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Jim Lager - Leica Historian Jim Lager is widely considered the best Leica historian ever, having authored arguably the best selection of Leica history books ever written. RFF is very fortunate to have access to his amazing Leica knowledge.

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Leni Riefenstahl's IIIc?
Old 05-30-2019   #1
John Li
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Leni Riefenstahl's IIIc?

Hi All,

Recently I acquired this Leica IIIc with Red curtain from a local guy in Australia.

According to the previous owner, he claims that this camera was originally belongs to Hitler’s film director Leni Riefenstahl. The camera was gifted to his grandfather by Leni. The camera stayed in the family for years unused [ the curtain have become sticky to a point where it may need to be replacing ]

I know its a long shot in identifying / confirming this but I though I throw it out there. The SN of the camera is 370402.
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File Type: jpg 370402_IIIc_Top.jpg (21.8 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg IIIc_front.jpg (30.4 KB, 64 views)
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Old 05-30-2019   #2
Lavertezzo
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Quote:
Her "Leica" was given to her in person shortly before the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 by Mr. "Leitz sen." This is stated in a letter, which will be auctioned together with her Leica IIIc, later converted to IIIf with the fitting objective Summitar 2/50 next Saturday (November 22) in the gallery "Westlicht" in Vienna.
https://translate.google.com/transla...html&sandbox=1

This auction was in 2003. Maybe Westlicht can help with further information about Leni's IIIc.
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Old 05-30-2019   #3
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Good luck finding out the history.

If you decide to service it, Alan Starkie can restore the red curtains. He did the same to my red curtain IIIc, the only tech I am aware of that provides this service.

cameraworks-uk.com
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Old 05-30-2019   #4
Dralowid
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You have reminded me that I met her once, she was working on projects in Africa at the time. A little scary.
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Old 05-31-2019   #5
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Sounds like a good story, but from the attached article by splitimageview, that sounds like all it is, a story. What you have is not a IIIC converted to a IIIF, nor a Summitar lens. Hopefully no one paid a "fake history" premium.
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Old 05-31-2019   #6
Erik van Straten
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Leni Riefenstahl had a grey (painted) IIIc, No 350452.





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Old 05-31-2019   #7
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
You have reminded me that I met her once, she was working on projects in Africa at the time. A little scary.
Sounds interesting. Is it possible/appropriate to elaborate, please? I've seen some of her published images made on that continent which I presume may have been recorded around the time you met her.
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Old 05-31-2019   #8
Larry Cloetta
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As she was a professional photographer and film maker, it’s highly likely she would have owned more than one camera in her hundred and one year life. Photographers frequently own more than one camera over a lifetime, or so I hear, so the documented existence of one Leica serial number with proven provenance doesn’t necessarily mean that the OP doesn’t now have one of the more than likely other ones. Who knows.
FWIW, “The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstahl” is a fascinating film biography, no matter what one might think of her, ahem, early choices.
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Old 05-31-2019   #9
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I met her through an anthropologist called Andrew Baring who was working in the Nuba and Darfur areas. Must have been late '70s(?). She called him Herr Boring but neither of us knew whether she was joking. His opinion of her was not a million miles away from that of Alexandrea Ludewig which I quote below, the last few lines being key:

(2006)
'Leni Riefenstahl, a legend recently deceased at more than 100 years of age, is perhaps best known for her association with Hitler in the form of her films Olympia and Triumph of the Will, and she has provoked controversy ever since. This paper will focus on the lesser-known African travel books which Riefenstahl published in Germany between 1972 and 1976. Therein she presents images of Nubian people taken in the Sudanese mountains which seem to echo her previous work in their portrayal of physical perfection. While her pictures of the Nubian people have so far been looked at as a homogeneous body of work, the following analysis will concentrate on the qualitative difference between Riefenstahl's first and subsequent Nuba photo-publications and her changing motivations. Riefenstahl's romantic quest to capture the innocence of Africa and her desire for renewal and salvation on the edges of civilisation, which were at the centre of her first visit to the region, are to be seen in stark contrast to the driving force behind following visits, when she sought to push into an even more unknown and wilder Africa, whereby her camera attempted to produce images reminiscent of a sublime. I will argue that, in doing so, Riefenstahl regressed into producing Eurocentric and sensationalist depictions of ‘her Africans’. Likewise, her role as an agent for change is viewed critically against her self-perception as an anthropological conservationist; her pictures are analysed together with her own commentary. Her narrative accompanying the photos seems to diminish the power of her images and may affect her reputation as a great visual artist as it appears to suggest doubtful motives.'

There is plenty of stuff on the internet (including the above), I have no comment to make apart from copying some of it here. As to cameras, she would have had loads of the bloomin things!
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Old 05-31-2019   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
As she was a professional photographer and film maker, it’s highly likely she would have owned more than one camera in her hundred and one year life.
I wanted to write that in the same moment. Leni even used Leica M and R cameras as well.

