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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author


“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  


Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 


Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."


I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!


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Old 04-19-2011   #41
dseelig is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Idaho
Posts: 138

I do love the m9 at iso 1250 it just cannot do what I need it to in no light situaitions. Mind you I would rather use my leica, then my canon system. The canons I own are because of sports and concert work, that i have to use them for street work pisses me off t no end as they attract an attention i would rather not get at times. To say well we are comparing with film get over it film is we last century technology and I have an investment in leica glass that is way out of proportion to my income. It should be comparable to a canon at iso 6400 and the next camera had better. The m9 is a major step up from the m8 we need to keep bitching and moaning so we get what we want. If Leica kept one camera at ccd technology and made a cmos camera as well for low light I would probably own one of each. Make no apologies the m9 is an excellent camera but not a no light camera. And PS the canon mk 1v does not make night look like daylight but the nikon d3 s does.
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Old 04-19-2011   #42
Brian Legge
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Brian Legge is online now
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,456
My Nikon D70 made me realize how much I loved high iso performance. Less of an issue with b&w than color, but I dont like going about 400-640 with it.

Definitely a problem as I like shooting hand held in low light. Going back to film and Neopan 1600 made me happy. Briefly. I'm still struggling with a good solution on the film side. Need to give Portra a shot I suppose.

Thats the main thing that will eventually drive me back to digital.
Shooting whatever I can get my hands on.
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