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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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Salgado
Old 06-14-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
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Salgado

Any of us who have worked with Sebastiao Salgado think he is not only an exceptional photographer, but an exceptional human being - and have the stories to prove it. But, here is one story I didn’t know. Your thoughts appreciated.

https://mymodernmet.com/sebastiao-sa...6e3XEmZ9fKzTyg
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Old 06-14-2019   #2
farlymac
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Just imagine what we could do for the whole planet with a little of that everywhere. My deepest admiration for the Salgado family!


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Old 06-14-2019   #3
Mcary
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There are some beautiful scenes towards the end of "The Salt of the Earth covering the work/transformation of his family's land back into or close to it original status.
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Old 06-14-2019   #4
Wouter2
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Sebastião Salgado is well known in Brazil for this experience, at least among persons linked to sustainability issues. It is really an amazing story - the area came back from a total waste to a blooming forest, within a timespan of 25 years. Also interesting is his statement that for him, taking care of this area has been a healing experience after the Ruanda hell he'd photographed.
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Old 06-14-2019   #5
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In June of 2017 I was fortunate to visit a friend in Los Angeles who assisted with the Salgado Exhibit and fund raiser at the Peter Fetterman Gallery, where proceeds went to the Instituto Terre. She told me about and then accompanied me through the show which was quite moving. Here is a New York Times article that follows the exhibit.
https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/a...gn/31fink.html

His work and both his and his wife Lélia's commitment to the land, nature and preservation of our planet is humbling!

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Old 06-15-2019   #6
Jerevan
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What I take from reading this is two things: each one of us can make the Earth a better place even in our own backyard.

Secondly, work that is meaningful often takes time and effort.
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Old 06-16-2019   #7
Waus
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Sebastiao Salgado is not unique with his project, there is for instance John D Liu, with projects all around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Liu and here's a link to a very interesting documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBLZmwlPa8A China's Green Gold.
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Old 06-16-2019   #8
Ko.Fe.
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Where I'm they just take over fields, chop down forest and hundreds years old trees to dump another subdivision. They also happily build same kind of housing on top of the closed dump sites. People like my family are replanting trees in our backyards.

If Chernobyl would be in the middle of Manhattan it would be re-developed already.

But land in the middle of nowhere in rainforest zone? After twenty years, if not disturbed, tropics will grows anyway.

Our town also owns at least two ex-queries. Planted trees and else grows, coming back. But they are not allowing people to use it... Could I hike in Saldago's place, "institute" or it is private joy just as our backyard?
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Old 06-16-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
...

But land in the middle of nowhere in rainforest zone? After twenty years, if not disturbed, tropics will grows anyway.
Sadly, no, not if larger areas are deforested. The reasons are that, as Salgados work shows, the microclimates depend on the vegetation - no vegetation, no water - no water, no vegetation. And the soils under rainforests are fragile, quickly degrade when the forest is gone.
That's why what he (and others, to be fair one of the largest actors in reforestation is the Chinese government, although not in the tropics) does is so important.
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Old 06-16-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Sadly, no, not if larger areas are deforested. The reasons are that, as Salgados work shows, the microclimates depend on the vegetation - no vegetation, no water - no water, no vegetation. And the soils under rainforests are fragile, quickly degrade when the forest is gone.
That's why what he (and others, to be fair one of the largest actors in reforestation is the Chinese government, although not in the tropics) does is so important.
We replant millions of trees in Canada. In Finland it is the law. Cut the trees, plant the trees.
China? Sounds more like propaganda.
They cut trees in Russian taiga, Zumbia rosewood forest and I'm not sure if anything is put back.
https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinas...a_2683609.html
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Old 06-16-2019   #11
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Salgado's TED talk on this project:
https://www.ted.com/talks/sebastiao_...hy?language=en
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Old 06-16-2019   #12
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
We replant millions of trees in Canada. In Finland it is the law. Cut the trees, plant the trees.
China? Sounds more like propaganda.
They cut trees in Russian taiga, Zumbia rosewood forest and I'm not sure if anything is put back.
https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinas...a_2683609.html

Sure, China is doing it out of utilitarian motives – they struggle with soil erosion, desertification and rapidly retreating ground water levels, and now need to import more wood. I don't think China can be blamed for unsustainable forestry in Russia, but in their exploitation of resources in weaker states is ruthless, yes.
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Old 06-16-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Sure, China is doing it out of utilitarian motives – they struggle with soil erosion, desertification and rapidly retreating ground water levels, and now need to import more wood. I don't think China can be blamed for unsustainable forestry in Russia, but in their exploitation of resources in weaker states is ruthless, yes.
They are also trying to, at least from satellite images:
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/im...ay-in-greening
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Old 06-16-2019   #14
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And here the U.S. through "45" invites Brazil's President Bolsonaro to our White House. Under his leadership, deforestation is hitting new highs in Brazil. ...but never mind.
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