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You would be hard-pressed to find a camera system more responsible for the capture of poignant world events than the Leica rangefinder. There is a particular beauty in the concept of “one human” on a mission to document, tell stories, and preserve history. I love to dream that somewhere out there, right this very second, someone like Emile Ducke is carrying on this tradition. And Leica, well, my story with this brand goes back to the beginning of my time with a camera.

Ducke ( The pronunciation of his name is beyond me.) is a winner of the Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award for 2021 and he is deserving. I bring this film to your attention for a variety of reasons. When I find something online, something of value, I want to bring it to your attention because films like this, projects like this, and support like this aren’t as common as you would imagine. So when someone does something good, part of my job is to shine a light. Story, context, history, persistence, and vision. Man, what’s not to like. LOBA

Comments 14

  1. Thanks again for highlighting Ducke and that reward. I thought it was a great interview. Seeing his work is humbling. I see it, and I think man, I’d like to do that, and I realize I’m not much better now than I was 5 years ago when I was saying man, I’d like to do that. I think part of it is the obstacles we throw in our own paths, but there’s also a huge investment of commitment, persistence, discipline, etc. I also thought a lot of his photos look like paintings, colors, light, and moods that I’ve never come close to getting in a photo. His photos are amazing, so bear with on this question – it’s not a criticism at all – is there any chance those images are straight out of the camera? (Again for the folks in the back – I’m not dissing the photos. I think darkroom work and the digital equivalent is an art.)

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      Probably close to what came out of camera. But everyone these days has their own recipe. Me, I’m too lazy and moving too fast.

  2. leica leica leica. i’ve been second shooting for an ex-photojournalist from south africa. love how he works but he let me use a Q one weekend. i bought one the following monday. it hasn’t left my neck since. there’s something special in how it makes you see along with leica pixie dust in the hardware. just an amazing camera.

    thanks for sharing this. it’s great work. his use of light and composition is stunning. it’s work that makes me work harder.

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      A friend has the Q2 and man it’s tempting. The 28 is too wide for me but otherwise, I’d probably have one. 35 or 50 is what I’m used to.

    2. I did not get a Q2. Found a like new used Q for half the price. Plus, I don’t need 47 megapixels. The 24 in the Q are more than enough.

      Like you, I very rarely go wider than 35. 35, 50 and 85 are my goto lenses. I wasn’t sure how the 28 would feel but wow. The Summilux glass is nothing short of incredible. Zero distortion and it doesn’t feel that wide.

      The camera is a joy to use. It’s pure photography. Simple. Minimal controls. Feels like an M even though it isn’t. For the way you work, you’d find it extremely satisfying.

      Plus, there’s just something about Leica’s processing in camera. The images are incredible and the B&W conversion is gorgeous. Such tones.

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  3. I clicked thinking this would be your Q2 unboxing and review of 12 hour real world use! I just have to ditto Sean above, I sold off my Fuji’s and got a Q2 and seriously its all I need, mostly, the 47mp does let me crop in and still have large enough files for A2 prints. It’s no good resisting Danno, you know you’ll get one!

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      I would love one. But not at that price and not with a 28mm. But the look and feel and the quality. Can’t argue with that.

    2. I just sent off two Canon bodies (1Ds MK III) to trade on a SL. For the way I’m working these days, I need to simplify. Carry less. Travel faster.

      I’m going to use Voigtlander M lenses on the SL. Getting back to basics in a way.

      I’m in the process of starting a couple of projects and can’t wait to just shoot on the Leicas. Really looking forward to it.

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  4. Hello Dan,
    Thanks for this post in bringing to attention the work of Emile Ducke. He certainly appears to be a talented young man with a great career path. I enjoyed looking at his work as well as reading the whole narrative and background on his projects.

