What do the Leica R8 camera and Norbert Rosing have in common?

SilvergrainClassics travelled to Leica at Wetzlar to find out.

By Marwan el Mozayen


Norbert Rosing presenting at Leica in Wetzlar.

The Leica Store in Wetzlar came up with something very special for its recurring live stream to round off what has been a very analog year at Leica. These live streams started as studio productions during the pandemic. This event was filmed in front of a live audience. The topic was the Leica R system and, in particular, the Leica R8. Hosts Oliver Wolf and Benedikt Hartmann demonstrated many special features of this fascinating camera in front of a full audience in the huge Leica studio in Wetzlar. The very first design studies and image examples were also shown with exhibits from the Leica archive.

The audience was fascinated by current images made with the camera and the status of today’s film range, as well as the qualities of film in direct comparison with digital technology. Many were surprised and amazed by the superior quality of film images in 2022.

The Leica R8 at a presentation at Leica, Wetzlar.

The design of the Leica R8 is so timeless that it was easy to forget that it is not a new product being introduced, but rather a camera that was first presented to the public almost 30 years ago. For some visitors, this was almost a disappointment; a few would certainly have been interested in purchasing a camera immediately, had it been available for sale.

Those who thought that this very extensive presentation was already the highlight of the live stream were in for another surprise. What followed after a short break was nature photography in its purest and best form. World-renowned National Geographic photographer Norbert Rosing (aka Mr Polar Bear) presented a cross-fade slide show in the Leica Studio. Two Leica Pradovit RT slide projectors eliminated the dark pause that occurs between two consecutive images when a single projector is used. The show conjured up the most remote places in the world with startling vividness, especially compared to digital projectors.

Throughout the presentation, the spontaneous comments of Norbert Rosing breathed even more life into the brilliant slides. Most were shot on Fujichrome Velvia. The smooth, natural color matching of the slide films and the shooting lenses, the natural-looking lamplight of the projectors and projection lenses were exactly the combination required to turn these unique shots of polar bears, geysers, and other indescribably beautiful landscapes of this earth into a treat for the eyes. Leica had a full house and a second showing was added due to demand. The audience was fascinated and you could have heard a pin drop in the pauses. Seeing is believing.

After this overwhelming presentation, Oliver Wolf found the appropriate words to sum up the experience. “A slide film show will always exceed the level of fascination as a presentation of digitally scanned or printed images”. The audience clearly agreed with this statement after Norbert Rosing’s show.

Norbert Rosing takes questions after the presentation.

The evening ended in the Leica Store and in the Leica World, where the visitors had the opportunity to exchange a few words with Norbert Rosing personally and to have one of his many illustrated books signed, or to buy SilvergrainClassics Issue 13 signed by the photographer. It was a thoroughly successful evening that inspired us to photograph on slide film and to view the results as projected images.

Norbert Rosing signs copies of SilvergrainClassics Issue 13. His image is on the cover.

You can read more on Norbert Rosing’s work in Issue 13 of SilvergrainClassics magazine. It can be purchased here https://shop.silvergrainclassics.com/magazines/silvergrainclassics-13

A full list of our print magazine articles can be found at https://silvergrainclassics.com/en/magazine/index-of-articles/.

Images © Andreas Waldeck 2022.

You might also be interested in a previous SilvergrainClassics article on DSLR Scanning at the Leica Gallery, Frankfurt https://silvergrainclassics.com/en/2022/04/dslr-scanning-with-negative-supply-at-the-leica-gallery-workshop/.


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