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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 1 Week Ago   #41
pgk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
I use manual M bodies too as well as an A7s and A7R2 and this just isn`t so .

You don`t need to go into the menus if you want to change the things you change on an M body .

The menus only give you additional options if you require them.

I change speed and /or aperture and both are quickly changed on either body.
If you use A7 series cameras like an M (in my experience few do) then they are easy enough to set. Use them for any specialist applications and they are an absolute mess.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #42
Michael Markey
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Yes ... wouldn’t disagree with that assessment.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #43
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If the camera has it I use aperture priority if not manual makes no difference film or digital. On digital I use auto iso which leaves focus aperture and shutter speed exactly the same as shooting film. The only camera I ever have trouble working is my dads x100 and thats my fault because even though I used to have one myself I've forgotten all the weird modes/buttons etc!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #44
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Originally Posted by pgk View Post
Virtue no. A way of doing things which can be very useful though. Using skills to take an image only works in one's favour when it yields an image that would otherwise not be viable (say by taking it by shooting on auto). But like the fish that got away that's not easily quantifiable. What surprises me is that people expect automation to work but forget that if shooting manually they only need to change settings if the light changes. There are different ways of working and some work well for some but not for others. But don't get caught in the trap of thinking that one method suits all because it doesn't. FWIW I am faster using a fully manual, simplistic camera like a Leica M because I can shift the few controls fast and easily. My A7II on the other hand I find a very slow camera to operate because of its overly complex control menus.
For film, I mostly shoot on a Nikon F4s and F801, both on matrix metering and program hi (I prefer faster shutter speeds over depth of field) and auto-focus. Never misses a beat in all sorts of lighting conditions (sunlight, backlight, fog, night, indoor etc etc).
Point and shoot, simplest and fastest form of photography there is.

Likewise for digital, I use an Olympus OM-D E-M5. Again, just point and shoot.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #45
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The M 10 is about as easy as it gets. Shutter speed on the right top. Aperture on the lens and ISO on the left top. Thats it. All I need and most of the lenses (Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander) have really good DoF scales.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #46
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KISS is always the best mode. I use my A7s in A I only have older manual focus lenses which also means I have to select the f stop on my own and I don't own a zoom and I am happy. What is wrong with me?

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Old 1 Week Ago   #47
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I must amend my last statement. I have just per-ordered a 10-18 zoom, my life is over.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
When an elderly working stiff can be seduced by menu mania and program mode, it is his duty to warn others and, yes, to consider giving the credit line under the photographs to his camera.
Warn us about what Bill, the program mode that has been on cameras I have used my entire 30+ year career and the menu items you can take or leave once you have them set or favorited?

And for all the real hard working PJ's out there who have won awards with photos from their iPhones......you *really* think the credit line should read....iPhone?

I apologize for the tone of this Bill....but we never see work from you so does it really matter what the credit line is?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #49
Richard G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post

I simply do not believe that your significant lifetime success as a photographer came from your ability to correctly set f-stop, shutter speed, focus, and ISO. Do you not agree there is something in your eye, your soul, your intuition that is the primary "credit" for photography, not simple adjustments?
You’re right. I was amused by Jane Bown’s answer when asked about her technique: “I have an exposure I like, f2.8 at 1/60th.”
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Old 1 Week Ago   #50
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You’re right. I was amused by Jane Bown’s answer when asked about her technique: “I have an exposure I like, f2.8 at 1/60th.”
I'm a f8 and forget type myself.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #51
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Are these arguments still going on?
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Old 6 Days Ago   #52
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I think this shows why it is important to have choices. What I need and what is second nature to me might not be the same for anyone else.
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