Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Coffee With Mentors > Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

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!


Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Grace Pictures
Old 11-13-2012   #1
Bill Pierce
Registered User
Bill Pierce's Avatar
Bill Pierce is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 982
Grace Pictures

A friend of mine, Arthur Grace, has just published his fourth book, "America 101." Unlike the other books, which he published while he was a working stiff (UPI, NY Times, Time, Newsweek), this is a retrospective. It should interest a lot of the Forum because most of its pictures are black-and-white film shot in a rangefinder camera. It interests me because many of those shots are NOT the shots that the magazines would be interested in (i.e. their standard tight head of important politician talking), but the those interesting things that happen off to the side that make really good pictures. Arthur carried a Leica with him and shot those shots whether the magazine could use them or not. I have a slight suspicion that on very rare occasions the film from that camera somehow never found its way to the publication. Anyway, the NY Times "Lens" blog published a piece with a fair number of the pictures from the book that I hope you enjoy. They are to me, one of the strong arguments for for keeping a small camera slung over your shoulder. The book is also listed on Amazon which means that after a while there will be a number of folks commenting (i.e. "reviewing") the book. It will be interesting to see their response to the photography that really made it wonderful fun to be a photojournalist.


  Reply With Quote

Old 11-13-2012   #2
Registered User
Murchu is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ireland
Age: 38
Posts: 829
Very nice link Bill, thanks for sharing!

  Reply With Quote

Old 11-13-2012   #3
jolly good dog Robert
rhl-oregon's Avatar
rhl-oregon is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,537

Bill et al, I just corrected the Amazon link--the asterisk at the end invalidates it. This link should work. Great stuff, thanks.

Robert Hill Long
Eureka California USA

Robert Hill Long Tumblr

  Reply With Quote

Old 02-18-2013   #4
Registered User
newspaperguy's Avatar
newspaperguy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Southern Maryland US of A
Age: 86
Posts: 1,526
Terrific, Bill!

Thank you.
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.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-18-2013   #5
Red Rock Bill
Registered User
Red Rock Bill is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Gallup,New Mexico
Posts: 179
Well Amazon and I thank you...Bill
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-18-2013   #6
Registered User
charjohncarter's Avatar
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 7,746
Seems like a guy with a lot of talent. I checked his images on my search engine, and there was lots of good stuff. Thanks for bringing him to my attention, I had never heard of him.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-18-2013   #7
robklurfield's Avatar
robklurfield is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: New Jersey, USA
Age: 58
Posts: 7,868
I was slightly familiar and very enamored with Grace's work before now. Bill thanks for shedding some more light on the work he did that was "off to the side," where, quite often, the real action is happening. And, you are absolutely right about keeping a smallish camera at hand.
rob klurfield

blog: http://hemi-sphericalaberration.blogspot.com/

google +: gplus.to/robklurfield

"I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
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.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-19-2013   #8
robert blu
quiet photographer
robert blu's Avatar
robert blu is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Italy
Age: 68
Posts: 4,813
I have to admit I didn't know him and his work, which from a fist glance seems me very interesting. I'm just asking myself how the two children from pictures 8 (sons of the organic farmers) look like today, 36 years later. This is part of the magician of photography. Thanks for the link.
Remember: today is the Day !
from Ruth Bernhard recipe for a long and happy life

my quiet photographer's blog

My RFF photos and my albums on RFF
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-19-2013   #9
E. D. Russell Roberts
Ezzie's Avatar
Ezzie is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 2,717
Thanks Bill. Brilliant stuff. Need to look him up.

RF: Leica M4-2 | Royal 35-M | Polaroid 110A/600SE hybrid
VF: DIY 4x5 | DIY 6x17 | Voigtländer Vito CL | Foth Derby | Welta Weltix | Smena Symbol | Lomo'Instax
SLR: Canon EF | Pentacon SIX | Pentax SP1000 | Pentax SV
TLR: Rolleiflex 2.8E3 | DUO TLR
CSC: Fuji X-E1
Pinhole: 6x17 Vermeer | ONDU 6x6 | DIY 4x5 | DIY 6x24

My Flickr
Silver Halides - Pictures in B&W
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-19-2013   #10
Registered User
oftheherd's Avatar
oftheherd is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,721
Thanks for the links. Fascinatihng.
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-19-2013   #11
Registered User
paulfish4570's Avatar
paulfish4570 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Lapine, in deep south Alabama
Age: 66
Posts: 9,940
thank you much for the links ...
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind ...
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-19-2013   #12
Registered User
seakayaker1's Avatar
seakayaker1 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,915
Thanks for the link, enjoyed the photographs and the article!

Life is Grand! ~~~ Dan
M Monochrom ~ M-P (240), M6 TTL & MP ~ Mamiya 7 II ~ GF1 ~ K5IIs
~ Rolleiflex f3.5 with Carl Zeiss 75mm Planar (type 4) ~
The hardest part of starting a new project is starting it ~ Keith Carter
Flickr Sets: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/
  Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:51.

vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.