Expressing personal visions, capturing special moments in iconic images, telling stories in pictures and creating individual memories – this is what unites famous M-Photographers around the globe.
What makes the M the perfect camera for them all is its unique rangefinder technology, the exceptional lenses and the ability to shoot with extreme discretion. The M-Camera they choose is of no particular significance. The only decisive factor is their own personal vision.
"At first, I had some ambivalent feelings about digital. I disliked its intangibility. But because Kodachrome, the film I had used for 30 years, had disappeared, and I had a feeling that would happen to every other film I chose as an alternative, I was forced to work digitally. Be that as it may, the Leica M (Typ 240) is the first digital camera I could really get on with. A fantastic piece of equipment. I have begun exploring things that I possibly wouldn’t have discovered with film: especially at night, in the dark. Digital lets me see the world in a slightly different way."
Alex Webb, San Francisco, US-amerikanischer Reportage- und Werbefotograf
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Alex Webb is best known for his dynamic and complex colour street photographs – especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. He has published 15 books; his latest photography book, La Calle, which features some 30 years of his street photographs from Mexico, was published in fall of 2016. Webb has exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Geo Magazine and other publications.
Webb has been a full member of Magnum Photos since 1979. His photographic work has been honoured with numerous awards and prizes including a New York Foundation of the Arts Grant in 1986 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.
"I love the Leica M9 as it’s the camera closest to making it look like you’re working with an analogue film camera. It also has a lot of character to it when you’re using daylight, as well as flash plus ambient. I feel the Leica M9 gives a look and feel of film, firstly because the format is quite similar to a 35 mm film, quite long and thin. It also has a slight grain and it seems more real in the skin rendition and tonal range. Unlike some other cameras and formats, I feel that it naturally 'sucks in' the daylight and gives a glowing look all over. In some of my images I like not to use any obtrusive element to falsify the image, so the way the M9 performs with natural daylight is superb."
Ram Shergill, London, British fashion photographer
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Ram Shergill is an internationally acclaimed fashion photographer who has worked with many big stars.
On the fashion scene, Ram Shergill became one of the key figures of the avant-garde ‘Cool Britannia’ movement and one of the UK’s most prominent fashion photographers. In the meantime, his development has taken him further into the genre of art photography.
His works have been shown at exhibitions at venues around the globe – among them, Sotheby’s, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Whitechapel Gallery in London. His work is also frequently seen in the international editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and GQ.
In 2016, Thames and Hudson published a book of his work titled ‘India Fantastique Fashion’. In addition to this, he is the publisher of ‘Protagonist Magazine’, his own bi-annual title with a focus on art and fashion.
"The first digital M helped unbound my creative mind in ways that are hard to describe without using too many metaphors yet demanded my full attention to master. I have tripped down the marble stairs of the Petit Trianon, trodden in the oceans off Costa Rica and rolled in the sands of Las Vegas all while the M8 took the place of my left hand. Always there, always shooting."
John Lou Miles, Los Angeles
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After falling in love with the Leica M8 several years ago, John Lou Miles’ work has since been shot exclusively with Leica cameras. His photography has been published in magazines such as LFI, Marie Claire and Carne.
His photographic style is influenced by Guy Bourdin and Raymond Pettibon and is located somewhere on a spectrum spanning the Kodachrome-era and William Eggleston to the irreverent oeuvre of Guy Bourdin. Even this categorisation of his style gives us only a vague impression of just where and how John Lou Miles finds inspiration for his faux-surrealist works.
