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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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A "Must" read
Old 03-02-2011   #1
Bill Pierce
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A "Must" read

I’d like to recommend that you all take a look at the latest entry at


A lot of you may know Eric’s work with Bruce Springsteen, the amazing book “Last Places on Earth” or the most recent India book. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that Eric has been one of the most successful advertising photographers in the business. The advertising doesn’t carry a credit line, but it almost doesn’t have to for you to recognize his work.

Every once in a while, keeping his staff on salary, he would take off time to shoot personal pictures. That’s somewhat obvious with “Last Places.” But much of the Springsteen material that you now see published started as personal work.

Eric, and many of us, come from a time when we supported ourselves with “professional photography” and made the images we loved between jobs. For an intelligent and impassioned perspective on all of this and “ photographic art,” read this blog piece.

For a further glimpse at Eric’s work try

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Old 03-02-2011   #2
Graham Line
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The best shooters I've known were always shooting -- maybe not with a camera in their hand, but their world was always full of photographic ideas and possibilities.

Thanks for the link.
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Old 03-02-2011   #3
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Thank you for the link. I've been a fan of Eric's work for a long time. Great read!

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Old 03-02-2011   #4
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thanks for sharing the link, Bill.
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outside of a small circle of friends." - Phil Ochs

"His photos are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes." -http://www.500letters.org/form_15.php

I point. I shoot. sometimes, I focus first.
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Old 05-12-2011   #5
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He understands colour - very rare and one I wish to learn.
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Old 05-13-2011   #6
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And he's a pretty nice guy to boot!

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Old 05-13-2011   #7
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Great link, thanks for sharing.
"Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance." - Robert Quillen

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Old 05-13-2011   #8
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A must read indeed... thanks for sharing that. Very cool.
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