Ode to the Leica: The Camera as Sex Object

This week's issue of the New Yorker has a special treat for photo enthusiasts: An ode to the Leica M series by critic Anthony Lake. This is not a piece about the history of wonderful images taken by Leica photographers over the years (though there is plenty of photo history). It's a love-struck appreciation of the hardware itself. It is unselfconscious Ludditism in its disdain of digital technology.

This week's issue of the New Yorker has a special treat for photo enthusiasts: An ode to the Leica M series by critic Anthony Lake. This is not a piece about the history of wonderful images taken by Leica photographers over the years (though there is plenty of photo history). It's a love-struck appreciation of the hardware itself. It is unselfconscious Ludditism in its disdain of digital technology.

Everything still ran sweetly, including the knurled knob with which you wind on from frame to frame, and the simplicity of the design made the Leica an infinitely more friendly proposition, for the novice, than one of the digital monsters from Nikon and Canon. Those need an instruction manual only slightly smaller than the Old Testament, whereas the Leica II sat in my palms like a puppy, begging to be taken out on the streets.

In other words, this article is everything that is infuriating and exceptional about the camera of everyone's dreams. In fact, what else does the Leica represent nowadays, except the dream of a perfect world that is no more?
--David Schonauer