    As far as Leica, and what it seems to mean in this evolutionized period in photography, I can’t help but look at the current fascination with Leica and wonder what drives this phenomenon. Frankly I think every Leica (even used film Ms) currently are over priced. Period. They have created this great effective marketing machine and are very good at it. Regardless, at the end of the day, the return on equity just isn’t there. If one were to truly look at Leica cameras, and I include the M film cameras as well, in a totally detached and objective way, it really makes little sense to choose them over other options, and here’s why from my personal experience.

    Back in the 1980s I bought a used M3 with a 50mm Summilux for 425.00 I believe at Oldens Camera in NYC.
    At that period in time, I recall a new Leica R4 price was just under a thousand bucks. A new M4 was around 800.00. Yes, the SLR cost more money back then over it’s counterpart M. Nowadays a used R4 is around 150 -200.

    Back then, the M was really nothing that special. Sure it was and is a great camera. I loved the weight/solidity/mass ratio. I used it a lot but at the same time I used the Nikon F3 just as much if not more. What I am saying is the M cameras were on this same playing field with other cameras. Sure, they have kept there market appreciation fairly well up to the digital era and then around 2005 to 2008, the price of film cameras just started dropping like a rock. Just Plummeted! Due to almost everyone lusting after the new fangled digital camera, amateurs and pros sold off their film cameras literally seemed like over night. I, being always in love with film photography and still am, I picked up couple of Rollei and Hasselblad medium format outfits for like 500 to 700 bucks and I mean outfits with lenses, accessories, etc.
    ALSO I bought an M6 WITH a 50mm Summilux (both in good condition) for 1050.00 from a pro photographer in Brooklyn. He just couldn’t wait to get the newest Canon MK whatever and really needed the money. That was in 2007 or 2008. I can’t exactly remember..
    But here’s the thing, I also shoot with Canon and Nikon S2 rangefinder even now. Far as I am concerned from a practical use and results, the Canon and Nikon rangefinders are equal to my Leica Ms. I still have the original M3 as well as the M6 and 4 lenses.

    We now come to today and here’s the thing, a used M3 body is 1500.00 – 2000 and it’s just a user condition, an M6 body is anywhere from 2500 to 3500.
    That is just crazy stuff! and why is that, well I believe the amateur market base of photographers thinks it’s cool and hip to be seen with a Leica M (digital or film). Youtube is full of photography “influencers” that spout off about the “Leica Mystique” and the “fairy dust” lens.
    And frankly, their actual photography work ( if you want to call it that) really kinda sucks. Sorry, gotta call it for what it is.
    So in my humble opinion, there you have it, the Leica fascination and it’s 40 year climb from a level field of value to now what I call the Veblen phenomenon.
    My 2 cents.

    Also wanted to say I love your style, works and your messaging you put out there in the universe versus, the ego driven, dollar chasing so called photographers (and so called “camera reviewer” out there in the internet/Social Media.

    BTW, I mostly shoot a Nikon D3 and a D3X (as well as the film cameras) and have been for the last 7-8 years. I see no need to change. Pixel peeping and gadget laden features and chasing after newer and newer cameras just ain’t for me. I really don’t see the point. The Nikons just keep working and more importantly, no latency, delays or fumbling around ever changing menus and buttons. They just work when you need them to work and the file outputs are fantastic.

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      Hey Alan,
      Yes, quite peculiar the fall and rise of analog equipment. My main Hasselblad, which was body, lens, back and finder, cost me $65 total. Total. It was during that digital frezy that caused the world to lose its mind. Now, that same kit would be thousands. Long live the hipsters and their need to have what looks cool. Someone is making off like a bandit.

  5. Hi Dan, thank you for caring about this.

    Even though I’d seen the film, your analysis motivated me to watch it again. My elementary German would pronounce his name “Ay-meel Doo-kuh” – a bit of research on the Apple Translate app confirms.

    Thanks for inspiring me to look at Catherine Leroy’s work again. Your French pronunciation is good.

    Merci, bonne année / Danke, frohes neues Jahr, und gutes Licht.


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