sábado, 30 de noviembre de 2013

JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY. 50º ANIVERSARIO DE SU MUERTE Y FUNERAL DE ESTADO. COBERTURA FOTOGRÁFICA POR LISL STEINER LOS DÍAS 23, 24 Y 25 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 1963

ENGLISH
GERMAN
Este mes de Noviembre de 2013 se cumple el 50º Aniversario del asesinato de John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35º Presidente de Estados Unidos, y su Funeral de Estado.

                                        © Lisl Steiner

Fotografía hecha por Lisl Steiner en Times Square (New York) el 22 de Noviembre de 1963, pocas horas después de conocerse el asesinato de John Fitzgerald Kennedy en Dallas (Texas), que catalizó el lanzamiento de ediciones especiales de los periódicos y revistas ilustradas más importantes del momento.

50 años después. Lisl Steiner en el interior de Westlicht Vienna junto a una copia sobre papel fotográfico de blanco y negro de la fotografía que hizo en Times Square el 22-11-1963, pocas horas después de anunciarse la muerte de John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

El magnicidio, que tuvo lugar en Dallas el 22-11-1963, conmocionó al mundo y tuvo amplísima cobertura en toda la prensa tanto norteamericana como internacional.

Durante los tres días siguientes al asesinato, se desarrolló el Funeral de Estado, siendo primeramente llevado el cadáver de JFK en el avión Air Force One desde Dallas a Washington, realizándose su autopsia en el Hospital Naval Bethesda y siendo a continuación trasladado a la Sala Este de la Casa Blanca el Sábado 23-11-1963 a las 4:30 h de la madrugada, permaneciendo en ella durante 24 horas, y donde los ex presidentes norteamericanos Harry S. Truman y Dwight H. Eisenhower así como Herbert Hoover Jr (en representación de su padre el ex presidente Herbert Hoover, que estaba enfermo) acudieron a expresar sus condolencias a Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Edward Kennedy y demás familiares de JFK.

Al día siguiente, Domingo 24 de Noviembre de 1963, el ataúd con los restos mortales de John Fitzgerald Kennedy cubierto con la bandera de Estados Unidos fue llevado sobre un armón tirado por caballos hasta la Rotonda del Capitolio para su velatorio, y durante toda la jornada cientos de miles de personas formaron larguísimas colas para dar su último adiós al presidente asesinado, cuyo féretro era custodiado por una guardia de honor.

Un silencio sepulcral presidió dicho Velatorio con el atáud de  JFK en el interior de la Rotonda del Capitolio, repleto de personalidades de Estados Unidos en distintos ámbitos, familiares y amigos de la familia Kennedy y muchísimos dignatarios de países de todo el mundo que fueron llegando durante el transcurso del día.

50 años después. Lisl Steiner en el interior de Westlicht Vienna junto a una copia sobre papel fotográfico de blanco y negro de una de las fotografías que hizo con Leica M2 y Leitz Canadá Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 Version 1 SAWOM 11308 dentro de la Rotonda del Capitolio de Washington durante el Velatorio del féretro con los restos mortales de John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Pese a la escasa cantidad de luz disponible en esos momentos, la fotógrafa pudo disparar a pulso a f/4 y con una velocidad de obturación de 1/8 seg gracias al tamaño muy compacto y peso muy ligero de la Leica M2 acoplada a un angular moderado ultraluminoso y tan sumamente pequeño y liviano, junto con la ausencia de espejo basculante inherente a las cámaras telemétricas y la alta sensibilidad para la época de ISO 200 de la película de blanco y negro Kodak Super-XX Panchromatic Safety Panchromatic utilizada. De este modo, consiguió obtener la suficiente profundidad de campo para plasmar enfocados tanto a ambos miembros de la guardia de honor como la bandera norteamericana sobre la totalidad del ataúd de JFK.

Lisl Steiner, que cubría el Funeral de Estado como fotógrafa de Keystone Press Agency, pasó toda la noche dentro de la Rotonda del Capitolio junto a su gran amigo Cornell Capa (enviado por Life) y pudo vivir la enorme intensidad emocional que impregnó el evento (presidido por la familia Kennedy, el recién nombrado Presidente Lyndon Johnson, los miembros del Congreso y abundantes funcionarios de la administración norteamericana), realizando varias fotos tanto del féretro de John Fitzgerald Kennedy como de la atmósfera reinante dentro del emblemático edificio de gran diseño arquitectónico, que también albergó entre otros los servicios funerarios de Abraham Lincoln,

También cubrían el funeral de Estado fotógrafos de talla internacional como Elliot Erwitt (Magnum), René Burri (Magnum), Eddie Adams (AP), Cecil Stoughton (AP), Abbie Rowe (National Park Service), Henry L. Griffin (AP), Harry Naltchayan (The Washington Post), William C. Allen (AP), Robert Knudsen (Office of the Naval Aide to the President), Wally McNamee (The Washington Post), Henry Burroughs (AP), Charles del Vecchio (The Washington Post), John Rooney (AP), David S. Schwartz (U.S Army Signal Corps) y otros.

