Leica as a fashion accessory in Bangkok
Old 06-22-2016   #1
Leica All Day
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Leica as a fashion accessory in Bangkok

Today I went to one of the major Leica stores in Bangkok and I met 3 lovely / cute Thai girls that were in the process of buying Leica "special edition" digital cameras with some very nice lenses. I talked to them a little bit and one of the girls was talking about my M6ttl millennium that was hanging around my neck so I handed her my camera for her to check it out. In Thailand there is a common term that is called "hi-so" and it refers to the high society "upper class" Thai people that have a lot of money. These girls were "hi-so" and were in the process of buying some very nice Leica cameras and some really nice lenses. I am a "regular" at the camera store that they were at so I didn't try to get too involved with the whole process, but I did take a couple of photos of them and briefly talked to them.

Long story short, Leica cameras have become some sort of a "fashion accessory " here in Bangkok and it is strange to see "newbies" walking into a camera store and buying the "best " Leica cameras and lenses. I am not going to lie, I am trying to find a way to help these cute Thai girls in understanding and using these cameras that they have just purchased. I know the guys at the camera store and they basically explain the basics to them , but I would love to find a way to go out street shooting with these new Leica owners. That said, I hope this post doesn't come across as "sexist" in any terms, I am always available to take people around Bangkok and show them how their camera can work on the street and explain the basics.

I was really surprised by what I saw today.

cheers, michael
[/url]Cute girls with Leicas in Bangkok by [url=[/IMG]
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Old 06-22-2016   #2
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Here in the U.S., they're mainly fashion accessories for middle-aged dudes.
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Old 06-22-2016   #3
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Interesting. So far in Saigon it's handbags, couture and the odd Bentley. When I lived and worked in the Great Lakes Region of Africa the "hi-so" where known as the "wabenzi", or the Mercedes Benz clan. In Saigon, the people stopping me in the street when I have a Leica rangefinder around my neck are older people and they tell tell me: "I used to own this camera"! "Number one"!
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Old 06-22-2016   #4
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When I go to the malls (which I never do), butt cracks seem to be the fashion statement.
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Old 06-22-2016   #5
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What a truly weird reality..
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Old 06-22-2016   #6
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Nice cameras, beautiful girls! If this helps Leica to make a profit...and maybe at least one of the girls will try to use it and becomes a photographer!
robert
PS: where I live a dealer told me once that first digital Leica he sold to a gentleman who wanted "that camera" on his desktop but to take photos used a different camera (I prefer not to mention) set on auto because it was to difficult to use the rangefinder...
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Old 06-22-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Sweet Young Girls... What Fun !!


As for me
I am slightly cringing thinking about how I am 'perceived'
walking aBout shooting my M5... A fashion victim or a ?
Dear Helen, we have never met in person, but to me, you are a complete rock star and an amazing photographer. You are one of the people on this forum that I have not met yet, but I am so excited for the day that we meet. I really hope the day we meet you bring your male friend (I am sorry but I forget his name at this moment) but I can't wait for that day that we meet in a bar (or coffee shop) in New York and we can have a good chat.

cheers, michael
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Old 06-22-2016   #8
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Old 06-22-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelbialecki View Post
Dear Helen, we have never met in person, but to me, you are a complete rock star and an amazing photographer. You are one of the people on this forum that I have not met yet, but I am so excited for the day that we meet. I really hope the day we meet you bring your male friend (I am sorry but I forget his name at this moment) but I can't wait for that day that we meet in a bar (or coffee shop) in New York and we can have a good chat.

cheers, michael
Hey Michael, you still owe me a meet up. And Helen you are a Photog Rockette.
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Old 06-22-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Sweet Young Girls... What Fun !!


As for me
I am slightly cringing thinking about how I am 'perceived'
walking aBout shooting my M5... A fashion victim or a ?
A user of an M5 is never a fashion victim, but a trend setter!
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Old 06-22-2016   #11
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camp...big time.
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Old 06-22-2016   #12
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Originally Posted by michaelbialecki View Post



I was really surprised by what I saw today.

cheers, michael
[/url]Cute girls with Leicas in Bangkok by [url=[/IMG]
If they really wanted them as neck baubles, they would have bought film Ms... Maybe the Lenny Kravitz version.

Are those cameras white, or is it just the way my monitor makes them look?
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Old 06-22-2016   #13
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If they really wanted them as neck baubles, they would have bought film Ms... Maybe the Lenny Kravitz version.

