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Issue #5/1998, commented by Heiner Henninges

“The cover of Leica Fotografie International 5/1998 was taken by the great René Burri. The Leica photographer, who passed away from cancer at 81 years of age in his home town of Zurich in 2014, was a member of the world-renowned Magnum photographer cooperative. Burri is the recipient of the DGPh, German Photographic Society's distinguished Erich Salomon Award for his lifetime achievements. The 5/1998 issue's cover photo was part of a limited edition of three of the photographer's images, published by LFI and the special interest magazine Schwarzweiss, and was selected by Burri himself and Hans-Michael Koetzle. This picture was taken in 1960 at the Ministry of Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The series also included a photo of a street scene in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1960, and one of a young couple in a bumper car at the Luna Park in West Berlin in 1959. The motifs, printed on baryta paper in 24 x 30cm format, were limited to 25 copies each, and were dated, numbered and signed by the author.

With the arrival of digital photography, the years immediately leading up to the new millennium were defined by a time of technical transformation. Back then, the Umschau-Verlag in Frankfurt, which held the licence to distribute Leica Fotografie International, carried out a representative survey among readers of photography magazines. They came to the conclusion that the readers of Leica Fotografie expressed more interest in digital photography than those of any other photo magazine. This interest was being covered by Leica Fotografie International at the time through a Digital Photography Extra supplement, inserted into LFI. For myself, as then Editor-in-Chief of the German, English and French editions of LFI, as well as the special interest magazine Schwarzweiss, this time of change was both exciting and enriching. I understood that, among the readers of both magazines, there was great interest in photo technology and, not least, digital technology; though it was clear that this interest was based upon a desire to use these technologies to create outstanding images.

At that time it became clear to me that the particular aura of a camera is an important source of inspiration and motivation, when photographers take pictures. This means that the high expectations surrounding the Leica brand directly motivate the user to produce something exceptional with it. This exceptionality was achieved most convincingly by René Burri with his photos for LFI and Schwarzweiss in 1998. The same can be said of the Leica photographer Norbert Rosing, who, to this day, is still passionate about analogue photography with film. His breakthrough as a nature photographer was celebrated in the very same issue. Rosing delivered what is still his most renowned photographic image: a polar bear that was to become the most successful poster motif that National Geographic magazine ever offered, reaching a record 13,000 copies sold, already back in 1998. This image remains the hallmark of the photographer and long-time patron of the »horizons zingst« Environmental Photo Festival.” (dar)

Heiner Henninges

Heiner Henninges studied journalism in Berlin, Paris, Göttingen and Munich. He worked as a freelance author and photographer for various German and international publications. His passion for photography and photo technology led him to write increasing numbers of articles for specialised photo magazines.

He was Editor-in-Chief for Technology and Practical Testing for the magazines, Photo and ColorFoto, and he has written over forty specialised books, many of which deal with Leica cameras and have been translated into various languages.

For many years Henninges was Editor-in-Chief of Leica Fotografie International and the special interest magazine, Schwarzweiss. His work as a photo reporter was exhibited under the title memories reloaded – fotos unterm regenbogen (– photos under the rainbow), at the Wall of Fame in the Max Hünten Haus in Zingst, as well as the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, among other venues. He is currently working on a book about the Leica CL, as well as another exhibition titled Africa remastered, presenting his pictures taken in Africa.
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