Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/06/07

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Subject: Margaret Bourke-White
From: (Patrick Sobalvarro)
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 1996 18:14:52 -0400

    Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 01:27:36 -0400
    Subject: Fred has a valid point of view.

    I just saw an old book of photographs by Margaret
    Bourke-White. The photographs were wonderful and I am sure that
    she did not have a 35mm ASPH lens. In fact, I believe that she was
    using Contax a lot.

When I was in high school taking pictures with my Olympus 35S
rangefinder that I had bought used with the pennies I'd saved from my
paper route, and lusting after the Leicas for sale in the used camera
store next door to my school, I found Margaret Bourke-White's
autobiography, "Portrait of Myself" to be quite an inspiration.  But I
remember her using 4x5 and sometimes larger equipment (I admit I
haven't read the book in quite a long time -- I'll have to dig it up).

Speaking of flare, using modern Leicas I had forgotten what flare
really was until I dug out some old Kodachromes I shot with that
Olympus when I was in high school.  It had a nice sharp lens with
pleasing, if perhaps oversaturated color rendition, but it suffered
severely from flare even when I was only photographing something white
and brightly lit against a darker background.  I've never seen
anything like that out of a Leica lens.

Incidentally, my own position on the recent Leica-users debate about
whether those of us who aren't pros should buy fancy lenses is, I like
taking pictures, and I also happen to love using well-engineered
machinery.  I like it whether it's a mechanical watch, or a well-made
motorcycle, or a milling machine.  I would still take pictures if all
the cameras in the world were Kodak Fun Savers.  But it's just an
added bonus that beautifully-made mechanical cameras exist, so I can
combine two of my great pleasures in life.

-Patrick Sobalvarro