El 25 de Noviembre de 1963, el féretro de JFK fue sacado de la Rotonda del Capitolio y llevado en procesión ( a la cabeza de la cual iban Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Lucy Baines Johnson, James Auchincloss, R. Sargent Shriver, Steven Smith y varios agentes secretos en labores de protección, caminando tras ellos los muy abundantes dignatarios llegados de países de los cinco continentes)

                                       © Lisl Steiner
Tras frenético esfuerzo, Lisl Steiner consigue avanzar a través de la multitud y el cordón de seguridad y capta con su Leica M2 y su Leitz Canadá Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 First Version SAWOM 11308 a conocidos dignatarios de todo el mundo que han acudido a dar su último adiós a John Fitzgerald Kennedy y se dirigen a pie hacia la catedral de St Matthew. Puede apreciarse en la imagen, de izquierda a derecha: Heinrich Luebcke (Presidente de Alemania Federal), Charles de Gaulle (Presidente de Francia), el Rey Balduíno de Bélgica, la Reina Federica de Grecia, el Emperador Haile Selassie de Etiopía, y Diosdado Macapagal (Presidente de Filipinas).

hasta la Catedral de St. Matthew, donde se celebró una Misa de Réquiem.

A continuación, tuvo lugar la procesión fúnebre final a pie, en la que el ataúd con el cadáver de JFK recorrió las calles de Washington D.C en dirección al Cementerio Nacional de Arlington, donde recibió sepultura en medio de grandes muestras de dolor de todos los presentes, entre los que figuraban 220 dignatarios de 92 países de todo el mundo.

                                        © Lisl Steiner                  

Fotografía de Lisl Steiner en la que capta la ceremonia de plegado de la bandera previa al entierro de John Fitzgerald Kennedy en el Cementerio de Arlington el 25 de Noviembre de 1963. Charles de Gaulle (Presidente de Francia) y Haile Selassie (Emperador de Etiopía) aparecen claramente visibles en el centro de la imagen. Ludwig Erhad (Canciller de Alemania Federal) está detrás de Haile Selassie, mientras que a su derecha aparece Diosdado Macapagal (Presidente de Filipinas) y Chung Hee Park (Presidente de Corea del Sur). Justo al otro lado de la bandera de Estados Unidos se encuentran Hayato Ikeda (Primer Ministro de Japón) y Herbert Charles Hoover Jr, hijo del 31º Presidente de estados Unidos Herbert Clark Hoover (que no pudo asistir al entierro por hallarse enfermo). El Rey Balduíno I de Bélgica está en la zona central del extremo derecho  de la imagen, y delante de él se encuentran la Reina Federica de Grecia y el Senador Edward Kennedy. Jacqueline Kennedy is la mujer de luto con vestido y velo negros ubicada más próxima a la cámara y el hombre que está junto a ella es Robert Kennedy. 220 dignatarios de 92 países asistieron al sepelio de John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
                                      
                                          © Lisl Steiner
Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy y Ted Kennedy comienzan a abandonar el Cementario de Arlington (Virginia) tras el entierro de John Fitzgerald Kennedy, siendo acompañados por Earl Warren. La Leica M2 se revela como una excelente herramienta de trabajo fotoperiodística, sobre todo en simbiosis con el Leitz Canadá Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 First Version SAWOM 11308 de 8 elementos en 6 grupos,



diseñado por Walter Mandler en la fábrica Leitz Canadá de Midland (Ontario), siguiendo el esquema clásico Doble-Gauss pero añadiendo dos elementos más, con tan sólo 150 gramos de peso y dimensiones muy miniaturizadas, que aportaba gran comodidad de uso así como buena calidad a diafragma abierto y soberbia calidad diafragmando, como en esta fotografía en la que Lisl Steiner dispara a f/8 aprovechando la abundante luz natural existente. Presentado durante la Photokina Köln de 1958, su fórmula óptica repleta de vidrios especiales con tierras raras y exóticos multirrevestimientos fue optimizada por Mandler para obtener los mejores resultados a f/4 y f/5.6, siendo además un objetivo considerado de culto, debido a su famosa y única gradación sutil de las zonas desenfocadas, su gran belleza cosmética


y una construcción mecánica excepcional obra en gran medida de Hans Karl Wiese, gran especialista de Leitz Canadá de los años cincuenta y sesenta en el ensamblaje de elementos ópticos durante la fase de montaje de los objetivos y de Horst Haseneier, genio óptico de perfil artesanal y consumado especialista en el pulimentado de dichos elementos ópticos. Además, ya en 1957, Rudolf Seck, jefe del laboratorio de aplicaciones de Leitz Wetzlar (Alemania) había hecho abundantes pruebas con varios prototipos de este objetivo enviados desde Leitz Midland (Canadá) para evaluar su rendimiento en uso real por parte de fotógrafos profesionales (algo que Leica siempre ha priorizado por encima de las gráficas MTF de sus objetivos a la hora de evaluar la verdadera valía de los mismos), constatando su gran calidad de imagen, versatilidad y duración con idénticas prestaciones durante muchas décadas de uso.

50 años después. Lisl Steiner en el interior de la cafetería de la Glorieta del Palacio de Schönbrunn en Viena, junto a una copia en papel fotográfico de blanco y negro de la fotografía que realizó en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington durante la ceremonia de plegado de la bandera instantes antes de ser bajado al fondo de la sepultura el féretro con los restos mortales de John Fitzgerald Kennedy el 25 de Noviembre de 1963.

