Monday, April 22, 2019

Leica Fable

Oh my lolz.

So, Leica's ad agency in Brazil made a short video commercial touting Leica's past (its *distant* past) as the photojournalist's camera of choice*.

Said commercial featured photogs running around in sweaty Banana Republic safari apparel, snapping those Decisive Moment shots. The final scene has a photojournalist poking the lens of his Leica R6 at a gap in some hotel room drapes in 1989 Beijing, and the camera zooms in to show the famous Tank Man photo reflected in the business end of his Vario-Elmar.

There may be problems linking the video, because Leica pulled it when the Chinese government flipped its $#!+ and blocked everyone in China** from even being able to use the search term "Leica" on their side of the Great Firewall. I guess that cut into the sales of Safari Edition M10 cameras and Noctilux lenses to well-heeled would-be street photographers in Shanghai. It was downloaded and re-uploaded a couple of places, though.

The irony, here? Pretty much every Tank Man pic you're familiar with was shot on one variant or another of Nikon.

*Leica hasn't been relevant as a camera brand for working photojournalists since probably the mid '70s at the latest. Nikon's F-series SLRs more or less completely supplanted them in the latter decades of the last millennium, and Canon owns that market currently. I've joked at SHOT Show that if you see someone shooting with a Nikon or Canon DSLR, they're working press shooting stills. If they're shooting a Sony or Panasonic mirrorless, they're working press shooting video. If they're using a smartphone, they're a YouTube channel or Instagram influencer. If they're shooting a Leica? They're an orthodontist whose buddy has an FFL and got them a badge.

** Interestingly, out on this side of the Great Firewall, there are a number of comments from folks claiming to be patriotic Chinese who are incensed at Leica for glorifying those CIA-promoted terrorists at Tiananmen Square.