Are those cameras white, or is it just the way my monitor makes them look?
They are Thailand special editions. i toyed with the idea of getting one...the white finish looks great in person. The red covering is an extra option
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Old 06-22-2016   #14
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those are fugly leicas ---- with the white body and the colored leatherette....
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Old 06-22-2016   #15
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Michael, I hope they run into you again with questions and images and and greater interest.

While there are plenty of examples of conspicuous consumption to make skeptics of any of us who worked and scrimped for what we valued, one can hope for the best with young women taking interest in gear that may change their lives and how they see the world. Who knows, maybe one or two will join rff and add their counterweight to the, um, prevailing gender imbalance.
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Old 06-22-2016   #16
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looks like the shop in mbk michael?
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Old 06-22-2016   #17
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those are fugly leicas ---- with the white body and the colored leatherette....
Well it's a good thing that those girls who are buying them disagree!

FYI I use and love my two Nikonos V cameras - one green, one orange.
To call a white Leica fugly while having those hand barnacles at home is a bit of a stretch...
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Old 06-22-2016   #18
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Leica a fashion statement? Haven't they been for decades?

You clearly have to give them private tutorials how to properly use them.
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Old 06-22-2016   #19
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Well it's a good thing that those girls who are buying them disagree!

FYI I use and love my two Nikonos V cameras - one green, one orange.
To call a white Leica fugly while having those hand barnacles at home is a bit of a stretch...

my nikonos5 is a thing of beauty along with the waterproof brownish canvas bag
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Old 06-22-2016   #20
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Originally Posted by michaelbialecki View Post
Long story short, Leica cameras have become some sort of a "fashion accessory " here in Bangkok and it is strange to see "newbies" walking into a camera store and buying the "best " Leica cameras and lenses.
It's a luxury store... it happens in the SOHO store here in NYC too. Leica has positioned itself as such, so I'm not surprised.

Quote:
I am not going to lie, I am trying to find a way to help these cute Thai girls in understanding and using these cameras that they have just purchased.
Would you help a seemingly clueless Thai boy/ guy do the same?
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Old 06-22-2016   #21
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Quote:
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These girls were "hi-so" and were in the process of buying some very nice Leica cameras and some really nice lenses.
They are buying unboxed Leicas with random lenses and custom straps?
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Old 06-22-2016   #22
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my nikonos5 is a thing of beauty along with the waterproof brownish canvas bag
Best part of mine is the prophylactic rubber lens hood that covers the entire lens. It just screams out safe photography!
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Old 06-22-2016   #23
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I am not going to lie, I am trying to find a way to help these cute Thai girls in understanding and using these cameras that they have just purchased.
Mother Theresa aint got nuthin' on you!

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Old 06-22-2016   #24
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Quote:
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It's a luxury store... it happens in the SOHO store here in NYC too. Leica has positioned itself as such, so I'm not surprised.



Would you help a seemingly clueless Thai boy/ guy do the same?
If it's the MBK store that I go to it's not a luxury store at all. It's a goldmine of second hand bodies and lenses. Not the cheapest prices but an amazing selection with friendly helpful and knowledgeable guys in there.
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Old 06-22-2016   #25
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I don't have a problem wit this at all, after all, what else is a 'LUXUS' apart from being a fashion accessory?

If sales like this can help support a niche business so well and good.
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Old 06-22-2016   #26
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Great. I missed the release of the 'Polar-Panda' Leica. With that analogy the red one is disturbing.
Good on these girls. They could have done a lot worse that day. Maybe they've already joined RFF. I'm not worried they'll eclipse Helen anytime soon.
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Old 06-22-2016   #27
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Leica should sell em with no guts inside and any color imaginable...for 2x's the price..just the empty body..and fake glass in the lens too..with the Leica name on front..thats enough..
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Old 06-22-2016   #28
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I sometimes don't get why some seem to think that just because someone can afford something that they shouldn't have it because of none interest in purpose or lack of knowledge etc.
It always comes across as envy or jealousy.
If these 3 girls had been famous artists or photographers I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more positive posts above about how it's so marvelous to see our favorite brand being used as intended.
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Old 06-22-2016   #29
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I sometimes don't get why some seem to think that just because someone can afford something that they shouldn't have it because of none interest in purpose or lack of knowledge etc.
It always comes across as envy or jealousy.
If these 3 girls had been famous artists or photographers I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more positive posts above about how it's so marvelous to see our favorite brand being used as intended.
More to the point it is great seeing young people buying Leicas.
That's where the future is.

