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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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Bill, would you use a CV Bessa T today?
Old 06-18-2018   #1
kshapero
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Wink Bill, would you use a CV Bessa T today?

You seemed pretty happy with it back when.

Hmm. So who would buy a such a very different kind of retro rangefinder like the Bessa T?



Well, at least one famous internationally award winning photo journalist named Bill Pierce.
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Old 06-18-2018   #2
farlymac
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I've considered getting one since I now have a brace of CV wide angle M mount lenses.


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Old 06-18-2018   #3
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Had one, dang why did I sell it?
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Old 06-19-2018   #4
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I also had one that went in the great camera purge.. In the end, the external viewfinders proved to be just too cumbersome, and the tendency of the camera to tilt backwards when carrying it on the neck strap when I had a small lens mounted was highly annoying. Factor in a lost finder, and the conclusion was that it had to go.

Haven't really missed it since..
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Old 06-19-2018   #5
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As I've said elsewhere, they're terrible cameras and only a fool would keep his.


bessat by Jean-Yves, on Flickr


bessa-t by Jean-Yves, on Flickr

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Old 06-19-2018   #6
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The Bessa T was a bargain at a time when M mount Leica film bodies were not. It even had an affordable base winder. (And as an added bonus, the Bessa was not available in special celebrity editions or limited runs of brightly colored bodies.) For somebody who had a collection of M cameras, lenses and bright line viewfinders, they were great back ups in situation where the cameras were at risk or when you were going to be away from home for extended periods. Truth is, they were good cameras on their own.

I like Leicas as working tools, but not as conspicuous consumption items; so, I’ve always had a soft spot for Voigtlander. See what Tom Abrahamsson had to say about them at

https://www.cameraquest.com/VCBessaT.htm
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Old 06-19-2018   #7
Yokosuka_Mike
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Count me in as a Bessa-T fan. I have a black one and a green one.



All the best,
Mike
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Old 06-19-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post
Count me in as a Bessa-T fan. I have a black one and a green one.



All the best,
Mike
hmm, those are not just black and green
those are the special limited edition anniversary models

good for you!

Stephen
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