8ful.jpg catalogue.jpg

https://translate.google.com/transla...01txt-d-01.htm

"A grey Leica IIIc (made in 1945) which had belonged to the photographer and director Leni Riefenstahl who died just before the auction, was sold for 8,500 Euros (ex. surcharges)."
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Old 05-31-2019   #11
Erik van Straten
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It is always annoying when good photos have bad commentary, even if it is from the maker herself.


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Old 05-31-2019   #12
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
I met her through an anthropologist called Andrew Baring who was working in the Nuba and Darfur areas. Must have been late '70s(?). She called him Herr Boring but neither of us knew whether she was joking. His opinion of her was not a million miles away from that of Alexandrea Ludewig which I quote below, the last few lines being key:

(2006)
'Leni Riefenstahl, a legend recently deceased at more than 100 years of age, is perhaps best known for her association with Hitler in the form of her films Olympia and Triumph of the Will, and she has provoked controversy ever since. This paper will focus on the lesser-known African travel books which Riefenstahl published in Germany between 1972 and 1976. Therein she presents images of Nubian people taken in the Sudanese mountains which seem to echo her previous work in their portrayal of physical perfection. While her pictures of the Nubian people have so far been looked at as a homogeneous body of work, the following analysis will concentrate on the qualitative difference between Riefenstahl's first and subsequent Nuba photo-publications and her changing motivations. Riefenstahl's romantic quest to capture the innocence of Africa and her desire for renewal and salvation on the edges of civilisation, which were at the centre of her first visit to the region, are to be seen in stark contrast to the driving force behind following visits, when she sought to push into an even more unknown and wilder Africa, whereby her camera attempted to produce images reminiscent of a sublime. I will argue that, in doing so, Riefenstahl regressed into producing Eurocentric and sensationalist depictions of ‘her Africans’. Likewise, her role as an agent for change is viewed critically against her self-perception as an anthropological conservationist; her pictures are analysed together with her own commentary. Her narrative accompanying the photos seems to diminish the power of her images and may affect her reputation as a great visual artist as it appears to suggest doubtful motives.'

There is plenty of stuff on the internet (including the above), I have no comment to make apart from copying some of it here. As to cameras, she would have had loads of the bloomin things!
I seem to recall she made use of Arnold & Richter motion picture equipment among others, I know little about her preferences for stills imaging. Thanks for sharing those recollections!
Cheers
Brett
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Old 05-31-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
I met her through an anthropologist called Andrew Baring who was working in the Nuba and Darfur areas. Must have been late '70s(?). She called him Herr Boring but neither of us knew whether she was joking.
American o sounds like German a, so it's possible she wasn't.
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Old 05-31-2019   #14
Larry Cloetta
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Dralowid, fascinating story.

Regarding one line from the Ludewig quotation, “may affect her reputation as a great visual artist as it appears to suggest doubtful motives.“

Conjecture as we might about her “motives”, (something she always seemed pretty opaque about) that should not affect her reputation as a visual artist. Anyone taking the time to watch “Triumph of the Will” or “Olympia” would be forced to admit that the woman knew how to frame a shot.
Unfortunately.
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Old 05-31-2019   #15
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American o sounds like German a, so it's possible she wasn't.
Good God man, we're British!
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Old 05-31-2019   #16
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Good God man, we're British!
My apologies then! I was just thinking of when I moved to the U.S. and had to change my "o"s to "a"s so as not to have to repeat myself ad infinitum to be understood. Or even my "a"s to "a"s, as in ordering wAdder to drink in a restaurant as opposed to wo-ter.
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Old 05-31-2019   #17
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You are forgiven! I am misunderstood wherever I go.

Going back to the lady herself, she was certainly very good at her job.
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Old 05-31-2019   #18
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Going back to the lady herself, she was certainly very good at her job.
She definitely was, for better or for worse.
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Old 05-31-2019   #19
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Both Leni and her gear give me the creeps. I wouldn't want to be in the same building as that camera.
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Old 05-31-2019   #20
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Both Leni and her gear give me the creeps. I wouldn't want to be in the same building as that camera.
Very creepy and extremely problematic, like the trade in all third reich memorabilia.
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Old 05-31-2019   #21
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I`ve heard it said that George Lucas copied some of her shots and angles for his Star Wars films.
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Old 05-31-2019   #22
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Peter Jackson's shots of Saruman addressing the Uruk-Hai in "The Two Towers" show Riefenstahl's influence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQq4LjSF2rc
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Old 05-31-2019   #23
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Talking

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Good God man, we're British!
You British have a difficult time with English
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