Lisl Steiner el 24 de Noviembre de 2013, día del 50º Aniversario del Funeral de Estado de John Fitzgerald Kennedy, en el balcón de la Glorieta del Palacio de Schönbrunn de Viena, visible al fondo. La fotógrafa recuerda con todo lujo de detalles tanto la noche entera que pasó en la Rotonda del Capitolio de Washington D.C el 24 de Noviembre de 1963 como las escenas de dolor colectivo que presenció durante el entierro del 38º Presidente de Estados Unidos el 25 de Noviembre de 1963 en el Cementerio de Arlington.

© Texto y Fotos Indicadas: José Manuel Serrano Esparza 

GENERAL RENÉ COGNY PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROBERT CAPA INSIDE A MORANE-SAULNIER MS-500 CRIQUET LIAISON AIRCRAFT ON MAY 24, 1954 SHORTLY BEFORE LANDING IN NAM DINH (VIETNAM)

José Manuel Serrano Esparza
SPANISH
General René Cogny, commander in chief of the French forces in the área of Tonkin (North Vietnam), was photographed by Robert Capa inside the Morane-Saulnier MS-500 liaison aircraft (in which was also the correspondent for Life magazine John Mecklin) during the trip from Hanoi to Nam Dinh on May 24, 1954.

                             © Robert Capa / ICP New York   

This highly meaningful picture reveals faithfully the definition of struggling photographer applied by Dirck Halstead to the great war photographer, because Capa masterfully captures the French general being thoughtful and worried.

René Cogny knows that the war is lost and that the life of thousands of men depends on his decisions, because he has had to simultaneously tackle two fronts after the route of transport between Hanoi and Haiphong has been greatly disrupted by Nguyen Giap by sending the Viet Minh 320th Division, complemented by 14 regional battalions and three autonomous regiments, attacking at the same time the French outposts located in the rural zones between Phu Ly, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh and Thanh Ne.

Once more, Capa´s ability, sensitivity and nose to perceive and photograph the most representative moments, with an exceedingly accurate timing when pressing the shutter release button of his camera, stands out.

On the other hand, this image isn´t only the result of the photographic act during the exposure of the Kodak Super-XX High Speed Panchromatic black and white film but stems from a previous exhaustive work of observation of the character, his movements and reactions inside the plane by Capa, from the very moment of the aircraft took off at Hanoi Gia Lam airport, approximately half an hour before.

In addition, this very interesting picture is likewise relevant since it shows the perfect synergy for handheld shots between:

a) The Contax IIa rangefinder camera 



from 1950 (manufactured by Zeiss Ikon A.G.Stuttgart, improving the already masterpiece of optical and mechanical engineering Contax II from 1936 created by Zeiss engineer Hubert Nerwin - first model featuring combined rangefinder and viewfinder in a single window- ) in which the shutter was redesigned and greatly improved, replacing the connecting cloth of the curtains by geartrains, as well as reducing the number of components and the rangefinder baselength from 90 mm to 73 mm (with a 0.66x magnification and an affective base length of 48 mm), which enabled a more comfortable grabbing of the camera.

b) The Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 with one layer T antireflection coating. Such T coating, patented by Alexander Smakula in November 1935, rendered brilliant and high contrast images and was the fruit of twelve years of research by Carl Zeiss Jena from the study of the 1923 prototype CZJ 8,5 cm f/1.75 aimed at improving the quality of the lenses coating the surface of the optical elements with very thin layers of special materials which bettered the light transmission.



c) A highly experienced photojournalist who fights to his utmost with his 35 mm rangefinder camera within the very tight space of the aircraft to get the picture, since under normal circumstances this kind of plane can only transport the pilot and one passenger, so Capa and Mecklin (whom Donald M. Winslow has given his seat, because there wasn´t enough room for a third journalist) are exceedingly crammed behind the general, in such a way that Capa can barely move.

And though getting a high technical quality is not the priority in this sort of photojournalistic pictures, it´s really amazing the resolving power delivered (watch for instance the excellent detail in the general´s nose and the extinguisher) by the lens designed by the genius Ludwig Bertele twenty-two years before, for the picture is made within a very short distance, probably at f/5.6 and from a position very near the minimum focusing distance.


It speaks volumes of the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 T used by Capa and designed by Ludwig Bertele in 1932 in an utterly handcrafted way, using a lot of thousands of hours of manual tracing of light rays throughout the creation stages, without any help of computers or electronic calculators, only taking advantage of his impressive knowledge on optics, physics, mathematics and available optical glasses of the time, as well as making an extensive use of tables of logarithms, two years before Konrad Zuse started in 1934 the conceptual genesis of digital computers, which brought about two years later the Z1 (featuring sixty-four words, each one containing 22 bits) and the Z2 from 1938, which used 800 transmitters, managing to create in 1941 the Z3, first wholly operative digital computer in the world, and in 1946 the Z4, the most sophisticated of his digital computers (including the revolutionary Plankalkül software based on arithmetic logics and the application of pure states on doing the numerical calculi) that was the embryo of the 1951 Zuse Z5, first computer used by Leica to help in the design of its lenses and sporting plenty of electromechanical relays, making possible to attain a seventy times faster designing speed of high luminosity and top-notch quality photographic lenses than with manual calculi, thanks to the acceleration with floating coma calculum, which made possible to a great extent the automatization of improvements in optical designs, the increase in production capacity with new optical glasses and a far superior manufacturing quickness, which resulted in the launching into photographic market by Leica of the 7 element in 6 groups collapsible Summicron 50 mm f/2 Version 1 in 1953, the first one including the remarkable LaK9 rare earth glass.  

