2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the iconic Leica Camera company. In her article for the blog for Getty Images, Sarah McDonald writes " The legendary Leica camera was conceived 100 years ago by German optical engineer Oskar Barnack. His prototype – dubbed the Ur-Leica – was the world’s first 35mm film camera, although the outbreak of World War I meant it was another 12 years before the first practical model – the Leica I — rolled off the production lines to change the course of photography. Compact, lightweight, able to shoot in low light with faster shutter speeds and able to take up to 40 successive shots without reloading, the Leica became an indispensable “extension of the hand,” giving photographers undreamed-of flexibility following the limitations of traditional, heavy, plate cameras. Across continental Europe, particularly in Germany, emerging photojournalists – together with innovative editors experimenting with photographic layouts and design — pioneered a new visual language via pictorial magazines.
As WWII approached, these pioneers left Germany for Paris, New York and London spreading the use of the camera as they went. Robert Doisneau, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Ilse Bing “Queen of the Leica” were all early converts. Since then, many classic shots, such as Albert Korda’s iconic image of Che Guevara and Alfred Eisenstaedt’s-VJ Day Kiss , have been captured on the Leica and today vintage models break auction records".
Even today, Leica continues their tradition of craftsmanship and quality with new models like their "M" rangefinders and the new mirrorless "T" camera. But to truly appreciate this brand, you can click here to see a video produced by the BBC in which photojournalist Tom Stoddart shares his thoughts on a number of images taken with a Leica and why the brand still resonates with photographers worldwide.