"The M8 is my first rangefinder camera. This camera made me start thinking a lot more about what I’m doing before I shoot. Seeing, watching and waiting. Pictures are mostly already somewhere inside us. Life awakens them in an instant and, for some unknown reason, we bring the camera up to our eye. As the Romans used to say: nosce te ipsum. ‘Know thyself’. The M8 showed me how to ask myself questions. But I still don’t have all the right answers. I look for them, and take myself as a benchmark. I still have a lot of work to do on my humanity. We must find the light within us on our own – or recognise it out there in the big, wide world. The Leica captures things precisely, very explicitly, just as they are. I’d say it’s unique. With lots of soul. In a word – photography"
Max Malatesta, Rome, amateur photographer and actor
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Max Malatesta is a passionate amateur photographer and professional actor who has been artistic director of the ‘Beats Generation’ academy of dance, music, acting, song and photography in Tivoli, not far from Rome, since 2006. At an international level, he has worked in films directed by Spike Lee, Terrence Malick and Alexandr Sokurov.
"Small, simple, easy to use, quiet, the M Monochrom makes me forget it is a digital camera. Understand, it was very difficult for me to go from film to digital. I did it and it works!"
Picture taken in UK last July on a story about Brexit. "Chris, the boxer, will protect me if someone interferes with my photo work!"
"We spent an incredibly cold night on Kite Hill shooting the famous view across London for the album cover of 'Wilder Mind'. The low light (and low temperature) operation of the Monochrom amazed us all. The detail of the city is so fine that we feared people might spot something naughty in one of the windows when it was blown up for billboards!!"
"Pictures are like fireflies you catch to keep them in transparent bottles."
"I've always seen myself as clandestine, gathering pieces of evidence and secrets. Dealing images with my Leica's. It remained essential for photographers like myself, to scour the ground unimpeded. For me the choice of weapons like the Leica M series, which are my cameras, is the best way for me to remain invisible. I worked with Leica's for 40 years, and in that time, working with film, I was able to make important documentary reportages. When the digital age entered, how would I be able to continue this journey of photography the same way?
When Leica came out with this digital series, again I was able to hold small cameras in my hand, and have that same kind of feeling, and I hope people, when looking at my images will understand that."
Picture 1: Young Prima dancer in Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. Novosibirsk , Russia July 2013/ NOOR
Picture 2: "Maryam" the only young girl on the island, mother PaZmat is "The Nurse" on the island, her father was killed at sea while being drunk, she lost her two brothers from cancer, she stays on the island because of her mother. Chechen Island, Dagestan 2013 / NOOR
"I came later than others to the digital space. After 55 years in the darkroom it seemed like more of a threat than opportunity. I had more than once stated publicly that "the history of photography has been etched in the emulsion of black and white film. Digital resists the epic pursuit" (I am now eating those words and find that they taste very good).
I was approached in 2012 to endorse a limited edition signature model of the new black and white M Monochrom camera. Initially hesitant, I recall the morning it arrived in my studio. Knowing less than nothing about the software, etc, I simply set the shutter to A (automatic) and headed off to my weekly psychologist appointment. I discussed the new arrival and told her that I had a lot at risk here etc. But upon leaving her office I saw the light shining on the street and made a composition of an iron manhole cover. As I was focusing a bicycle cut across the frame and I instinctively released the shutter. Then the fun part came… immediately upon seeing the image in the display, I said to myself "that looks like it could have been taken by me.."
From that moment I was hooked on digital and have not loaded a single roll of film since that day. A Leica Digital with a 50mm lens immediately reflects my vision as it has since I got my first Leica M2 in 1960. I have used and will continue to use the Leica system for my entire career. At age 75 I was able to re-invent my life’s vocation."
New York Sept. 11, 2016
"I took this picture in London, as I had just bought my M (Typ 240) with a 35mm Summicron f/2… It was shot in the subway, as I thought I was just meeting a modern Mona Lisa.
The discreet M (Typ 240) and its ability at low ISO made the job perfectly… I love my Leica M.
Happy Birthday again!"
"I’m very honoured to have been asked to take part in this fantastic event. I’ve attached one of my favourite photos that appears in my last but one book “Pierre Noire, Pierre Blanche” (“Black Stone, White Stone”), which was all created with the Leica M Monochrom. Of all the Ms, the Monochrom is my favourite. (I use the two versions, 240 and 246, which complement each other well.) Its great ease of use and the quality of the images produced natively in Black and White without any post-treatment are an absolute joy."
