the ownership change from the Leitz family to Leica GmbH, that Leica reinvented itself as a premier optical manufacturer. The traditional rangefinder business came along for the ride, but Leica technology became focused on optical design. Today, by all accounts, Leica makes the finest photographic optics in the world, with prices to match.

( ... )

For the greats who made Leica’s name – HCB, Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka – it had nothing to do with status. It was all about an eye, and a camera discreet enough to service it. They were there, with a camera that allowed them access, and they had the vision to take that shot, at that time, and to subsequently find it in a contact sheet. That was “Leica Photography.” It wasn’t about sharpness or resolution, or aspherical elements, or creamy bokeh or chromatic aberation or back focus or all the other nonsense we feel necessary to value when we fail to acknowledge the poverty of our vision. ”

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Par VIBERT dans 00 - COUPS DE GUEULE ! , 80 - APN : Leica | Permalink | Commentaires (23)

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