It was a hundred years ago this month that the very first Leica camera made its appearance, reinventing photography in a stroke. Using 35mm movie film, the tiny, quiet camera with the exquisitely sharp lens allowed photographers to go anywhere, shoot anything, with a minimum of fuss and a modicum of anonymity. Much of the great photojournalism of the 20th century was made with Leicas. (The name is a mashup of Leitz Camera.) Here’s a great overview of the camera and its anniversary from the UK’s Telegraph.
Back in the day, I fancied myself a street photographer in the mold of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the doyen of street photography. And at a certain point I knew I had to have a Leica. I found mine in a camera store on Minneapolis’s Nicollet Mall. It cost $250. Here I am a few months later in Oxford, with my M3. I still have it. Behind me is the Christchurch College dining hall, which a few years ago filled in for the Hogwarts dining hall.