One hundred years ago something changed dramatically the course of photography…the first Leica was born. Leica took the camera out of the studio and placed it into real life. We were able to see, to feel, to smell…thousands of moments. It became an extension of the eye of the photographer. Joy, pain, ordinary things, fear, losers, winners, misery… The most iconic images in history, even the ones that weren’t taken with a Leica, were taken because of the Leica.

The Leica made photography accessible. It gave people the ability to augment real life, personally, by capturing the banal and the beautiful in one single shot. Not only that, it gave us a glimpse into how other people see the world, and a view of the world that we might never have been able to see with the naked eye.  Visual artist John Paul Caponigro explains: “Because of photography the world of images became more like the way we see it and our understanding of the world itself became less like the way we see it.”

One-hundred years on, photographs continue to transport us into unseen and unimaginable worlds. Images have power. “By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again,” said Robert Draper, contributing writer for the National Geographic. In much the same way that the Leica did in 1925, today the smartphone brings photography to the masses.

Who would have thought the marriage between a phone and a camera would be a match made in heaven? Who would want that? Everyone it seems. We’re now living in a digital world where millions of pictures are taken and uploaded online every minute. Everyone and everything is a subject. We document and authenticate our lives through taking photographs and sharing them online. ‘I was there’. ‘Look at me’.

Images still have power, but in a slightly different way. We use them to communicate and to share aspects of real life, thanks to Leica’s foresight in bringing the camera out of the studio and into our lives. And just like we have our own personal collections of photographs we covet dearly, the Leica has an impressive catalogue of photos that were recreated in a beautiful tribute by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi (Brazil), which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. The best film of 2014/15. Bravo Fabio. Bravo Leica.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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