Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/08/06

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Subject: Re: [Leica] SNOBS ? Really . . .
From: Andre Jean Quintal <>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 17:34:36 -0400

At 08:34 -0700 06/08/98, F Baker wrote:
>Andre Jean Quintal  wrote:
>...These LEICA lenses provide stratospheric performance
>and reach such levels that, at one point, sooner or later,
>it's going to be YOUR move and I'm 100% sure you'll be enchanted by either
>model for a whole lot of reasons and the "feel", your needs and style too.
>Leica owners are the type of people who:

bla, bla, bla . . .

	No !  No !  No !

	Just wait a minute, here :

	1/ I will be that one LEICA owner who doesn't give much
		of a f - - - about any of the items you mentioned.
		"Henri" Cartier-Bresson was not exactly an aristo nor snob !
		Many of the great Leica photo masters were [ are ! ] shy
		and very, very good people .

	2/ I was trying, in my post,  to foster a spirit of independance
		and it's most likely the quote you chose to enhance cannot
		be proven false, even in the ultimate competitor's
		whatever labs...

		While providing FACTUAL info: i  C-H-A-L-L-E-N-G-E
		anyone to try the new Summilux 50mm f/1.4
		and not be AWED by his (her) OWN photos
		with it between f/5.6 to f/11, possibly f/16 too !
		COMPARED to ANYTHING else "normal"  !

		AFTER making it CLEAR a 50mm is NOT a priority
		for me. That "virtual", eventual new R-35mm ASPH, that's
		another story altogether :  Photokina ?
		The DISCRIMINANT TEST "subjective" method suggested
		remains valid, in any case, though.
		This new lens is DIFFERENT and it's not necessarily
		at the f/2, f/1.4 apertures it'll outperform the
		previous models; T-R-Y the "walk around town" test,
		just do it.
		Just try to get it to vignette.
		Juice out its M.T.F. curves .
		FEEL it's accurate mechanism.
		Go close range as bad as you want.
		Go "infinity" landscape. Throw anything "photo" at it.

	3/ I've sold expensive stuff most of my life and i know
		what a snob is. When it comes out, check out
		my book "Conspicuous Consumption" (English title
		not 100% definitive)...
		If you are a cynic or sarcastic person,
		you'll just LOVE it.
		However, I derive exitement from the stuff i recommend
		and i know i'm not b.s. and than an expert i'm not,
		until DEMONSTRATED relative value.

	4/ True, SOME f-e-w Leica customers, may "compensate" through
		a high status fetish camera, but you have to water down your
		statements at some point : there are a lot of good people
		who take-off on a beautifully crafted object such as a LEICA,
		if only to handle and feel the precision and quality,
		and appreciate the craftsmanship proper,
		rather than some gadgetry built there to help sell more.

		Further, when anything reaches fetish status,
		the sociologist / advertiser / sales manager
		in me takes darn good notice
		of the "how come" factors, DOUBLE TAKE !

		It's my sense of decency, too, to try and APPRECIATE
		the other persons' reasons or whatever, for enjoying
		Life MORE through such an exotic object as a Leica camera
		or a Parker pen or Bridgestone tires or icy Coca-Cola Classic
		with Yum-Yum Salt and Vinegar chips (my favorite junk !) or
		Acapulco Gold, Panama Red or a Fidel Castro cigar or beer
		or strictly whatever makes them happy
		and share their satisfaction and joy by empathy !

	5/ I've had just about everything i prized stolen and, as i rebuild
		my FEW possessions, i try to "go for" "true blue" stuff,
		no b.s. just-for-looks stuff thank you,
		and though it's way ABOVE my current means,
		after 42 years as a so-so amateur who REALLY enjoys
		photography [the art, the science, the history] ,
		photographic equipment and reading about
		either, tremendously, a Leica, would it be an old M4
(anytime ! ),
		is something i idealize and don't ever have to justify
		to other people or be apologetic of
		in the least fashion whatsoever.

		It may get stolen, possibly, but it sure won't be to show
		it off, as such, that i'll get one in the first place,
		because, basically, i'm a Fuck The World person,
		though i often wear a nectie to my "passe" church
		out of respect for other people's sensitivities.

		A half-good audio system, my practical specialty, is also a
		priority. Not to show off or whatever: after all
		the b.s. i survived to get to be 49, it's my utmost pleasure,
		and i intend to get another one, not for the price nor brand:
		i am FULLY in a position to appreciate such, and most Music,
		in far more subtle ways than most, much as some
		people "take-off" on $50, $100, $250, $1,000 bottles of
		five star oenophile class wines, which is way beyond me,
		probably. A glass of fresh water from a surging spring is
		100% fine with me.

