Sunday, 18 October 2015

Leica 1 -1929 Spring redecoration,paint stripping- but not replacing.

I have had a problem adding fresh photographs so have decided to rewrite this post to introduce a fresh view.  I acquired a Leica I with a number in the 15xxx range that lacked an infinity lock and had a 'solid' pattern focus button.   However it also had  an Elmar with no rangefinder ring and no trace of any number even after removing the baffles. Both flange and lens bear the magic 'o' engraving and a depth of field ring is fitted retained by one grub screw.  I guess that it may have come from either the very first of the standard run of cameras with a defined lens / film measure.  However the serial number on the body is low and the body could have been updated at some point.

As received the camera body was refinished in flat black house paint with brush marks all over.  This paint was removed over several days with Acetone and water mixture and a flat chisel like tool made of a wooden chop stick.  The accessory shoe had to be removed to complete cleaning but in time the original worn enamel was revealed.  Removal of the accessory shoe will loosen the upper internal shutter baffle,  so be warned and avoid this if possible.  All I want now is an authentic viewfinder as the original has gone. The bright line Leica finder I am forced to use is from about 25 years later than the camera.The shutter runs well and I hope
to post some results shortly.

However, since my original post on this camera I have been pleased to hear from Geoffrey Rivett,  a long time Leica enthusiast who has sent me the following photo of his earlier camera S/N  10xxx. Note the infinity stop clearly visible,  often called the' Hockey Stick 'and of course this one has its fine optical finder.
Finally,an admission,I actually prefer a worn brassy finish to amateur restoration but all fall short of a mint original!

Friday, 16 October 2015

'Must See' film for Leica fans-'LIFE'

Image result for dennis stock
If,like me, you haven't been near a Cinema for years you might like to start a catch up by viewing the new film from Anton Corbijn ,himself a 'film' user, dealing with a few weeks in the short life of James Dean.
 Dennis Stock of Magnum spent these weeks with Dean in the winter of 1955 partly on the Dean family farm in Indiana during a snow covered winter.  The film covers the build up to the iconic issue of Life magazine containing a classic photo essay marking the premiere of  East of Eden and Stock's Leicas are in almost every scene. He seems to be using an early M3 with a f2.0 Summicron of the collapsable type but also a 111f and an Elmar in places and a bulb flash gun. Well worth a viewing.

After preparing this note I realised I had a copy of  'James Dean Revisited' by Dennis Stock published, in UK, at least by Plexus in 1986, ISBN 0-85965-175-4,  containing the original photographs that have been studied closely to produce the film sets. In particular the Farm scenes,the High School Dance, and those including the tractor have been faithfully reproduced on the screen.

The work produced by Dennis Stock is of a very high quality, probably on fast film stock and in adverse lighting, he only resorts to flash in a night situation, It is interesting that several photographs of Dean in a barbers shop appear in the book, but the script has his Magnum editor reject those, which stimulates the farm visit. In the event,in real life the barbers shop photos are,I think, among the most popular. 
Stock and his son as portrayed in a positive light in the film and reputedly on far better terms than actually applied at the time.A most revealing link is to a discussion with Anton Corbijn at