Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/10/29

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Subject: [Leica] HCB vs. modern lenses
From: Alexey Merz <>
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 14:04:24 +0000

- -Mark Walberg writes:
>So, I was looking through the HCB Aperture book last night, too - I've
>got it out from our local library.  I wonder how some of those pictures
>in there would look if taken with a current generation, sharp as my old
>barber's freshly stropped blade  Summicron, with every last bit of flare
>suppressed.  I think many of those pictures would still look great.
>However, there are definitely some that would suffer from all that 
>crisply rendered detail, which would distract your attention away from
>what makes some of these pictures great.

I think that a lot of us on this list own that, or other, HCB books.
Maybe it woud be interesting to be more specific? *Which* images would
be stronger with more detail, or with a lens displaying reduced spherical
aberration? While sharpness may be overrated, it's clear that a lot of
HCB's images work through the *regional* control of focus vs. out-of
- -focus and movement-blurred vs. frozen areas. The Aperture book contains 
abundant examples - the photo of the crowd surrounding the Pope, with that
one woman's passionate, almost crazed eyes completely dominating the 
photo - that image will be with me forever. The portrait of Matisse, with
its blurred foreground, is another. 

On the other hand, one of the last photos in the book, of the leg and 
fist jutting out of the prison cell, was clearly made with a more modern
lens, and I think it would be weaker if it were less harshly rendered.

- -Alexey
Alexey Merz | URL: | email:
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