Paris and a Leica, a marriage made in heaven

paris group

The Leica Meet on Aug 27th in Paris was a special event for two reasons. Firstly it was a genuinely international Meet. We had members visiting from Germany, Holland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Switzerland, UK and of course France. Secondly it celebrated our first year as a group! A year in which three guys who didn’t even know one another when they met to shoot along the South Bank of the Thames in Aug 2013, then went on to set up a Facebook page and website with a membership currently approaching 5,000. Paul Borg Oliver decided to nickname Stephen, Gavin and myself, ‘the three musketeers’ and that was particularly appropriate as we were in Paris.

Fuelled by coffee/croissants courtesy of The Leica Store Paris we set out to explore this wonderful city. With around 36 people it wasn’t practical to walk together so we split into groups and periodically met up. Fortunately we had Laurent Scheinfeld, James Kezman and Cyrille Bailly who lived in Paris and showed members, areas with different characteristics. With the occasional stop for coffee plus lunch the day bubbled along with newly made friendships. It was fascinating to note the variety of seeing and shooting styles from zone focusing/holding the camera anywhere except at eye level, to asking permission, engaging with the subject and becoming part of the process. Conversations ranged far and wide but always came back to Leica and no doubt several items have been added to several wish lists.

The brief was simply to shoot our personal interpretation of the areas we visited. Although we had ample opportunity for urban landscape and architecture, the magic of Paris is in the street. The city seems to have a joyous energy that effects both tourists and locals. With so many opportunities all around, most of us shot in the Street genre. It was here the Leica M series blossomed. They seemed tailor made for this kind of environment. Relatively small and light in weight and bulk, the camera gets out of the way so we can get on with making the image. A marriage made in heaven. As you’ll see from the accompanying gallery we have some very talented photographers in our group and we’re proud of the work created in a just a few short hours.

We’d agreed to meet back at The Leica Store at 18.00. We expected ‘some wine and cheese’. But we were in a for a shock. There were four different wines, six different cheeses, cold meats and hand made chocolates! The generosity and hospitality of Gaelle and Emmanuele from the Leica Store was amazing and truly appreciated. We could not have asked for a better end to the day.

We like to say that our Meets are not workshops. There are no teachers and no students. However the reality is that if you are open minded there is always something to be learned from someone in such a creative group.

As for the three musketeers; we would like to say a huge thank you to all our members who attended and made it so enjoyable. We missed the fourth musketeer, D’artagnan (aka Eileen McCarney Muldoon) who is based in Rhode Island, USA.

However,  she is more than compensating by running a Leica Meet in Boston on Oct 15th. It’s called the Boston T Party to celebrate Leica making some complimentary Model T cameras available for the day. Check it out it’s going to be a creative and enjoyable day. One for all and all for one!

Olaf Willoughby

http://theleicameet.com/paris-2014.html

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2 Comments

  1. Does it not bother you that this meet appears to be 95% dudes?

    Reply

    1. If you follow TLM FB page comments Piere you’ll see that we consistently encourage female members to join and participate. One of the four admins and our representative in the US is female and adds a valuable perspective to the way we manage our sites and our Meets. Personally I would love it if 50% of our members were female – however I doubt if that is the profile of Leica owners. Look at other Leica sites and you’ll see membership is predominately male. That is reality and we’re doing our best to deal with it. If you have suggestions as to how we might boost female membership we’d be very pleased to consider them?

      Reply

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