Leica again. Somehow I missed this story by Deutsche Welle published last October. The German newswire spoke to Leica Camera CEO Alfred Schopf about the company’s comeback. You learn about some of its unbelievable management mistakes in the 70s, its first digital camera and the move back to Wetzler. An interesting short read on the comeback-kid company.
The story is a not only a nice lesson in photography history:
Leica helped pioneer the 35mm film format that took photography out of the movie studio and into the streets. The company owes much of its fame to Oskar Barnack, who built the first small, lighweight camera for snapping shots on cinematic film.
Leica nosedived and then rebounded:
In a world of digital cameras dominated largely by the Japanese, German brand Leica is alive and thriving — again.
All but swept away by an electronic revolution it couldn’t contain, the German camera pioneer is now successfully surfing the digital wave and making money.
In fact, the company ended its most recent fiscal year in August with record sales, up 60% to nearly 249 million euros. That may still be only a fraction of what Japanese rivals Canon or Nikon generate, but is nevertheless a healthy money stream for a company respected by photography aficionados around the world (…)
The turnaround, admits CEO Alfred Schopf, is largely the achievement of Andreas Kaufmann, a wealthy German businessman and Leica fan who, in the middle of the past decade, began to pump millions into the cash-strapped camera maker to finance its push into the digital world.
Read the whole thing at www.dw.de.
And while we’re at it, Leica Rumors referred to two worthwhile videos – one on the revival of the legend Leica, the second one titled “Cult Camera.”
As an LR reader correctly states, the female photographer shown after Henri Cartier-Bresson is not Gisele Freund. She is Ilse Bing, a German avant-garde and commercial photographer who produced pioneering monochrome images during the inter-war era.
Bing was also known as “The Queen of the Leica,” but as being Jewish was threatened with death, she fled Germany in fear of her life and lived in New York into her late 90s.