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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author


“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  


Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 


Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."


I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!


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Camera 35 magazine
Old 03-04-2019   #1
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Camera 35 magazine

Hey Bill,

Do you remember when Camera 35 folded up? I've been looking on line and can't find any info.
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End of Camera 35
Old 03-04-2019   #2
randy stewart
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End of Camera 35

I am going to guess 1963. If a month/year is necessary, I can determine by unpacking my old magazines and seeing what the last volume date was, as it closed while I was holding a subscription. (Yup, it was good enough to save.) Camera 35 really was a wonderful photo magazine, not that large but with good editorial content all the time. It was not encumbered by masses of advertising, which in retrospect may have been not so good.

Edit: Boy, I missed that end date by a bit. The latest issue of Camera 35 for which I can find any record is December 1976, and it may have gone on from then.

Last edited by randy stewart : 03-06-2019 at 12:11. Reason: Correction
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Old 03-05-2019   #3
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I don't know the date but it was after 1963. I took up photography in 1972 or thereabouts and Camera 35 was among my favorite magazines. Excellent publication. I recall it published Gene Smith's "Minamata" as an extended photo essay sometime in 74 or 75 which was a real treat. Of course the columns were outstanding.
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Old 03-05-2019   #4
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I remember camera 35! I had a subscription myself. Good magazine. I concur, it was later than 1963, probably in the 70's.
May the light be with you.
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Old 03-05-2019   #5
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Here's one from August, 1980: https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1979-1980-Ca...uL1wEICdHOZbmw
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Old 03-05-2019   #6
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Camera 35 faded out in the very early 1980s. The subscription was filled out with Modern Photography, which was far more technical and not as interested in images.

Camera 35 was a '50s outgrowth of US Camera, which turned into Travel & Leisure. '35' initially catered to the users of 'miniature cameras,' which were disdained by the 4x5 shooters and Rolleiflex users.

+ My local library system has scattered issues in the 1970s, and records the publication dates as Vol. 1 (1957)-v. 27, no. 4 (April 1982).
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