Leica 100 | A Tribute to the Past 100 Years of Images | NSFW

"Not every famous photograph was taken with a Leica. But they were all taken thanks to Leica."

The German camera brand on Wednesday unveiled this incredible new ad from Brazilian agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first Leica camera and the opening of Leica Gallery São Paulo in November. The message is conveys is powerful, but is not exactly a humble one.

Leica helped to move photography out from the studios and into real life. And so, in a way, it made possible every photo you've ever seen that captures real, unscripted, unposed life. To celebrate this, the two-minute spot recreates some 35 famous photos of spontaneous moments—and it does so delightfully and beautifully.

The spot is best watched at full screen. May also be NSFW due to brief nudity.

[Via AdWeek]

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17 Comments

"Not every famous photograph was taken with a Leica. But they were all taken thanks to Leica."

Huh? So the brownie and the view camera don't count?

Jaron Schneider's picture

The Brownie didn't appear till 1955. The View Camera isn't "portable" and did not allow for snapshots or quick, in the moment photography. The original 35mm film Leica prototypes were made in 1913, and revolutionized how photos could be taken. I think it's safe to say the Leica came first.

But in all seriousness, as much as this commercial is not humble and very braggy, they kind of deserve to do it. They created the mobile photographer and what we see as photography today. Even studio photography as it is would not be possible without Leica.

**Edited to remove the long angry rant.

I'm willing to give them credit and to accept some rhetoric, but I think they have stepped over the line on this one. The Brownie was first introduced in 1900 and is widely credited as the turning point between studio photography and consumer photography. That is more in line with the claim as the camera that took photography "out of the studio" and made "snapshots possible". There are also several photos in their recreations that were actually taken by press cameras (another portable camera that pre-dates Leica). The most famous is probably the flag raising on Iwo Jima which was taken by a Speed Graphic and Migrant Mother which was taken with a Graflex. Both of those cameras are descendents of view cameras and their origins pre-date Leica by two years.

Yes, Leica changed and even created a lot of modern photography, but what they do in this ad is ridiculously over the top. You can call it braggy. I call it false. Other cameras, both portable and tripod bound, have made lots of famous photos before and since Leica first introduced its own version.

I also see real problems with this in conjunction with other recent marketing from Leica. For instance, M magazine which was introduced a few days ago, to me,takes photos created by famous Leica users and re-brands them as "Leica photos". This is not only crass, it also seems to give the camera credit for photos taken by some of the geniuses in the field. And, I'm not sure some of the photographers in that magazine would approve (just as I'm pretty sure most of the ones depicted here would either, not to mention the manufacturers that actually produced the equipment used). Now Leica wants to take credit for photos that weren't even made with their cameras, including some that pre-date them!

Even in the marketing world, that is BS.

**update: The one positive to this article is that I have been drawn to do more research on Leica. The first prototype 35mm was designed in 1913, but it was not put into production until 1925. Not exactly the narrative they are pushing here.

Whether the claims of "reinventing" street or documentary photography have merit, this is an extremely effective ad. If not for the recreated iconic imagery, then also for the bold controversial message it conveys.

Leica is important, but they are way overstating their importance. "The most iconic images in history... were taken because of a Leica."

Imagine another brand saying that. "Everything you drink, you drink it because of Coca-Cola."

Michael Rapp's picture

It saddens me that a so famous brand like Leica (now guess which country I'm from...) so completely misses the mark regarding customer's needs.
The cameras still set benchmarks regarding technical excellence, but now they are insanely expensive to the point that the people who buy them don't need them. (People who need them buy Fuji instead....) I'm very pesimistic about Leica turning the ship around in time to find a broader market than the rich man's toyzone.

Dylan Howell's picture

eh.. but M3's and M2's are so cheap these days, why bother with the new stuff :)

La Vida Leica's picture

A lot more info on this video here, including the photographs recreated:

http://lavidaleica.com/content/new-leica-100-videoadvertisement

Fabian Pourmand's picture

Remember they didn't invent photography... but they invented "photography" Loved that!

Mark Fore's picture

I love Leica's new marketing for one, they are in my opinion the coolest brand in the world. Everything from their design to the technology they are the best. They cost a lot of money for a reason, but someday I will own one :)

I have a friend who runs a vineyard for one of the famous Californian brands. After a couple of drinks, she told me that there are three factors to pricing wine: rarity, production cost, and what the marketing team says they can sell it for.

Leicas aren't rare... that only leaves two reasons.

Mark Fore's picture

Comparing wines to cameras is not a very good metaphor. They have the best glass in the business, look up how Leica's are made and you might change your mind about them.

Then that would be production cost.... or something they could market.

My only point is that cost does not always equal "value". Prices are usually somewhat arbitrary based on what the market will bear or what it costs to put it together, not how good or bad it is. Although some times the market says it's good enough to warrant that cost, but not always.

Hyperbole and ego at it's worst.

I'm not going to argue (and don't have enough information to do so) that the Leica company didn't help to advance street photography, or encourage different genres to move into the streets. But to take credit for the vision, or at least the reasoning and creative impulse behind the vision, of some of the best photographers over the last 100 years is just too much.

If it was shot with a Leica, fine. Even if it was shot by someone who usually used Leica, fine. Otherwise, you're entering into the argument of whether gear is more important than vision. Sure technological advances can seed genius, but one single company is responsible? Not possible. Leica rangefinders didn't make it to worldwide consumption until the 50's.

If any of those photos aren't in public realm yet, I'd sue if I was the estate of . . . .

La Vida Leica's picture

We have archived the video on our Youtube channel!

http://youtu.be/DMkQQSt6d8s

La Vida Leica's picture

You're welcome, guys. ;)

Chris Blair's picture

Loved the video. Also, not sure if it was supposed to be comedic, but I found it pretty funny as well.