Not just old crotchety farts who opine about the good old days when 100ASA film was considered fast and they don't need a Leica because they made a pin hole camera out of a shoe box and some electrical tape and it is just as good...
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Old 06-22-2016   #30
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it's nice to know that there is a non-internet based leicaphile culture out there, and that it's composed of young women. very cool.
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Old 06-22-2016   #31
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Michael, you need any help to convert them to film lovers?
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Old 06-22-2016   #32
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Michael, you need any help to convert them to film lovers?
there's a line and i'm before you
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Old 06-22-2016   #33
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It is refreshing to see more young people getting into photography and not just snapping away selfies. I haven't been to Bangkok in two years and it is time to visit this camera shop.
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Old 06-22-2016   #34
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Would you help a seemingly clueless Thai boy/ guy do the same?
Haha jsrockit, I think I've lost count of how many Thai males I have helped, taught, given advice and loaned one of my cameras for them to "try before they buy" a Leica.

I'm in a Leica photo group here in Bangkok that is made up of a lot of passionate enthusiasts who are crazy about Leica cameras. They have all the cool lenses and special edition models that come out. I try to get them to come 'street shooting' with me in the streets and all, but they are still in that 'shy phase' of street shooting , and not very comfortable yet out on the streets and in the thick of all the madness, but slowly they are coming around.

I am always down to take people out and around Bangkok shooting, I've done it a lot with some members of this forum and other photographers that I've met in other places. It just so happens that they are always male photographers. It would be nice to have a couple of female Leica photographers to go out with shooting every once in awhile, and it's a bonus if they just happen to be cute

When one of the girls was holding my camera and looking at it, I mentioned to her that it's a film Leica and then made a joke in Thai language to the sales assistant (who I know) telling him how much cooler film cameras are.

I should try to be more active and try to get something together like monthly Bangkok photo walks, small type of magazine / fanzine , etc... I like what some of the people I follow on Instagram are doing in Japan and I think it would be cool to try to do something similar .

Cheers, michael
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Old 06-23-2016   #35
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I am always down to take people out and around Bangkok shooting, I've done it a lot with some members of this forum and other photographers that I've met in other places. It just so happens that they are always male photographers. It would be nice to have a couple of female Leica photographers to go out with shooting every once in awhile, and it's a bonus if they just happen to be cute

Cheers, michael
I look forward to meeting you Michael and do some shooting together. By the way I am very cute.
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Old 06-23-2016   #36
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I look forward to meeting you Michael and do some shooting together. By the way I am very cute.
Haha, I hope you can bring that horse in your profile photo to Bangkok with you, that would be awesome.
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Old 06-23-2016   #37
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I don't have a problem wit this at all, after all, what else is a 'LUXUS' apart from being a fashion accessory?

If sales like this can help support a niche business so well and good.
Hi,

And don't forget the ETKAL and EPOCH which date back to 1930 or 31. Nothing changes.

Regards, David
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Old 06-23-2016   #38
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Michael,
It is so refreshing to hear about your teaching and mentoring so many people. I find few people willing to spend the time with new photographers. Wonderful!

Fashion accessories...not here in my little world. It is odd but over the last decade or so, I have never had anyone comment about the Leica I was carrying, except for one older gentleman at a parade in a very small town near our home. He was indigent, but he saw my M3 and said, "Now that is a real camera, I always wanted a Leica." A short discussion followed and I realized he had fallen on hard times years ago but he was always interested in photography.

It is a rare thing here to see young people interested in "real cameras"... I only wish things here were similar with excitement as shown in your image. For that matter, I wish the older people I know got excited about anything!

Down South, here, it seems to be a rarity. Your days seem to be filled with excitement with the people around you.
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Old 06-23-2016   #39
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Hey, if you really want a white camera B&H still has the white Holga 120N in stock, and the price of admission to that club is within reach for most people.

In fact, just an idea for the wealthy, get a white Leica and a white Holga and carry both. I'll bet that 90% of folks won't know the Holga is a plastic toy.
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Old 06-23-2016   #40
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Michael, I am sure there are online photography forums in Bangkok. Maybe that is a place you can reach out to more fellow photography enthusiast.
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