shining Leitz on the human condition

Portugal, 1976. The silent operation of the Leica allowed Josef Koudelka to shoot unnoticed. This shot is taken from his book Exiles. Photograph: Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos

Toronto. Before photography, we relied on paintings and sketches, like those of Hogarth in 18th century London, to depict the human condition. Later in the 19th century when photography found its legs, some enterprising photographers, like Mathew Brady  (American civil war wet plate photographer) and the FSA folk in the early 20th century who recorded the impact of the ‘dirty thirties’ added photography to the tools used to record the human condition.

This accelerated in the thirties and beyond when the minicam craze set in and small negatives became the predominant means to capture live events. At the high end, the Leica cameras (made by Leitz to keep its microscope and optical factory in operation through the depression), Contax (the reaction of Zeiss to the upstart Leitz), and the myriad of firms that merged to form Zeiss-Ikon (mid 1920s) established an era of photographers who could shoot photos on the run.

George Dunbar, in his pursuit of photographic history discovered this article in The Guardian written by John Naughton back on August 24th in 2014. Fortunately George shared the article with us.

This entry was posted in history and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.