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1/ 2011 January

Leica Fotografie international



andré lützen night descends over hanoi

which system

what is leica’s product strategy?

beat presser dhow sailboats, an east african cultural legacy

André Lützen


Cold neon lamps, colourful street lights, and warm sunsets: André Lützen was particularly tantalized by Hanoi’s evening and night light. His alluring series includes images both surreal and cinematic.

BEat Presser


Dhows are built with robust mangrove wood, plenty of time, and a good sense of proportion. Swiss photographer Beat Presser dedicates a reportage to a rich legacy of sailing tradition.

Tech talk leica strategy


If Leica is taking the feed-back at photokina as a confirmation of its product strategy, what does it mean for R lens fans, and what could it mean for the future world of Leica systems? We take a look at where things stand right now, and speculate on where they might be heading.

leitz PRototypes


From the 0 series all the way to the half-format Leicaflex: a picture book reunites important museum pieces from the former Leica collection of Surat Osathanugrah, for one last time.

D-Lux 5


LiveView at eye level – more comfortable composition and classic photographing with the EVF1 electronic attachable viewfinder.

image creation


Part 4 of the workshop series with Torsten Andreas Hoffmann: a considered approach to the centre of the picture.

sections editorial / photo news






LFI readers’ gallery


preview / imprint


André Lützen: from the series ‘Public Private Hanoi’, 2010 (page 8) M system: the heart of a brand programmed to grow (page 24) Beat Presser: Dhow, Tanzania, 2009 (page 52)

André Lützen: from the series ‘Public Private Hanoi’, 2010

1/2011 LFI


Where inner and outer merge, where public spaces and private lives are hard to separate: André Lützen wandered as in a dream – a Leica M6 and a local translator his only companions. In the quiet labyrinthe of Hanoi’s dusk and night-filled streets, the stage was set for images both bizarre and ordinary, images that only the darkness of Asia could bring to light.

Public PrivatE Hanoi photography: andré lützen


LFI 1/2011

1/2011 LFI



LFI 1/2011

Everything in one bag – not only inside and outside merge, but also private lounge and bar. In addition, chances are you will find a motorcycle and air-conditioner next to the family’s ancestral portrait gallery

1/2011 LFI



LFI 1/2011

AndrÊ Lßtzen captures the illuminated darkness – at times warm, at times cold, at times natural, and at times artificial: one night in Hanoi with its many different faces

1/2011 LFI


tech talk system strategy

Bezeichnung Technik

S, M, X – and R? Leica views last Photokina as confirmation of their own decisions and product strategy. Since the current camera models prove to be such a success – is there any reason to shed tears about the end of the R system? Where is Leica heading? A speculative appraisal.

Despite the successful introduction of the S system and positive reception for the M9 and X1, Leica‘s clientele, in advance of and shortly after this year‘s Photokina, seem a tad over occupied with the one-thing that isn’t available. “In the last few months, the most often raised question has been – where is the solution to use the R lenses digitally?” says Leica‘s director of product management Stefan Daniel.

Disappointed love? The R topic is such a persevering force that it stands in peculiar contrast to the meaning of the R system’s general role in the SLR scene and compared to Leica‘s other products. It is all about the principle of the matter. It would not be suitable to leave loyal customers who have invested a fortune in R lenses out in the rain. Some have even begun to fantasize that the recent change in top management at Leica, prior to the Photokina, might have been down to the allegedly wrong historic decision (of the former company head), which the discontinuation of the R system is considered to be. It is easy to become identified with the disappointed reactions as it has only been two years since the announcement of an ‘R10’. Thus, it must have come as a complete shock when the entire R system was taken out of the program shortly after.


LFI 1/2011

This could only be palliated by the vague hope that there will be an introduction of a new line of autofocus lenses. Furthermore, there was the promise of an ‘adequate solution’ which occupied the fantasy for a while. It thus came as a complete anticlimax when during Leica‘s traditional Photokina pre-evening gala – which only two years ago had brought the sensational inauguration of the S2 – now revealed the following highlight: a dreamy new interpretation of the Leica M9, crafted by car designer Walter de’Silva, which admittedly offered nothing to the practical wishes of photographers and was initially positioned as a highly exclusive luxury item (by price and number) but which, on the other hand, can also be taken as evidence that Leica is determined to utilize the concept of the M as an object of continuous innovation. Leaving us staring into the future with eager anticipation.

Leica today The ultra-special M9 Titanium can be looked upon as a strategic emphasis on the significance of the core market and as a concentration of forces. Yet, traditional R customers will read this as rejection once again. However, this might well appear as a misinterpretation. Let‘s take a close look at the world of Leica‘s product range. With regards to the M9 serial model, the

With the S2, the M9 and the X1 Leica has set a course successfully – the empty position, that the parting with the R system leaves behind in the digital range will have to be filled with the existing concepts

1/2011 LFI


tech talk Leica history

NOOKY, SOOZI, OROLF and the others Items from the Leica collection of Surat Osathanugrah last shown in an opulent coffee-table book: Prototypes and test models, some of which have written photography history.