And this was a turning point in the history of photographic lenses, because both the Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 First Version from 1959 and the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 2 (1956-1968), available in rigid mount and dual range (sharing identical optical design and reformulated with respect to the previous retractable Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 1 1953-1960, increasing its resolving power and contrast, as well as bettering image quality at the nearest focusing distances) were feasible thanks to the synergy between the tremendous knowledge possessed by the Leitz optical designers and mechanics and the use of the Zuse Z5 computer installed in Wetzlar since 1952.


Ludwig Bertele, one of the greatest designers of photographic lenses ever. Among his abundant achievements highlight the legendary Ernostar f/2 lens from 1923 (for the 6 x 4.5 cm medium format Ernemann Ermanox, which allowed the dawn of the agile and dynamic indoor photojournalism with available light embodied by the towering figure of Erich Salomon), the birth in 1931 of the Sonnar scheme (derived from the 1924 Ernostar Type 2 but featuring a lesser quantity of optical groups, managing to greatly reduce the light scattering as well as generating a superior contrast) that made possible the creation of the not less mythical Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5 from 1932 and Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 from 1932, without forgetting the Carl Zeiss Jena Biogon 3,5 cm f/2.8 from 1935, the Sonnar 180 mm f/2.8 from 1935 and others, which were followed after the Second World War by extraordinary photogrammetric wideangle lenses as the large format Aviogon from 1950 sporting a 90º coverage, the large format Super Aviogon from 1956 providing a 120º coverage, the Biogon 38 mm f/4.5 medium format 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ for Hasselblad cameras and many others.

It all proves clearly that the design by Ludwig Bertele of both the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 featuring 6 elements in 3 groups (used by Capa to get the picture of general Cogny inside the plane) and the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5 sporting 7 elements in 3 groups make up one of the greatest feats in the History of Optics, since they were created with 100% manual designing and building parameters, without any help of computers or software whatsoever, with no aspherical surfaces and an strenuous stint of three years, started in 1929 and finished in 1932, nothing less than eighty-one years ago.

As a matter of fact, both lenses are excellent even to the very exacting current standards of quality, already in XXI Century, in which there are tons of objectives whose optical formula includes aspherical elements and there are available very powerful computers boasting highly sophisticated software programs, albeit when tackling the designing of ultraluminous class reference lenses in different focal lengths the key factor goes on being the personal touches provided by the best optical designers based on their expertise. 

It´s therefore not surprising the unquestionable fact that throughout nothing less than twenty-two years, between 1932 and 1954, the highly luminous lenses for 24 x 36 mm format photographic cameras made by Carl Zeiss (which had top class designers like Carl Paul Goerz, Willy Merté, Robert Richter, Sylvester Hubert, Ludwig Bertele himself and others) were by far the qualitative world benchmarks (above all the extraordinary for the time Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5 from 1932 and the excellent Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 from 1932 , Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 mm f/2.8 from 1932 and Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85 mm f/2 – both in its version of 6 elements in 3 groups previous to the Second World War and in the one featuring 7 elements in 3 groups launched into market in 1951-, without forgetting the Biogon 35 mm f/2.8 from 1937 featuring 5 elements in 3 groups and the Topogon 25 mm f/4 from 1950 including 4 elements in 4 groups), to such an extent that among all the lenses manufactured by Leica between mid twenties and 1954, only the Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 designed by Max Berek could challenge Carl Zeiss standard objectives, although with much lesser luminosity.

The picture made by Capa to General Cogny inside the Morane-Saulnier MS-500 liaison aircraft corresponds to a tipping point year in the optical and mechanical evolution of 50 mm ultraluminous lenses, which have been and keep on being the quality yardstick of each brand, and is a good example of the formidable symbiosis between a 35 mm rangefinder camera built without any qualitative compromises and a rather experienced war photographer like Capa to carry out the mission for which they were created: the capturing of great images, even under the most extreme conditions.

In this regard, though there was a lot of available light inside the cabin of the aircraft thanks to its transparent cockpit design optimized for reconnaissance tasks, which enabled to stop down in the range f/5.6-f/11 without any problem, circumstances for Capa weren´t favourable on trying to get this picture: he had to work very near the minimum focusing distance of the camera, he had barely any space to move his arms, because he was behind general Cogny, very cramped next to John Mecklin, and the slight rattling generated by the 240 h.p Argus As 10 inverted V-8 air-cooled 90º piston engine of the STOL Morane-Saulnier MS-500 Criquet liaison plane (which is essentially a Fieseler FI 156 Storch with aluminum wings) generated risk of blurred picture because of lack of precise focus or camera shaking while the shutter was open, but the very wide 73 mm rangefinder baselength of the Contax IIa enabling a very accurate focusing, the non existence of a swivelling up and down mirror, the balance of masses of the camera body and above all the fight and experience of the photographer striving after getting the image, overcome the difficulties. 

