Mar 20, 2020  By Amitava (Chatts) Chatterjee

My first introduction to the fascinating world  of Leica began with a remarkable encounter. I was comfortably seated in a window seat on a flight from Narita to New Delhi. As a certified AvGeek and licensed pilot, I am usually fixated on airport and aircraft movements outside the window. However, on this flight, I happened to be seated next to Sebastiaõ Salgado. What a stroke of luck for an amateur photog. I recognized him from his Kuwait images after the first Gulf war. His picture of the oil-covered rig worker weary from repairing destroyed oil wells might ring a bell with some of you. Anyhow, given the exalted status of my co-passenger, I promptly forgot about aircraft and aviation and slid into a conversation about photography, my other love. Salgado was very generous with his time. We spoke about his work and career trajectory. He offered critique on a few of my images which I had pulled up on my laptop. At one point, he stood up, pulled out a case from the overhead bin, opening it to show me four well-used, gorgeously brassed Leica M film bodies. He handed one to me and I marveled at the weight, finish and brassing. It was a reverent moment. This camera had witnessed war and its aftermath. From that day on, I was hooked, and vowed to get my hands on my own Leica some day.

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Great article, Chats! Best seat assignment ever. I agree – the Leica is liberating! Beautiful images, too.

I agree! Nice and inspiring story. I had same experience in Japan when I forgot a bag near toilet entrance at Kagoshima airport. But the world is not Japan 😉

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