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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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Ross Lowell
Old 02-21-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
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Ross Lowell

Ross Lowell changed the way movies, especially location movies, are lit with his range of relatively small Lowel-Lights. I think it was Tom Stern when he was Director of Photography on a Clint Eastwood movie that said he used have a truck with a few big spotlights but now he had the same truck filled with a lots of little Lowel-Lights. Their versatility, portability and affordability certainly made them one of the leading choices for still photographers who wanted to work with continuous light. I’ve added to my collection, but the first Lowell units I bought 40 years ago are still going strong and getting used regularly. More important, Ross Lowell was a good and talented man who was generous with his knowledge to all that were around him. Not bad for a man who was a big deal in his profession.

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Old 02-22-2019   #2
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I used Lowell Tota Lights for years, and have gone through a mile or two of gaffer tape. Ross Lowell certainly changed the way photographers and cinematographers worked for the better and he will be missed.
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Old 02-22-2019   #3
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These early pioneers in photographic special accessories should be honored; we all enjoy their niche ideas.
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Old 02-23-2019   #4
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Lowell made the lightest weight, most efficient (lumens per watt) tungsten lighting units. I just today used a Lowell DP light (1000W) with its accessory dichroic blue filter on a video job.
By the way, the original silver 'Gaffer Tape' as invented by Lowell is a thicker, tougher tape than is commonly sold as gaffer tape these days. It is reputed to adhere better in lower temperatures.
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Old 02-24-2019   #5
Bill Clark
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Short bio on wiki:


As my photography took me to various locations with set ups and tear downs needed to be done rather quickly, I opted for portable battery flashes. I never used Lowell lights although they intrigued me when looking at them in the B & H catalog on lighting.


From 1972 he taught stage lighting at New York University and various professional seminars, and in 1992 he wrote a book about lighting,
All of the inspiring photographers I met who elevated the craft to art were always willing to share and help people with their photography journey. It was a great industry back then. My coach and mentor was always ready and willing to help me.

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.”
-Yogi Berra
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Old 02-24-2019   #6
Kostya Fedot
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Photography, movies and television. Lowell is well know in the broadcast industry.
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