Bill Palmer: Diehard Leica Fan with a Big Heart, part 1

Help raise funds for AICR by following Leica on Twitter! We are donating €0.50 for every new follower to our account, @leica_camera. Upon reaching 10,000 followers by Friday, July 9, an additional €1,000 will be donated to AICR!

When it comes to combining his passion for Leica with compassion for others he literally wrote the book

Bill Palmer describes himself as a proud “gentleman amateur” and his incisive images, mostly shot with classic and modern Leica cameras and lenses, reveal him to be a compassionate and empathetic lover of humanity as well. It is therefore not altogether surprising that he has spearheaded a project that leverages the talent and enthusiasm of Leica photographers and uses it for a worthy cause, namely creating, promoting, and selling the Leica User Forum Book to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). As his eloquently understated intro to The Leica User Forum Charity Book states, “In the Autumn of 2009, I suggested that the talented photographers of the Leica User Forum should collaborate in the production of a photo book for charity. The book you hold in your hands is the result.” The book, which features 143 images by 101 photographers, all shot using film and digital Leica cameras and Leica lenses, includes an intro by Rudolf Spiller, CEO of Leica AG. So far it has raised well over $12,000 and Leica will be continually adding to the donations as the number of followers and supporters increase.

To give you a better idea of who this remarkable man is, we interviewed Bill Palmer and in two parts we will present his revealing personal views on life, Leica cameras and lenses, his own work behind and in front of the camera, and much more. We hope you find the dialogue both entertaining and informative. We sure did!

Q: Can you amplify on your comments about the AICR and the book project. Is there something about shooting with a Leica and encouraging members of the Leica community to participate that is particularly appropriate or fulfilling?

A: Part of the objective of the book project is to get people out and about shooting with their cameras.  They are, after all, tools to be used, not ornaments to sit in a glass case or gathering dust on a shelf.  The Leica community worldwide is an articulate well educated demographic with a huge amount of talent and, critically, the equipment to reflect that talent at its absolute best.  It’s great to see Leica photographers working to a common purpose instead of arguing about which bag is best for the M9, or which wrist strap is best for the X-1.

Q: From what I understand you’re also active on the Leica forum – how has this played a role in your photography, connecting with other Leica enthusiasts and in the projects that you instigate?

A: Very much so.  The Leica User Forum is a unique meeting place for people who use a unique brand of camera.  We are very fortunate that Andreas Jurgensen has created such a resource.  Photographers and Leica enthusiasts from all over the world know that it is the first port of call for anything to do with the Leica user experience.  There are some very knowledgeable people there, who give their time and expertise freely to help others.  Like many other places on the Internet we also have our fair share of server-space-wasters, but they are easily ignored, or removed.  The greatest thing about the Leica User Forum – I have been a member for seven years! – is that I have made some firm friends in the “real world” through our interactions at various Forum meetings, and of course at the annual One Challenge get-together.  So far we have visited London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Krakow, Valletta, this year Venice – who knows where next!

Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to say in regard to the Leica User Forum Book, Leica, the Leica forum or anything else?

A: I would like to say two things.  Firstly I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all the people who generously gave their time to make the book a reality.  This whole enterprise has been resourced by volunteers from all around the world with two things in common – a love of Leica and a desire to make a difference. I think we have done just that. My last point is simple – Do a good thing today-BUY THE BOOK!

In part 2 of our dialogue with Bill Palmer, he gives us his extraordinary insights on that elusive “something special” about Leica rangefinder cameras and lenses that result in the distinctive look of Leica photographs.

This post is part of the special ‘Leica for AICR’ series. To purchase the book, please click here. Proceeds benefit the UK-based Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). Please visit our page on Facebook to enter the ‘Leica for AICR’ photo contest; this week’s theme is Nature and Wildlife. Help raise funds for AICR by following Leica on Twitter! We are donating €0.50 for every new follower to our account, @leica_camera. Upon reaching 10,000 followers by Friday, July 9, an additional €1,000 will be donated to AICR!