As a matter of fact, during his career as a professional photographer Capa had already made other excellent pictures from a hugely close distance, surprising the persons photographed, as for example the Close-Up of Three Workers, Two of Them Wearing Beret and One with Moustache and Hat in Saint Ouen During the Sit-Down Strike at the Factory of the Building Firm Lavalette in May 1936; A Supporter of the Popular Front in Paris in 1936, wearing glasses and hat, captured by Capa at point blank range from neck upwards while he´s raising his right fist and is rendered slightly out of focus, also depicting the left fist of another demonstrator located on the left, behind him, on whom Bob plays the focus, providing a huge dramatism to the scene; Ernest Hemingway in Sun Valley (Idaho) Reading Some Typewritten Texts With a Pencil in His Right Hand and Some Light Entering Through a Window in October 1941; A German Parachutist Captured by U.S Troops in the South of Bastogne (Belgium) on December 23.26 1944 (he is wearing gloves, snow can be seen in the background and Capa photographs him by surprise from an exceedingly short distance and a framing from chest upwards), the picture of three American parachutists made inside an airplane of the 17th United States Airborne Division on May 24, 1945 a few minutes before dropping on the German city of Wesel; Two Jewish Boys During the First Rosh Hashanah Office held at a Synagogue of Berlin on September 7, 1945 (Capa is just in front of them and captures them by surprise shooting at f/2.8 and a sloe shutter speed while both of them are attentively reading the Torah – the one located on the right of the image is pointing at a passage of the text with the index finger of his left hand, while the one on the left, also highly absorbed, has the front side of his right hand leaned on his chin, the book being rendered out of focus and the beret of the boy on the left slightly unfocused); Pablo Picasso and his son Claude in Golfe-Juan, France, in August 1948, in which Capa surprises the painter being joyful while he plays with the smiling child whom he holds with both hands, the photographer masterfully capturing the father´s enthralled and full of passion gesture, enhanced by some veins of his neck appearing swollen just at that moment.

Needless to say that Capa would have made the photograph even if he had only had a Kodak Brownie 1900 with meniscus, because he was born to



© José Manuel Serrano Esparza

lunes, 25 de noviembre de 2013

THE MILLIONTH LEICA, A M3 CHROME MATCHING A LEITZ WETZLAR SUMMICRON 50/2 NEAR FOCUSING RANGE SOLD AT WESTLICHT VIENNA FOR 840,000 EUROS



The Leica M3 Chrome with serial number 1000000 made in 1960 and matching a Leitz Wetzlar Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 DR with Near Focusing Attachment became the highlight of the 24th Camera Auction held at Westlicht Vienna on 24 November, 2013, reaching a price of 840,000 euros, much more than the starting estimate between 400,000-500,000 euros.

Peter Coeln, Founder and Owner of Westlicht Photography and Camera Auctions, Ostlicht Gallery, Leica Shop Vienna and Westlicht Museum, holding the Millionth Leica M3 (made in 1960) and the Leica I Model C Luxus (manufactured in 1930) sold during the 24th Camera Auction held in Westlicht Vienna on November 24, 2013. A recognized authority on Leica cameras and lenses and all kind of photographic stuff of different brands and formats, this visionary man (who has had the wisdom of choosing world class experts on Leica like Paul-Henry van Hasbroeck, Lars Netopil, Ottmar Michaely, Zoltan Fejér, Dr Bahman Bawendi, James E. Cornwall, Peter Göllner, Larry Gubas, Mayumi Kobayashi, Uli Koch, Jim McKeown, Dr, Milos Mladek, Dr. Wolfgang Netolitzky, Bernd K. Otto, Dieter Scheiba and others to often counsel him) knew to understand the immense historical significance and prestige of the Leica brand and has been one of the key figures in the current remarkable worldwide renaissance of Leica, something really astounding if we bear in mind that the mythical German photographic firm was about to disappear in 2003, shortly before another visionary man, Dr. Andreas Kauffmann, had the brainstorm and decision to save the brand.
  

This historical camera made in 1960 and featuring a fantastic mint cosmetic condition had previously been displayed at the Leitz Museum with original sticker M 964 on its base plate and had belonged to the collection of Surat Osathanugrah, President of the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, who died in 2008.

Back view of the Millionth Leica, the M3 Chrome Single-Stroke featuring serial number 1000000 and preserved in mint condition.

The Leica M3 is considered the best 35 mm rangefinder camera ever made along with the Nippon Kogaku Nikon SP and is a masterpiece of mechanical perfection with an exceptionally bright and brilliant viewfinder and an amazingly quiet and virtually vibration free cloth focal plane shutter boasting extraordinary accuracy, always with an almost inaudible sound and working with an exceedingly short lag of 17 milliseconds between the moment in which the shutter release button is pressed and the beginning of the exposure, a remarkable achievement in comparison to usual shutter lags in the range 80-100 milliseconds inherent to professional reflex cameras.

