100 Years of the Leica Camera

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100 years of the Leica camera

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In 1914 optical engineer Oskar Barnack was working for Ernst Leitz when he designed the very first Leica, the Leitz Camera, or so-called Ur-Leica. The small handheld camera, one of the first to use 35mm film, finally went into production in 1925 following a long delay caused by World War One. It went on to revolutionise photography in the hands of the first photojournalists who set out to record the world on the brink of change.

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100 years of Leica, 100 years of history: The Hindenburg conquers the skies, the Russians conquer Berlin, and James Dean conquers the hearts of women. Always on the spot at such decisive moments were photographers who had an eye for the visual impact of the scene – and a Leica in their hands.

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LZ 129 “Hindenburg” at its mooring mast at Rhine-Main airport, Dr. Paul Wolff and Alfred Tritschler, 1936

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1953. “The Painter of the Eiffel Tower”, Paris. Marc Riboud / Magnum Photos

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New York, Ernst Leitz II, 1914

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Flood in Wetzlar, Oskar Barnack, 1920

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Self-portrait in mirrors, Ilse Bing, 1931

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Oskar Barnack at his workplace, Julius Huisgen, 1934

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Sunday on the banks of the river Marne. 1938. Photograph: Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

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Death of a Loyalist Soldier , Robert Capa, 1936

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Harlem race riots, New York, 1964.Photograph: Neil Libbert

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Normandy, 6 June 1944. Photograph: Robert Capa/Magnum Photos

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South Vietnamese forces follow terrified children, including nine-year-old Kim Phuc, centre, as they run down Route1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places on 8 June 1972. Photograph: Nick Ut/Associated Press

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Hyeres, 1932. Photograph: Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

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2000. New York City. From his phototoons series.Elliott Erwitt

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Portugal, 1976. Photograph: Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos

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Children in the gorbals, Glasgow, 1948. Photograph: Ben Hardy/Hulton/Getty

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Overcrowded housing in London’s Elephant and Castle in 1948. Hardy modified his Leica so it would perform better in low light conditions. Photograph: Ben Hardy/Hulton/Getty

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Sailor kissing the nurse’, New York, 14 August 1945. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

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42nd Street, New York City, 1960. A long-time Observer photographer, Neil Libbert used a Leica M3 camera with a 35m Summicron lens. Photograph: Neil Libbert

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Caravan park in Kerry, 2013. Photograph: John Naughton

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Russian soldiers flying the Red Flag, made from table cloths, over the ruins of the Reichstag in Berlin, 1945. Photograph: Yevgeny Khaldei/Getty Images

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Girl with Leica, Alexander Rodchenko, 1934

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London, Inge Morath, 1953

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Guardia Civil, W. Eugene Smith, 1950

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Self-portrait, UMBO (aka Otto Umbehr), 1952

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New York, Louis Stettner, 1954

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James Dean on Times Square, Dennis Stock, 1955

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Regular guest at the Cafe Hawelka, Vienna, Franz Hubmann, 1956–57

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The dwarf , Bruce Davidson, 1958

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The stolen sword, Robert Lebeck, 1960

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Che Guevara, Alberto Korda, 1960

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Wild horses in Kenya, Professor Ulrich Mack, 1964

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1966. Chicago, IL. Muhammad Ali, boxing world heavy weight champion showing off his right fist. Thomas Hoepker-Magnum

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Man with bandage, Fred Herzog, 1968

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New York City, Elliott Erwitt, 1974

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San Cristobal, Rene Burri, 1976

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Swimming pool designed by Alain Capeilieres, Martine Franck, 1976

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Waterloo (from the “Roots” cycle), Harry Gruyaert, 1981

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England , Gianni Berengo Gardin, 1977

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From the “Feine Leute” cycle , Herlinde Koelbl, 1985

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Under a grudging sun , Alex Webb, 1986–1988

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Perfect peace , Kai Wiedenhofer, 1994

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Sidewalk , Jeff Mermelstein, 1995

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1998. JAPAN. Asakasa. George Abe, right, an ex-Yakuza member and celebrity writer. Yakuza model themselves on American gangster fashion from 1950s. Bruce Gilden/ Magnum Photos

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Hollywood Beach (from the “American Colors” cycle) , Constantine Manos, 2006

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Vertigo (from the “Silenzio!” cycle), Francois Fontaine, 2012 (Courtesy A. Galerie, Paris)

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1932. Paris, France. Place de l'Europe. Gare Saint Lazare. Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Ulan Bator, Mongolia, 2012 Jacob Aue Sobol, Magnum

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1960. Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rene Burri

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American soldiers dash for a helicopter at Khe Sanh in 1968 in a picture taken by David Douglas Duncan on the record-breaking Leica

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Parade Hoboken, New Jersey 1955, Robert Frank

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Untitled, 1963, Larry Clark

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Spain, Andalucia. Seville. 1933. Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991, Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images/nbpictures

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Santa Monica, California. 1955. Elliott Erwitt Magnum Photos

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1976. Marlon Brando fascinated by a dragonfly, Apocalypse Now, Pagsanjan, Philippines. Mary Ellen Mark 

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Main street of Corleone, Sicily, 1959. Sergio Larrain

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end cast 100 years of the Leica camera images and text credit www. Music Vargo created olga.e. thanks for watching 1914....The Big Bang, Oskar Barnack invents the Ur-Leica