Our promise to you, our Canadian friends, during this 150th year of Canada: We will not engage in vulgarity or divisiveness. We will always revel in honest, upbeat stories about the indefatigable human spirit and the beauty and importance of photography, our favourite vocation and avocation. Despite all the madness in this world and the events south of the border, at our core we remain purely Canadian; optimists who really do believe in altruism, kindness, and respect.
Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers,
Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.
Repositioning the SL: Less Dollars = More Sense
It was a slow day in June when an email from Leica management appeared in my inbox. It began with the predictable marketing babble about commitment to quality, solidifying the company’s position in the professional market, its rich heritage and exciting future. I glanced down a few lines and then read something I had never anticipated seeing: Leica was slashing the price of an item that was still in production and very much a part of its future lineup.
Since its introduction, the SL was an amazingly capable camera. Its strengths include the best, bar none, electronic viewfinder in the industry. Its eye relief, sharpness and pixel count resonate with quality. It is a remarkable full-frame mirrorless equipped with the most versatile camera mount on the market, accommodating practically any lens in the German and Japanese repertoires. A nonpareil 24MP full-frame sensor working in tandem with the superior Maestro III processor produces unparalleled files in terms of dynamic range and sharpness.
“But wait! There’s more!” The Leica SL breathes new life into M lenses. Using its superior EVF and focus peeking, it permits the photographer to confidently take full advantage of their special qualities. Even the most critical photographers rave about its performance, especially with traditionally difficult-to-focus optics like the Noctilux and 90mm Summicron.
I urge you to drop by the boutique to experience this newly affordable take on Leica photography.
Leica TL2: This Time, T Stands for Terrific
Perhaps it’s a case of third time's a charm, but this latest iteration of Leica’s APS-C mirrorless camera just gets it right. It shares the same lens mount as its bigger brother, the SL, as well as the 24MP sensor, but in APS-C size. The TL2 – the third generation of the über-modern, sleekly designed original T – is equipped with the most intuitive, user-friendly interface of any camera. Paired with the SL, it is part of a powerful mirrorless system. The APS-C sensor gives it extra reach for nature photography while its compact form makes it an ideal travelling companion.
We are expecting our first delivery in early September.
Immediate Delivery of the M10 in any Colour You Want, as Long as its Black
After being introduced in Wetzlar with great fanfare in September 2016, shortly afterwards all went quiet in the shipping department at Leica. We would sporadically receive a few cameras, but not enough to dent the formidable waiting list that had kept growing since last autumn.
In June, deliveries became more regular and finally, the waiting list is nearly gone, at least for what were the most in-demand bodies finished in black. Now, the silver-finished M10 is in short supply! Here’s the lay of the land: if you’re looking for a black M10, delivery is immediate. Silver? You may have to wait a few weeks.
Stanley Greene: Courage and Conviction
We lost a giant of the medium. A founding member of Noor Photo Agency, winner of five World Press Awards, recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, once a member of the Black Panthers, Stanley Greene had earned a reputation as a consummate war photographer and much more. Photographing the attempted coup against Boris Yeltsin in 1993 from within the Russian White House; working as a fashion photographer in Paris in the mid 1980s; witnessing the Rwandan genocide in 1994; documenting the rise of San Francisco’s punk music scene in the 1970s; in Chechniya, Iraq, Somalia, or the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, his images were raw, real, heartfelt and direct. In his autobiographical monograph, Black Passport, he states: “Photography is my language, and it gives me the power to tell what otherwise is not told. Eugene Smith told me vision is a gift, and you have to give something back. He haunts me like that. It’s not the bang-bang that compels me. It never was. At the end of the day, it is not about death; it is about life.”
After battling cancer for several years, he passed away in Paris, where he was based. Stanley Greene was 68 years old.
Ready for Prime Time: Zoom Documentary Photo Festival
It may fly below the international radar, but not for too much longer. With over 25 exhibitors, talks and workshops, it’s Canada’s largest event featuring documentary photography. Held from October 18 thru November 12 in Saguenay, QC (200 kilometres north of Quebec City and an easy day drive from Montreal), Zoom will host new and exciting creations from photographers in unique venues including the very impressive La Pulperie de Chicoutimi regional museum. Past exhibits have included pioneering work by Yoanis Menge, Roger Lemoyne and Hubert Hayaud.
I’m happy and proud to say that Camtec Photo will sponsor the Human Nature Award and I will personally be attending. Look forward to having our paths cross.
Get The Book! Bill Allard Redux
As you are probably aware, this past spring, legendary photographer William Allard both hosted our M Vision Atelier and presented his extraordinary work in an unforgettable evening of great photography and amusing anecdotes. Bill also made available for purchase signed copies of his five-decade retrospective book, with an archival 8 x 10 print of a photo from the book. Only 2 remain. This makes a gift that will always inspire and spark the creativity in anyone interested in photography and human nature. The text, also by Bill, is as enthralling as his photographs.
Le strade della Puglia e della Sicilia
Bill Allard regaled us with story after story from his illustrious career behind the camera. After hearing him recount his explorations of the narrow streets and laneways in the Basque region of Spain and France, his descriptions found resonance weeks later as Rita and I walked (and walked) through the small towns and villages of the sun-drenched southern tip of Italy.
We stepped into a world caught between old habits and new technology. But rather than witness the demise of one and the rise of the other, we watched with interest a melding of the two. There is a timelessness and a recognition of history as seen through the unchanged rugged terrain, age-old roads and architecture from a bygone era, as well as a healthy appetite for whatever is trendy and of the moment. Kids still play on the street, but now there is an iPhone in their hands. People of all ages still gather on corners, in alleyways and squares to meet and converse, albeit with smartphones at the ready.
Call Us Canadians
For many years, Daniel Wiener has been my co-conspirator in creating this newsletter. At the request of one of his clients, Calgary-based Wallace & Carey Ltd., every 6 weeks he publishes a blog with a highly unusual mandate: “Use Canada as your canvas and Canadians as your subjects to capture the essence and values of our company, without showing it, its employees, or any of its activities.”
With that directive, you can imagine the eclectic nature of his images. His most recent post is dedicated to showing Canadians as we are. Principally photographed in July, he found many of his subjects and locations around our fair city. I think you will be both pleased and impressed about who we are at 150 years of nationhood.
We’ve been friends for a long time. Now we are also pals!
After much demand and many requests, you can use your PayPal account to pay for your purchases online.
Always looking forward to your comments.
Jean Bardaji and Daniel Wiener