On the other hand, the creation of the Leica M system together with the launching of the Leica M3 camera in 1954 has been one of the greatest achievements in the History of Photography, since between 1932 and mid fifties Zeiss Ikon had managed to prevail in terms of quickness and ease of use and focusing precision with its Contax II featuring a combined viewfinder and rangefinder (instead of the independent RF and VF windows inherent to Leica screwmount cameras), an exceedingly large rangefinder base of 90 mm (with a magnification of approximately 0.75x, attaining an effective baselength of 67.5 mm) and its highly luminous lenses designed by the genius Ludwig Bertele (specially the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5, the Carl Zeiss Jena 5 cm f/2, the Carl Zeiss Jena Biogon 3,5 cm f/2.8 and the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 8,5 cm f/2) delivering extraordinary resolving power and contrast for the time and only matched by Professor Max Berek´s Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5, a true reference class standard lens with unequalled compactness but featuring much less luminosity.


The impressive beauty of lines of the Leica Millionth M3 with its matching Leitz Wetzlar Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 with near focusing attachment is a relish to watch. Twelve years have elapsed since June 11th, 2001, when Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie opened in the Westbahnstrasse, 40 of Vienna (Austria), founded by its creator and driving force Peter Coeln through the private initiative of camera collectors and enthusiasts of top-notch photography, with the aim of enhancing the significance of photography both from a historical viewpoint and in terms of the relationship between photographic cameras and lenses and the art of photography. In all this time, Westlicht has become a world class reference as a camera gallery, picture gallery and very high quality selling point of new and vintage cameras, lenses and all type of accessories, simultaneously managing to likewise turn into a benchmark venue of photographic equipment and images auctions with its two already worldwide famous events Westlicht Camera Auction and Westlicht Photo Auction, and until now there have been twenty-four camera auctions and nine photo auctions.


But the arrival of the Leica M System and the Leica M3 camera in 1954 meant a turning point from which the legendary Wetzlar based German photographic firm took definitely the helm in the rangefinder domain that it has kept until nowadays throughout the amazing figure of sixty years, an unprecedented feat in the history of photographic cameras and lenses, being even able to adapt it to the digital era with the fulfilling of a dream come true: the Leica M9, Leica M9 Monochrom and Leica M Type 241 35 mm digital rangefinder cameras.

Not in vain, the Leica M System of cameras and lenses has been and goes on being one of the most perfect optical and mechanical breakthroughs ever made and whose fundamental principles were set forth by Willi Stein (manager of the photographic design department at Leitz during fifties and father of the Leica M camera concept), Hugo Wehrenfenning (designer of the first Leica M lenses and inventor of the four part M bayonet lens mount making possible a much faster change of objectives than with the screwmount Leica cameras, by means of a short 30º turn that locked each lens in position, and enabling that the farthest areas of the corners of the image received the maximum amount of light coming from the optical system) and Dr Ludwig Leitz who financed the project and was also decisive to its fulfilment with its astounding patents during the eighteeen previous years: patent August 3, 1935 (Photographic Camera with Parallax Correcting Finder), patent August 8, 1936 (Camera Shutter Mechanism with Willi Stein), patent September 2,1936 (Combined Rangefinder and Viewfinder), patent August 23, 1938 (Combined Rangefinder and Viewfinder) and patent May 9, 1939 (Photographic Viewfinder). 


The Leica M3 serial number 1000000 was presented by Willi Stein to Dr Ludwig Leitz in 1960 and is one of the most important cameras in the history of the brand, to such an extent that it has been painstakingly preserved throughout more than fifty years and is presently in mint condition. 

It´s also the fruit of twenty years of intensive research and tests dating back to1934 and which gave rise to the building of the Leica IV Prototype in 1936, a full-fledged experimental forebear of the Leica M3 camera.

On the other hand, the rangefinder of the Leica M3, the cream of the crop of the RFs ever made by Leica and entirely manufactured from top-notch glass, though not featuring such a huge rangefinder base and effective baselength as the Contax II, sports a still very big 69.25 mm RF base with an effective baselength of 63 mm and a 0.91x magnification finder  begetting fairly sharp images, and above all, the viewfinder of the Leica M3 is the best ever made for a photographic camera and specially optimized for its flawless synergy with 50 mm lenses, a sphere in which it hasn´t been beaten hitherto, because albeit the viewfinders of both Contax II and Nikon SP are very good, they´re colored and their RF spots are much less brilliant than the exceedingly large, clear and accurate flare-free rangefinder spot featured by the extraordinary viewfinder (designed by Erich Mandler, Heinrich Schneider and Robert Eckhardt) of the Leica M3 in perfect symbiosis with the likewise amazing rangefinder (created by Willi Stein and Dr Ludwig Leitz) of the camera, a work of art including more than 150 high precision components.

The bright-line frame for 50 mm lenses is permanently visible in the viewfinder, while the ones for 90 and 35 mm objectives are activated on being attached (the 0.92x VF magnification of the M3 makes necessary to add an optical viewfinder attachment for the use of 35 mm lenses).

Needless to say that this M3 rangefinder (whose frame lines are parallel to the body of the camera - unlike the ones belonging to the rest of M cameras which are in angle- and featuring a ground glass diffuser that makes possible the even illumination of the mask, reducing flare to negligible levels), the best ever made by Leica and integrated into the viewfinder, attains unmatched fast and accurate focusing even under the worst light conditions, with the measuring base of the rangefinder remaining the same irrespective of the lens being used, which means a remarkable advantage over the dslr cameras, particularly when using the widest apertures.


Thanks to its near focusing attachment the Leitz Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 DR matching the Leica M3 serial number 1000000 is able to focus up to 48 cm. This astounding lens was the first standard 50 mm objective delivering a resolving power of more than 100 pairs of lines/mm, also featuring a mechanical construction and gorgeous cosmetic appearance second to none.

Besides, the 7 elements in 5 groups Leitz Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 DR (the one with Near Focusing Attachment matching the millionth Leica M3 sold at Westlicht features the serial number 1834555) was a milestone within the scope of photographic lenses created for 24 x 36 mm format cameras from its very launching into market in 1956, because along with the Rigid Mount model (introduced the same year sporting identical reformulated design with respect to the collapsible Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 1 from 1953) it managed to beat the Ludwig Bertele´s legendary designs CZJ 5 cm f/1.5 and CZJ 5 cm f/2 (which had reigned supreme during twenty-two years, between 1932 and 1954) thanks to the immense knowledge of Professor Helmut Marx, the use of four elements made with LaK9 top-notch optical glass and the help of the Zuse 5, the first computer optimized for lens designing, which had been installed in Wetzlar in 1952.

And another key factor of this sensational 24th Camera Auction at Westlicht - in the same way as happened with the previous ones- is the thoroughness and reliability of the information on the auctioned articles provided in advance along with very stringent and accurate criteria as to the real condition of the items, which means full guarantee for the bidders from a number of different countries all over the globe. As an evidence of it, suffice it to say to name only an example that the Leica I Model C Luxus from 1930 which got a final hammer price of 504,000 euros was thoroughly inspected and authorized by James Lager, Ottmar Michaelly and Lars Netopil.

© Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY´S STATE FUNERAL IN WASHINGTON D.C. 50TH ANNIVERSARY. PHOTOGRAPHIC COVERAGE BY LISL STEINER ON NOVEMBER 23, 24 AND 25, 1963

GERMAN
SPANISH
This month of November 2013 is celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, and his State Funeral.

                                       © Lisl Steiner

Picture made by Lisl Steiner in Times Square (New York) on November 22, 1963, a few hours after being known that JFK had been slain in Dallas (Texas), which prompted the launching of a number of special editions by the most significant newspapers and illustrated magazines of the time.

50 years later, Lisl Steiner inside Westlicht Vienna by a copy on black and white photographic paper of the picture she made in Times Square (New York) on November 22, 1963, a few hours after John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s death was announced.

The assassination, which happened in Dallas (Texas) on November 22, 1963, shocked the world and had an exceedingly comprehensive coverage within the whole both American and international press.

Throughout the following three days after the assassination, the State Funeral developed.

Firstly, the casket with JFK´s body was taken by the Air Force One aircraft from Dallas to Washington D.C, his authopsy being made at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, being subsequently transferred to the White House East Room on Saturday November 23, 1963 at 4:30 a.m, where the bier rested on a catafalque lying in state for 24 hours. The former United States presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight H. Eisenhower along with Herbert Hoover Jr (representing his father the former president Herbert Hoover, who was ill) arrived to express their condolences to Jacqueline Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Senator Edward Kennedy and the rest of JFK´s relatives.

The next day Sunday November 24, 1963, the bier with John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s remains and covered with the United States flag was borne on a caisson drawn by horses up to the Rotunda of Capitolium for its lying in state and wake, and during the whole day, hundreds of thousands of persons made very long queues to give their last farewell to the slain president, whose coffin was custodied by an honour guard.

A sepulchral silence ruled the vigil (only interrupted by the eulogies delivered by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Speaker McCormack), with JFK´s coffin inside the Rotunda of Capitolium, overcrowded with personalities of United States in different scopes, relatives and friends of Kennedy family and a number of dignitaries from all over the world who were arriving during the day.

50 years later. Lisl Steiner at Westlicht Vienna by a copy on black and white photographic paper of one of the pictures she made with Leica M2 and Leitz Canada Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 Version 1 SAWOM 11308 inside the Rotunda of Capitolium of Washington during the lying in state and wake of the coffin with John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s human remains. In spite of the rather dim light conditions prevailing at the moment, she was able to shoot handheld at f/4 and a very low shutter speed of 1/8 sec thanks to the very compact size and weight of the Leica M2 and the tiny wideangle lens, along with the lack of a slapping mirror inherent to rangefinder cameras and the high for the time ISO 200 sensitivity of the 24 x 36 mm format Kodak Super-XX Safety Panchromatic black and white film used. This way, the photographer could get enough depth of field to render both the United States flag on the whole JFK´s coffin and the two members of the honour guard in focus.  

Lisl Steiner, who was covering the State Funeral as a photographer for Keystone Press Agency, spent all the night inside the Rotunda of Capitolium by her great friend Cornell Capa (sent by Life) and could live the huge emotional intensity pervading the event (presided by Kennedy family, the just sworn in new president Lyndon Johnson, the members of the Congress and a lot of civil servants of the American administration), getting some pictures both of John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s bier and the atmosphere reigning within the symbolic building oozing a remarkable architectural design, which also held among others the funerary services for Abraham Lincoln.

The State Funeral was also photographically covered by other acclaimed photographers like Elliot Erwitt (Magnum), René Burri (Magnum), Eddie Adams (AP), Cecil Stoughton (AP), Abbie Rowe (National Park Service), Henry L. Griffith (AP), Harry Naltchayan (The Washington Post), William C. Allen (AP), Robert Knudsen (Office of the Naval Aide to the President), Wally McNamee (The Washington Post), Henry Burroughs (AP), Charles del Vecchio (The Washington Post), John Rooney (AP), David S. Schwartz (U.S Army Signal Corps) and others.