This book is just as unique as was speaking about. Surat handed over Surat Osathanugrah‘s passion for the editorial responsibility to Netopil collecting. The Thai photographer and the visual documentation to the and collector (and for the sake of photographer Eddie Siu. completeness: entrepreneur, politician For the scheduled new factory and patron), has gathered thousands of museum inside the newly developed historical cameras, lenses, accessories Leitz Park in Wetzlar, this collection and test models over the years. When would have been of inestimable value in 2003 Leica hit a financial low and in fact, Surat had planned to return New at the LFI bookshop: Prototype Leica. and decided to liquidate partially his purchases from 2003 to Leica for the Featured inside: the ‘secret camera’ with top plate lens, the ‘Hubmann rifle’, the M3 world famous items from the factory purpose of this exhibition. It can only pre-study Leica IV and much more museum in Solms, Surat took this be described as a chain of unfortunate opportunity and acquired the larger circumstances and misapprehensions part of the items on sale. Amongst others, his purchases that it never came to this, and now the artifacts from the included the only complete specimen of the Leica IV, which factory museum can be found inside the hands of Leicais a pre-study for the M3 from the 1930s, and the zero series aficionados all over the world. For the larger, yet not more camera No. 104, in addition to the prototype of the ‘Leica significant part of Surat Osathanugrah‘s collection, his family Rifle“ which was used by photographer Hans Hubmann will erect a permanent exhibition at the Bangkok University during the Olympic games in 1936. founded by Surat in the 1960s. In 2008, Surat died at the age of 78 due to blood poisoning. As a piece of luck for all lovers of Leica and its history, Lars Netopil, vice president of Leica Historica e.V., had known despite these sad circumstances, the documentation of Surat‘s Surat for many years and reported that he never felt well at the collection had already come to a close before it had been torn thought of keeping all the artifacts to himself, even though he apart forever. Lars Netopil was supported by Surat’s wife to was able to help the Leica company in this way. This lead him finish the book project, which had been put on ice for a while. to the decision to document his collection photographically The book titled ‘Prototype Leica. Items from the factory and publish the artifacts in a book like the one we are now museum and other important pieces from the collection of 40

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1/2011 LFI


tech talk image creation, part 4

Motifs in and aside the image centre When we consider a photograph to be great, it not only depends on the motif, but first and foremost on how intelligent the photographer has organized the motifs in the image. Our series concentrates on the most critical rules of composition needed for powerful images.

by torsten andreas hoffmann


LFI 1/2011

create symmetry. The filmmaker Andrej Tarkowski repeatedly emphasized the importance of symmetry and central image composition for an archaic, sacral pictorial effect. His movies ‘Nostalghia’ or ‘Solaris’ are haunting examples for the aesthetic force of this approach to image composition. Another way to utilize the centre sensibly is via the use of point perspective. The picture effect can be emphasized in such a way that the viewer‘s eye is drawn towards the middle of the picture, which causes the image to appear moving, making it very exciting to look at. Moreover, as we have seen before, the circular composition also causes an effect directed towards the centre of the image.

Concrete cube in the landscape Our first picture example is created through point perspective. All visible lines (of the concrete cuboid in the foreground) lead to the vanishing point in the middle of the image. The framework of the perspective is created through

1. A composition with one-point perspective draws the view into the depth of the background; here the view is ruptured at the same time 2. Here, all lines and elements help guide the line of sight from the picture entrance in the centre to the black space

Photos: Torsten Andreas Hoffmann,

Beginners, in particular, mostly place their motifs in the centre of the picture. This can sometimes be useful, but often happens without any consideration and results in images that lack tension. Every day millions of photos are taken in which, for example, so-called places of interest are shot without any awareness of the visual language, often placed simply in the middle, then on top of that are often much too small. Various art photographers have felt inspired to use this kind of composition programmatically in an attempt to poke fun at those photos. Even the camera most often rather tempts us to place the motif in the centre of the image as the focus helper is arranged in the centre of the viewfinder. However, in the interest of the appearance of the image, it is much more profitable to recompose the picture after focusing by taking the motif out of the middle and arrange it, for example, with two visual poles. Though, it is sometimes necessary to place items in the middle of the photo in order to for instance,

1/2011 LFI


In Search of

Sindbad photography: Beat Presser

Waves, fishermen and boat builders – Swiss photographer Beat Presser spent three months travelling the coast of Tanzania equipped with a Leica M6, researching the culture of dhow sailing ships. The result of his journey is a gentle homage to a part of Africa steeped in tradition.

The body of a dhow resembles a whale skeleton. In Nungwi, in northern Zanzibar, the boats are built following ancient traditions. Wood from the mangrove forests is used because it is salt water resistant


LFI 1/2011

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46 Part 4 of the workshop series with Torsten Andreas Hoffmann: a considered approach to the centre of the picture. 8 Cold neon lamps, colou...

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