2.19 million dollars for a Leica M3D sounds like an awful lot of money even for a Leica, but wait till you hear it’s story. The camera belonged to LIFE magazine photographer David Douglas Duncan, who was known for is war photographs and intimate image of hid friend Pablo Picasso.
Austrias Weslicht gallery sold the Leica for $2.19 million over the weekend, setting the record price for a “commercially produced camera”. Imagine the stories this camera could tell.
By the time Duncan began photographing the war in Vietnam, he was shooting with Leica M3Ds (D for Duncan), which the company manufactured and designed especially for him, limiting production to four. The battle-hardened camera, curiously enough, also proved ideally suited for one of Duncan’s subsequent and more intimate topics: Pablo Picasso and his family. With its soft-click shutter, this camera helped the photographer document the artist’s private moments as unobtrusively as possible.
Suzy Banks – Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas