Leica advert

Above: The lead image featured in a recent Leica print advert. Credit: Mathieu Bitton/Leica.

Perversity in Wetzlar

One can tell from the concept of their new advert that Leica are not really with it. If one looks at a photo of Wetzlar in Germany, where Leica's HQ is, then one can get the idea that this state of their being out-of-the loop is not really surprising--it looks like a town unchanged since the eighteenth-century. For their new advertising campaign, which is running in printed magazines (a rather dated idea in itself), the company is promoting their M10 camera--a camera in the great line of "M" series Leicas. The decision taken by the marketing dept. of the camera company is to emphasize how the camera has been designed-and-engineered for stealth in street photography: the body is de-badged, and the digital-shutter is silent (aren't they all anyway?).

"Leica M10. Go unnoticed in the street. From crowded markets to bustling city streets, capturing memorable moments often demands not being noticed. The Leica M10 is Leica's most discreet tool: the quietest shutter of any Leica camera ever, no red logo, just quality images." This ad-copy (printed white-out on black ground) is associated to a photo of a dodgy looking middle-aged man shooting a photo through somebody's window--a shop or a private home, it is unclear.

The kind folks in the provincial German town of Wetzlar obviously don't have the fear of IT--International Terrorism--or issues with invasions-of-privacy--peeping. In urban centres these days making clandestine images is taboo and actually illegal. And for this reason, very few photographers do street photography in such a furtive way anymore (they fear arrest).

And, furthermore, in an age when swaggering around with heavily-branded luxury goods has become de rigueur, only a truly perverse company would choose to completely remove the marque-label from their luxury items. Amazing. Leica: the stealth camera for prying perverts--and if you were buying it just to pose about with, then forget it, because it looks like a cheap clone, with no badge. Now that is perverse.

(21 September 2018)