Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/12/29

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Photo books under the tree?
From: Carl Pultz <>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 15:01:13 -0500

Wade wrote:

"That said, I'm just about to start "Now Let us Praise Famous Men", both for
the photographs and for the controversial Ageeian prose."

Ugh. Good luck. I think Evans was the better writer. Worth reading is: And 
their children after them : the legacy of Let us now praise famous men, 
James Agee, Walker Evans, and the rise and fall of cotton in the South by 
Dale Maharidge & Michael Williamson. They go back in the early '80s to find 
out what happened to the families and get at some of the effect Famous Men 
had on them. Good photos, excellent reportage.

I've just finished Robert Doisneau, A Photographer's Life, by Peter 
Hamilton. There was a great shooter who was articulate and wrote very well, 
judging by the translations. For years the French wouldn't publish a book 
of photos unless a writer was involved. Doisneau had several projects fail 
because of problems with authors, and Hamilton was convinced that Doisneau 
would have done fine writing text of his own. Like Evans's NYC, in Paris 
photographers and writers shared the same scene and there was a 
cross-pollination of ideas between them.

On topic: There is a very informative appendix describing his equipment and 

Doisneau: "As soon as I could get hold of equipment that allowed me to work 
in low light (1952) ... I wanted to try it out in some experiments...The 
first photos weren't very good. They were done with the 50mm (Summitar on a 
IIIc) and it's lens hood, which wasn't to brilliant because you can see 
some flare around the edges of the frame."

Hamilton: "But although he used this new camera (M3) for a considerable 
amount of work, Robert confided to the author ... that he always found the 
camera slightly difficult to work with, because with lenses longer ... than 
50mm ... the rangefinder focusing (was) less than ideal."

He was a master of the Rolleiflex, but in late years favored R5s.

I got that book from the library. No books under the tree this year 
:-(  I'd asked Santa for a copy of Eggleston's Guide which has just been 
reprinted (the pictures are kind of somber looking in this new addition - 
disappointingly flat, even though I thought the original was too garish) or 
a copy of Szarkowski's gorgeous volume of Atget. I love the classics.


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