This past June in Wetzlar at the opening of Leitz Park III, I had the pleasure to meet Douglas So of Hong Kong. Douglas is the proprietor of the Museum F11 and Gallery F22 in Hong Kong. In June, Douglas hosted a photo exhibition of images from Lars Netopil’s new book, Museum Leica at F11. This was the Asian launch of Lars’s new book which was released in June. Lars and David Pitzer came to Hong Kong for the opening and did a book signing as well. Monika Bock from the Leica Archives in Wetzlar and Siegmund Dukek, the Managing Director of Leica Greater China, were also present.
In Douglas’ own words: Black Paint Leica cameras and photo exhibitions at F11 and f22, respectively, opened in June at the same time as Lars’ Museum Leica exhibition. We also released a book which contains images of over 200 black paint Leica cameras, lenses, and accessories, generously contributed by a dozen collectors and users in Hong Kong. We hope to present the pieces in a different way, highlighting their key features, beautiful design and special aging process which make black paint Leica items unique and so attractive. In selecting these items, we had to be satisfied that they were factory original in essentially every respect. A few replicas and after-market black painted items were included merely for illustration purposes, and they were stated as such. We hope that the book could become a useful reference for the Leica community worldwide.
We were also fortunate to have featured some of the black paint Leica equipment used by prominent photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, David Douglas Duncan, Bruno Barbey, Frank Horvat, Ian Berry, and Stuart Franklin to name a few.
The items shown in the book range from the 1925 Leica I Anastigmat to the latest models including the LHSA special editions, which are truly beautiful. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations for what LHSA has created with Leica over the years!
The black paint Leica cameras, lenses and accessories are currently being exhibited at F11 until 31 March 2019. Some of the photos from the book are on display at f22 till the end of August. LHSA members are most welcome to see the exhibitions if they happen to be visiting Hong Kong. Details can be found at www.f11.com and www.f22.com, as well as on our Facebook and Instagram sites.
This camera exhibition is likely the first of its kind in Asia. We have had Leica collectors and fans from over 15 countries visiting us since the opening. I hope to have the opportunity to welcome you to F11 and f22 as well in the near future!”
Douglas’s book is beautifully presented with a textured softcover, 8 x 10 format, with approximately 400 pages of content. The book is organized into four sections; Screw Mount and Experimental, M Bayonet, Leicaflex, and Lenses and Accessories. In addition, there are three appendices covering Leica Camera and Lens serial number listings and a bibliography. The high-quality images are artfully composed and lit, with overall images of the pieces themselves, along with close-up images with details of special interest. We share some of the images from the book here in Viewfinder. The images convey the special character and texture of black paint very well, many with the unique patina that only black paint acquires after an active lifetime of use in the hands of their owners. It is this “magic” of the black paint finish that inspired Tom Abrahamsson and me to convince Leica to re-issue the black paint camera for the LHSA Special Edition back in 2000. Douglas’s book and exhibition caters well to the hard-core Leica enthusiast who appreciates the allure of black paint.
I can highly recommend Black Paint Leica, and it is a must-have for your Leica library if you share the fascination of black paint Leicas. To obtain your own copy, please see Douglas’s note below.
“The book can be ordered on our website www.f22.com. The price is USD150 / Euro 130 / HKD 1,200 per copy, plus shipping. We accept payment via credit cards, Paypal and bank transfer. LHSA members interested in the book should feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will follow up accordingly.”