"Being able to have a small camera that you can take anywhere while producing the highest quality images is why I love the M. The feeling you get while shooting on Leica rangefinders is incomparable with any other camera. Happy birthday Leica M Digital!"
"LIVOLD is a life time project. I started photography in Livold at the age of 14. Livold is the place where I spent my childhood. Born in Paris, my parents had sent me to "there", somewhere in an Eastern village to grow up among my family. After a few years of happiness I was literally uprooted when my parents took me back to Paris. During the summer holidays, I would keep on returning to Livold. I missed my family so much, I started photographing Livold at the age of fourteen to look at it in Paris.
I photographed in Black and White, colour film, slide...
Over the last few years, I stopped.
In 2014, I received the Leica M.
I started again / continued photographing Livold immediately. There was an evidence.
Why Leica M?
'Since I acquired two Leica M (Typ 262) with four lenses, I haven’t stopped taking photographs. The pleasure is intense. Everything’s right: family, friends, nature, reportage... Light, stealthy and seductive, the M (Typ 262) and the M Monochrom are among the top of the range in my view.
Photo library: http://www.josenicolas.fr
"I’m Jonathan Slack, I’ve been testing cameras and lenses for Leica since the days of the M8. It has been an exciting journey in every sense of the word.
From the early days in Solms to the grand opening of the new building in Wetzlar. From the M8 through to the real innovation of the M9 and the brave move to produce the M Monochrom and on to the sophistication of the current M cameras. All without losing sight of the value and importance of the rangefinder itself.
The cameras always seem to have arrived when I’ve been travelling. The first prototype M9 had to be collected from a UPS office en route to Baku, the Monochrom just before a trip to China and I’ve even collected a camera from a bus driver on the south coast of Crete.
Shooting with a digital rangefinder is always a pleasure, increasingly so with each new iteration of the splendid Leica M."
"This picture was Published on LFI Master shots and 1X.COM.
Why is the Leica M so special for me ?
It is the only camera on the market that allows the photographer to focus on one thing... The photo that has to be taken.
So simple, so easy, a clear, and a bright viewfinder that opens the real life to your eye, direct selection settings like speed and aperture makes photography more easy and intuitive, with no time lost looking at different menus and programs, just the subject and you.
Also, Leica lenses render the image like no other on the market. Thanks and continue with the Leica M cameras and lenses."
"Difficult to choose a picture. Here one of the last ones of my series - Workers. It is realized with my favorite combination: I like to associate M Monochrom with 50mm f1,4. The better way to shoot a picture and not to be seen. Transcribe what I really see. Quality of details, the depth of the whites and of the blacks. Quite the nuances of grey.
I am photo reporter and I possess also one MP 240 - 21mm f1,4 - 35mm f1,4 - 90mm f2."
"My very first photograph with an M-6 was this shot of the cathedral in Ponce, Puerto Rico, 2002. There is nothing to the photo itself, but the Leica magic is unmistakable in the image. By pure coincidence, I went home from this trip and ordered a photographic guide book about Leica M cameras. It was called "Leica M Photography" and guess what appeared on the cover of the book? The very same cathedral in Ponce, Puerto Rico! Of all the places in the world I visited, the Leica people thought that place was worthy of the cover for their book! I actually like mine better than the one they used for the cover photograph. Happy birthday Leica M. I will be taking many more with my M-E."
A few weeks ago, I brought you to Macedonia and you seemed to enjoy the trip. Kids were playing in the streets, with you and I observing and capturing these moments of life. You’re the best partner."
"Happy 10th birthday of digital photography to Leica’s M series! The M Monochrom has been my best companion for some years now, and I even shot the cover of my forth coming book with it."
‘In my street shots, it all boils down to grabbing the picture at the right moment - there’s no to time think before you react. Everything has be instinctive and fast - aperture, shutter speed focus and click. My M Monochrom always does what I want it to do - quietly and dependably. It gives me absolute control.
