The Camera Collection That Shot Some of the World's Most Famous Photos

Illustration for article titled The Camera Collection That Shot Some of the Worlds Most Famous Photos

William Eggleston is a photographer who rose to prominence in the 1970s for his photos of American life, many of which are now iconic. Those decades of pictures have come from dozens of different cameras, and Eggleston himself was kind enough to share with the Wall Street Journal a picture of some of his tools of the trade.

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What we see are two rows of Leica cameras—but not the M Series you are used to seeing everywhere. These are all Leica III series cameras, manufactured from 1933-1960. These were smaller and lighter than the M Series rangefinders, and had an older screw mount instead of a bayonet mount. On the left are a handful of Canon rangefinders from the same period that mimic the Leica design very closely. Clearly, Eggleston preferred small and inconspicuous cameras—which goes hand-in-hand with his shooting style, which is naturalistic and composed of candid, everyday scenes. Here are a couple of his shots:

Illustration for article titled The Camera Collection That Shot Some of the Worlds Most Famous Photos
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Illustration for article titled The Camera Collection That Shot Some of the Worlds Most Famous Photos

Eggleston's photo of his cameras represents only part of his camera collection. Even though he doesn't usually work digitally, the shot was taken with a Fujifilm X-Pro1. The Wall Street Journal solicited the photo from him for the June issue of WSJ Magazine. Head over to The WSJ's Photo Journal blog to see some of his best-known photographs. And if you live in NYC, you can view some of the works in person at the Metropolitan Museum of Art right now, in the exhibition At War with the Obvious. [Wall Street Journal via PetaPixel]

Lead Photograph by William Eggleston for WSJ. Magazine.

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DISCUSSION

Interesting...can any photographers inform us as to why it would be useful to have so many seemingly identical cameras? I'm no photog, but those I've known usually have perhaps two bodies and a lot of lenses. I suppose you could have different lenses and lots more film ready-to-shoot that way, but it seems as though it would be impractical to carry more than a couple anyway. Did he just like to collect them? Leicas are beautiful pieces of equipment.