On November 25, 1963, JFK´s coffin left the Rotunda of Capitolium and was taken in procession (headed by Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Lucy Baines Johnson, James Auchincloss, R. Sargent Shriver, Steven Smith and some secret agents in protection tasks, while the fairly abundant foreign dignitaries arrived from the five continents, walked behind them).

                                       © Lisl Steiner

After a frantic effort, Lisl Steiner manages to advance through the crowd and the security cordon and photographs with her Leica M2 and her Leitz Canada Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 First Version SAWOM 11308 well-known dignitaries from all over the world who have come to pay their last respects to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and walk towards St. Matthew´s Cathedral. From left to right can be seen: Heinrich Luebcke (President of West Germany), Charles de Gaulle (President of France), King Baodouin of Belgium, Queen Frederika of Greece, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Diosdado Macapagal (President of Philippines)

up to St. Matthew´s Cathedral, where a Requiem Mass was held.

Then, when the Mass finished, the casket with JFK´s body abandoned the cathedral and the funeral procession began with everybody walking the streets of Washington D.C towards the Arlington National Cemetery, where John Fitzgerald Kennedy was buried in the midst of grief outpouring shared by all the attendees, among whom there were 220 dignitaries coming from 92 countries.

                                      © Lisl Steiner

Photograph made by Lisl Steiner in which she captures the ceremony of folding flag over John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s casket previous to its interment at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963. Charles de Gaulle (President of France) and Haile Selassie (Emperor of Ethiopia) are clearly visible in the middle of the image. Ludwig Erhard (Chancellor of West Germany) is behind Haile Selassie, while on his right appear Diosdado Macapagal  (President of Philippines) and Chung Hee Park (President of South Korea).

Just beyond the United States flag are Hayato Ikeda (Prime Minister of Japan) and Herbert Charles Hoover Jr, son of the 31st President of the United States Herbert Clark Hoover(who couldn´t attend the funeral because of illness).

King Baudoin I of Belgium is in the middle far right of the photograph, and in front of him him are the Queen Frederika of Greece and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Jacqueline Kennedy is the woman with mourning black attire and veil nearest to the camera, and the man by her on the right is Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

220 dignitaries from 92 countries were present at the state funeral.

                                                     © Lisl Steiner

Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy begin to abandon Arlington National Cemetery after the burial of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, being accompanied by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Leica M2 proves to be an excellent photojournalistic working tool, particularly in symbiosis with the Leitz Canada Summicron Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 First Version SAWOM 11308 featuring 8 elements in 6 groups, 



designed by Walter Mandler at Leitz Canada factory in Midland (Ontario), following the classical Double-Gauss scheme but adding two further elements, with a weight of only 150 g and highly miniaturized dimensions, which provided great comfort of use along with a good quality at maximum aperture and superb quality stopping down from f/4, as happens in this picture in which Lisl Steiner shoots at f/8 taking advantage of the plentiful natural light available. Presented at the Photokina Köln 1958, its optical formula including a lot of rare earth glasses and exotic coatings was optimized by Mandler to achieve best results at f/4 and f/5.6, being likewise a cult lens, because of its famous and unique subtle gradation of the out of focus areas, its gorgeous cosmetic beauty 


and an exceptional mechanic construction greatly made by Hans Karl Wiese, an outstanding Leitz Canada fifties and sixties specialist on the mounting of optical elements during the assembling stage of the objectives and Horst Haseneier, a true optical genius sporting a painstaking artisan profile and a consummate expert in the grinding and polishing of those optical elements. In addition, already in 1957, Rudolf Seck, Head of the Applications Laboratory at Leitz (Wetzlar), had made abundant tests with several prototypes of this lens sent from Leitz Midland (Canada) to evaluate its performance in real use by professional photographers (something that Leica has always prioritized over the MTF graphs of its lenses on assessing their true optical and mechanical virtues), realizing its amazing image quality, very special fingerprint, versatility and duration keeping identical behavior during a lot of decades of intensive use.

50 years later. Lisl Steiner inside the Café of Schönbrunn Palace Gloriette in Vienna, by a copy on black and white photographic paper of the picture made at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremony of folding flag some seconds before the interment of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 25, 1963.

Lisl Steiner on November 24, 2013, the day of the 50th Anniversary of John Fitzgerald Kennedy´s Funeral, in the balcony of the Gloriette of Vienna Schönbrunn Palace, visible in the background. The photographer remembers very well every detail both regarding the whole night she spent inside the Capitolium Rotunda of Washington D.C on November 24th 1963 and the scenes of collective distress she witnessed during the interment of the 35th President of the United States on November 25th, 1963 in Arlington Cemetery.

© Text and Indicated Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

LISL STEINER: 63 YEARS OF PHOTOJOURNALISM

MARTIN LUTHER KING FUNERAL APRIL 9, 1968: LISL STEINER IN ACTION 

SOCIETY IS KAPUT AND OTHER TRUTHS FROM AN AGELESS SPIRIT: LISL STEINER REACHES 400,000 YOUTUBE VISITS