Repair of a Legend

“Winding. Clicking. Winding. Clicking, and so on. That’s what I have been doing the last couple of days. Sitting with the camera between my hands and listening to the sound of the shutter.”

- Paal Audestad

Worn out Leica cameras are a rare sight, but Paal Audestad managed to do the impossible. Paal started taking pictures when he was 14 years old. Leica was always his dream and he happened to buy a 1967 M4 in a second hand store in Oslo back in 1987. After many years by his side traveling to numerous festivals, concerts, discovering urban sites and visiting places all over the world (almost being lost twice), the M4 simply wore out. At the beginning of 2000 the shutter broke and the camera was put on a shelf to be displayed.

That was until Bresson, Leica’s affiliate in Norway, came across Paal’s blog post about the broken camera. The camera was sent off to Leica technicians in Solms. After examining the camera, they concluded that almost every part of the Leica needed replacing, which took a few weeks, but in the end it was all worth it.

Before the camera was sent in for repair, Paal’s love of Leica made its mark on his arm. The idea of the Leica tattoo was not done on impulse; it actually took Paal three years and was completed in 2009.

At the end of August, Paal received his newly repaired Leica M4 and here he is admiring the well used beauty after waiting patiently for almost eight weeks for it to be completed. It still looks old and the paint is almost gone, but every little piece inside is new. This is Paal’s response upon receiving his new camera, ”a goodie bag from Leica with a square box covered in black gift wrapping. My Leica inside! The old M4 that the technicians at Leica didn’t know if they could repair, but now it’s all fixed. The coolest gift a guy can get; the old camera in perfect mechanical condition. The wonderful sound from the shutter, and the ultra smooth winding. Brand new.” It’s finally back in the spotlight after nearly twelve years spent on a shelf collecting dust.

This was the first photo taken with Paal Audestad’s rebuilt Leica M4. A packed concert hall of 15,000 spectators in Stavanger who have just heard the ending song for Kaizers Orchestra and all of the attention is directed at the man with the legendary camera. Paal had one chance to capture this shot.

Watch the video below of Paal’s first time shooting with his newly repaired camera backstage and onstage at the Kaizers Orchestra concert.

-Leica Internet Team

You can read the full story [in Norwegian] on Bresson’s site, leica.bresson.no,  and also see Paal’s work on his website, www.paalaudestad.com.