	6/ It's far from proven that ALL Leica folk are conformist
		dimwits who wouldn't know the difference between
		the very items you so graciously chose as examples
		and cheap "in style" replacements would the price not be
		there to remind them they are buying into
		a Total Product deserving of their
		confidence and esteem !

		I'm  N-O-T a Leica advocate. I'm just adamant that people
		who CAN enjoy such a wonderful privilege be allowed to
		with a minimum measure of mutual respect.

		That their photography is not museum grade
		is totally, absolutely irrelevant.
		What matters is: in this crazy world of ours,
		are we, the "others", ready to allow other people
		to try and find something they can relate to
		in a happy, fun, appreciative way, even if we think such
		a product is a stinking pile of c . . ., without
		EVER having tried the stuff, conjuring repressed and
		twisted product envy in such an ill-advised scornful
		attitude ? Or toxic prejudice ?
		... Rather than provide a friendly "go ahead try it for
		yourself -- it's a wonderful product" supportive environment
		and sharing the exitement and gratification.

		You (and others) have to realize, at some point,
		that some Leica people work like the devil
		most of the time, barely get to enjoy their
		15 room fancy home ( i live"low key" in a 2 1/2 room apartment
		but live better, in many ways, than most
		billionaires -- and sleep much better -- but what i let go
		of, sometimes real heavy, few would ever dare to . . . ),
		or car, IBM ThinkPad 770, good bike or whatever.

		I for one, usually am at my desk
		at 5 AM, if not 4 ! very often, and have been writing
		and producing a whole lot of stuff that's costing
		me my previous status and any luxury or consideration
		i have ever enjoyed or just about,
		and a lot of high brow even-handed innuendii .
		When my work comes out
		(the first copies are now coming in, in the UK )
		i'll reap the well-deserved rewards, God willing,
		and a Leica camera is a thing i have (really ! ) envisioned
		my early teens but never got around to enjoy
		[ I barely dared ask to hold that black M4, very, VERY
clear memory
		of a "sacred" experience from my photo fantasyland
		at Skinner & Nadeau, a "classic" high end local boutique then;
		it's REALLY as clear as writing this line, 35 years
later... ] :
		not for the object proper: for what i ASSOCIATE
		in the way of good photography with such fine equipment,
		plus as an eminent emblematic reward
		to so much that remains untold,
		and as a tool that consistently delivers on its promise of
		would it be the very last photo i get to snap before i die !

		There are holes in my (clean) everyday clothes and my shoes
		don't make sense, but a Leica R-8 i'm gonna get,
		before this coming Christmas,
		would it be the last statement i make in the way
		of a grateful and thankful thought
		to my Creator and Provider !
		... And Ernst Leitz.

		When you eventually realize how bad i want a Leica,
		both as a wonderful camera and WHAT IT STANDS FOR
		to me, as a human being, and get to read and hear
		and appreciate the results of my stubborn hard headed
		single pointed life long work and sweat, please let me enjoy
		the damn thing and grant me the benefit of the doubt
		in the way of superficial snobbery and keep your prejudice
		to yourself, just this once, i beg ...
		Because i'm one of those who has already earned
		the very last screw of his prized Leica,
		ten, twenty, fifty times over !

		And i hope the many decent people who enjoy be it what it may
		who eventually get to read this post realize i am with
		them, not above them or whatever,
		that we are all free creative human beings,
		that the price we pay often strictly has nothing to do
		with money, and that we have the inborn right
		to "display" a Leica, even a "Buphimol" 22k Gold Leica M,
		as a token, a trophy to our hard work, sometimes years worth
		stolen and credit taken from us (ask me ! ),
		sometimes through some pretty heavy "life experiences",
		for as long as 10, 20, 30, 40 years' night and day dedication
		and focussed, unrelenting integrity and self-sacrifice.

		The few who may, possibly, fit the shoes of the type
		of comics you talk about, i don't have time to waste for,
		and they'd most probably despise me and my kind anyway,
		by long experience,
		(since i deliberately don't play into their little games
		and let them go their way and follow mine anyhow )
		would it be for their glorious associative
		self-importance !

		Be it what it may to any such whatever-you-call-'em,
		a black Leica R-8 i'll get and enjoy before i die, dammit.
		A Canadair Challenger 604E or a Dufour 56CC Prestige sailboat,
		a peaceful lakeside cottage with a fireplace
		or a gialle modeno Ferrari 350 'GTS'
		maybe not, recognition and status probably not [do i care ! ]
		But a Leica ? OH YES !

		The price i will have paid, you strictly have no idea of !

		Most truly yours,

		Andre Jean Quintal

Love one another.
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