Stardust in Boston: A Visit to the International Leica Society’s Annual Meeting

Dec 10, 2019  By William Fagan

Images by William Fagan

Last month I attended the AGM of the LHSA — the International Leica Society — in Boston, Mass. I’d enjoyed last year’s outing at Wetzlar and made many new friends in the world-wide Leica scene, so I didn’t need much persuasion to make my plans to fly to the USA this time around.

At the annual dinner during the event, Dr Andreas Kaufmann, the Chairman of Leica Camera AG, showed the following slide, which featured, among others, Louis Armstrong looking into a Leica.

I am a member of the Louis Armstrong House Museum which holds Louis’s Archives, but I had never seen this before. I don’t believe that Louis ever had a Leica. The later jazz trumpeter, Miles Davis, had an M3 and famously always kept it on the settings suggested by the store clerk who sold it to him.

It is interesting that Louis’s picture is shown juxtaposed with that of actress Charlotte Rampling, who appeared, lolling around the floor, in Woody Allen’s film Stardust Memories, while Woody celebrated the perfect Sunday morning by listening to Louis’s version of ‘Stardust’, which was one of the favourite versions of the song’s author, Hoagy Carmichael.

M into the future

Enough about jazz. In his speech. Dr Kaufmann emphasised that the Leica M had an assured place in Leica’s future. He also congratulated the LHSA on the success of the joint venture with Leica whereby the introduction of special membership offers in Leica system camera boxes had resulted in a trebling of the membership of LHSA from about 800 to over 2,500. Here is a video interview, which Dr Kaufmann made with LHSA while he was in Boston

On the first day of the event, we paid a visit to the Leica Store and Gallery in Boston. Some of us decided to walk across Boston Common to get to the event. There I took this photo of my good friend and LHSA colleague, Wilbur Norman.

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