LEICA

Alternative views on the Leica world by Erwin Puts

December 2016

(Leica) Photography Manifesto


About perception



  • 1. The eye is part of the brain and we see what we have learned to see
  • 2. The brain processes about 1% of the visual signals from the world outside our head.
  • 3. The brain processes and reacts to specific visual patterns and changes over time in these patterns.
  • 4. We do not see what there is, but we see what we want to see or have learned to see.
  • 5. We need a trained detective eye to analyse a photograph. Read Sherlock Holmes!

About photography


  • 6. Photography is a two-dimensional medium. The camera lens records all information and projects a pattern on the recording surface with a correct linear/optical perspective.
  • 7. A photograph is a record of everything physical in the real world that is within the field of view of the lens and camera.
  • 8. Photographs in themselves are meaningless. They are historical records without context.
  • 9. When I look at a photograph, I ask myself what happens there and not why is this a beautiful picture.
  • 10. Every photograph is constructed according to a conventional template and when we take a photograph we simply try to copy the reality along these templates that exist only in our head. These templates are of course the iconic pictures of the great masters.
  • 11. A photograph is interesting or beautiful according to how close they replicate these templates.
  • 12. The main area of photography is domestic photography and not art photography.
  • 13. Art photography is a method to give some photographers a certain status.
  • 14. The classical picture elements (viewpoint, location, situation and time) to give intentionality to a photograph are overvalued.
  • 15. Photography is easy to learn: buy a camera ans start taking pictures. Continue to do it and take the pictures you want and do not mimic other photographers.
  • 16. Digital photography has made it impossible to take a failed picture.
  • 17. The real task is to know when to take a picture.

About Leica photography


  • 18. There is no specific photographic style or genre that can de designated as Leica photography. There is only photography with a Leica camera.
  • 19. Leica photography is not a style but an experience.
  • 20. Leica lenses are great tools for domestic photography because they can record the unexpected in great detail.
  • 21. The more detail there is in a picture, the less room for interpretation there can be and the more facts are collected: you start to discover and really observe.
  • 22. The Leica camera is a great instrument for recording pictures that are basically only collections of facts about which questions can and must be asked.
  • 23. The best Leica pictures are made with deliberate neglect of rules and intention: simply photograph what happens to be before the lens. The important idea is to understand what we do not see.