I even set high ISOs in broad daylight. Picking 4000, 8000, 16000 or 25000 ISO lets me get the grainy looks of BW films just the way I want them. I preset the stop and shutter speed and let Auto-ISO help me get the right exposure. The dynamic range and sharpness of what comes out is absolutely amazing. It was only after I got my Leica M Monochrom that I found out just what I’d been missing. BW photography at its best. Happy Birthday Leica M digital!’
We have gone through quite a few years together...
You know I feel naked without you.
Keep your discretion at this level. I will try to make gifts for you everyday :)"
"Leica, my dear Leica...
Thank you for doing this incredible thing, staying true to your roots for us authors and artists all around the world. Thank you for offering a new life to the M rangefinder in the digital world. Wishing you a wonderful digital birthday.
"There are moments when my presence, my subject, and the environment all come together. It's in that moment when I completely forget I am holding my M. My entire body is on autopilot and those rarely made images exceed my own expectations. It's like shifting the gear of a beautiful car: smooth, instinctive, and satisfying."
"As I travel the world attempting to document the human spirit with my work, I always feel that I dignify the lives I touch by having in my hands a Leica, a camera that has been the tool for so many of the greats in the history of documentary photography. With tremendous gratitude for Leica's support, I send my Happy Birthday wishes for the ten year birthday of the digital Leica M."
"I was walking along Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi when I saw this perfect scene. I had two cameras around my neck: my workhorse film Leica MP with a 35mm Summilux and a brand new Leica M9 with a 50mm Summilux. I was still committed to film at the time, and was a little suspicious about the M9 and digital photography in general. But when this scene presented itself it was the M9 that happened to be in my hand, and so I took the shot with it. I walked a few steps, looked at the image on the back of the camera (a novelty for me at the time), and thought, "Wow, this looks good...I'd better go take this again with a REAL camera". I walked back and shot the scene again with the MP and 35, but the moment was gone and frankly the composition looked better with the 50. When I saw a silver print of the image I was converted. I've been shooting digital M ever since. Happy Birthday Digital M!"
"This image would not have been able to be made without the digital M camera because I could check that the photo was the way I envisioned it to be."
"When I opened the box of my Leica M9, I felt a wave of emotion. Just as with Proust’s famous Madeleine, it brought back moments from my childhood when my grandfather taught me how to photograph with his silver Leica. It’s impossible to forget this camera, which is so distinctive, in terms of the sound of the shutter mechanism and all the care my grandfather took when handling it. As a child, I’d made a promise to own a Leica like grandpa and to take photos of the world around me and to put my whole heart into it. Promise kept! With my M9, I’ve been able to rediscover this pleasure of taking photographs and of being free to wander the streets without looking like a paparazzo. The M isn’t just a simple camera – it’s a history, it’s memories, it’s many photos to come."
"10 Years of M Digital
La Magie du M.
My friends and family have always seen me with a Leica M around my neck.
This camera is linked to my photographic life and my personal life as both are intertwined. I remember my first girlfriend asking me, half jokingly, if I was sleeping with it!
When digital arrived, I was unhappy not having an M for a couple of years. I was so used to this discreet and excellent camera. Actually, without it, I lost the pleasure of shooting.
Then, the M9 arrived! (I skipped the M8).
I was so excited and kind of reborn. As I mainly photograph people and look for intimacy, the M brings me what I need to approach them smoothly and quite closely.
Actually, the M is for Magic!
I am using now an M9 and M-P type (Typ 240)."
Celebrate the ten year anniversary with us
In 2016, we are celebrating ten years of digital M photography. Cameras that build on more than a century of continuous innovation. Icons that captured many of the world’s most famous pictures, documented the history of the world we live in, and inspired generations of visual storytellers. Celebrate this ten year anniversary with us and find out more about the latest special promotions at your Leica dealer.
Please contact your local authorised Leica dealer for details.
This promotion is valid until the end of November 2016. Terms and conditions apply.