Famous Photographers’ Leicas: The Collector’s Holy Grail?

Dec 6, 2018  By Jason Schneider

It’s a point of personal pride among Leica fanatics like us that many of the world’s greatest photographers used Leica cameras and lenses to capture many of the most memorable and widely circulated images shot over the past 90 years. Indeed, practically every serious photographer knows that renowned photojournalists like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, David Douglas Duncan, Ernst Haas, Elliott Erwitt, Sebastião Salgado, and countless others relied on Leicas to create their art and capture their vision. Holding or even seeing  the actual cameras and lenses these master

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first Leica I

photographers used in the course of their work is a source of endless fascination among camera aficionados and collectors. That’s why a battered Leica M3, M2, or vintage MP with 90% of its original finish gone would fetch a princely price at auction if you could prove that a household name photographer actually owned it, used it to cover a major event or capture a well-known image. Proving it, of course, is the rub, and mere attribution alone, absent credible documentation, will not automatically transform a beat-up old Leica into a priceless museum piece.

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Jason – great article. I do enjoy this aspect of Leica ownership – I hesitate to use the word “collecting.” Nothing looks quite so pleasing as a well-used Leica.

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