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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 10-15-2012   #1
Bill Pierce
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One of my favorite web sites always surprises me with the articles it runs. After all, it's an equipment rental site.

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Old 10-15-2012   #2
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Thank you for posting the link.

There is obviously a lot of work behind the article. I'm curious about why they publish interesting historical things like this, though I'm certainly not complaining. After all, their customers are (presumably) mostly doing very different work.
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Old 10-15-2012   #3
Bob Michaels
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Bill: thanks for a refreshing breath of clean air reminding us of what photography should be about.

I know the photos, I know of the photographers, I know the stories. But the article you referenced is a great summation.
internet forums appear to have an abundance of anonymous midgets prancing on stilts
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Old 10-15-2012   #4
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Captures that part of a common history. I knew "someone" who photographed in the CCC 'camps' which on a smaller scale led to jobs, career, family. Some times my dad would talk about that time, but more often not... I am part of that resulting family and I did hear about big government of that time, on that subject his opinion never changed until he died, too young, 17 years ago... his camera still close at hand.

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Old 10-15-2012   #5
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Big Bob is right, again...

and he beat me to it, again.


Rick Beckrich

My five -star rated children's book,

"The Little Crow Who Could Not CAW"

is now available for Kindle and other readers.

This semi-animated version of the hardbound edition
may be just perfect for your favorite 4-to-8 year old,

Available from Amazon.com, of course.
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Old 10-15-2012   #6
coco frío
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
But the article you referenced is a great summation.
Well meaning effort, but not quite. There are many serious mistakes in the article, and simplifications. For instance, Margaret Bourke White did not work for FSA.
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Old 10-15-2012   #7
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Thanks for posting, nice to see the photo work of the 30's and 40's, and to read someone's theories on why this work was done.
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Old 10-15-2012   #8
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Thanks so much for the link. I've got to bookmark that site.
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Old 10-15-2012   #9
pete hogan
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Interesting article. Errol Morris has written about this period and Walker Evans in the New York Times.
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Old 10-16-2012   #10
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Good read.
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