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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 06-13-2011   #26
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I have no inherent fear or distaste of technology so I will use my DSLR when that's what is called for. E.G. odd lighting, fast sports like Ice Hockey. When I have a choice I use my Hassy 500c/m or one of my TLR's. But I usually get my fav shots from a small 35.....Barnacks rule lol!
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Old 06-14-2011   #27
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The time I want the highest technical qualities in a photograph is after the fact... Since I’m doing “found” images, I cannot predict beforehand that this photo will be a winner. I may often realize it at the time, but then it’s way too late to go fetch “better” gear. So I like to always have with me the “best” gear that is convenient and useful.

So, yeah; not having LF, I'll use medium format whenever it can be pressed into use. I like the Bronica RF645 (discreet) and Pentax 67II (indiscreet!). I guess the Leica M9 and S2 would be the digi-options.
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Old 06-14-2011   #28
Jan Bielikowski
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I use 35mm for portraits cause I dont want to see skin texture, every blemish etc. Just scanned 4x5 from Sinar (360mm, f/45) and ok, the detail is stunning but it doesent matter.

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Old 06-14-2011   #29
Lazy Lytro Shooter
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Recent news informed us that all non-African humans have 2 to 4 percent Neanderthal blood. I have at least that, probably much more, so I will willingly and joyously join the troglodyte clan!

(sorry about posting a picture (which are not always welcomed) but it saves me about 1000 more words.)
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