Life Through A Lens

Inventors of the point-and-shoot camera, and tireless in their quest to improve them, Leica are the custodians of photo-reportage: a responsibility they take very seriously indeed.

Oskar Barnack, Flood in Wetzlar, 1920 © Leica Camera AG

“Shooting with a Leica,” as the late master of humanist photography Henri Cartier-Bresson put it, “is like a long tender kiss, like firing an automatic pistol, like an hour on the analyst’s couch.”

Indeed, Leica doesn’t simply make cameras: their wares are the conduit via which the souls of the world’s most gifted photographers, and their human subjects, connect.

Their story begins in 1914 when Oskar Barnack, an optical engineer at a local microscope maker, came to a halt on the cobbled streets of Wetzlar, a small metropolis in the German state of Hesse. Having briefly surveyed the building in front of him - one of the thoroughfare’s many half-timbered structures from the Middle Ages - he took a small device from his pocket, held it aloft and, in an instant, made photographic history. Photojournalism was born.

Published

January 2022

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