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Please note: RPS House is closed for our exhibition install. We will be open again from 10am on Friday 9th August 2024.


Photographers, Leicas & the Analogue Exhibition

Hiro dies at 90, Leica wows at auction and the first annual Analogue Exhibition

This update brings together some news items about analogue photography including a look back at the career of legendary fashion and analogue photographer, Hiro, news from the auction world as a Leica camera out-performs expectations with a record sale, as well as more information about the upcoming Analogue Exhibition.

The first annual Analogue exhibition is a week away. Taking place over two weeks from 23rd September to 7th October, the exhibition brings together varied analogue works from group members across the world. Apart from the core of silver gelatine prints from film, visitors will be able to enjoy cyanotypes, wet plate images, intaglio, kalitypes and salt prints, lith prints and the more accessible hybrid (film to digital) images. The exhibition of 80 prints is supported by an online catalogue with a hard copy version also available after the exhibition. The show opens on Thursday 23rd September in the bespoke Courtyard Gallery at the Core Theatre in Solihull. Entrance to the exhibition is free, with an adjacent café and wheelchair access. Find out more about the exhibition on it’s Events page, here.

Leicas are widely regarded as one of the most coveted brands in analogue photography circles, usually coming with a hefty price tag. So when a late-50s black-painted IIIg Leica came to auction at Vienna’s Leitz Photographica Auction in June, the auction house estimated the value at €24,000-€26,000. The camera’s high estimate was based on the camera’s rarity, not only as one of the last screw-mounted models produced by the company, but its unique colour ‘most were produced in chrome,’ stated the auction listing ‘but 125 black versions were produced for the Swedish army’. This Leica in question, however, is known to pre-date the Swedish versions thanks to its serial number and a letter of authentication from Leica who claim the camera was a ‘final test project’. The camera had also recently sold at auction, in 2019, for £17,500, so a £21,000 rough estimate seemed perfectly suitable. When the lot came up for auction in June, however, all expectations were surpassed when the camera hit a hammer price of €408,000 (£348,207). This isn’t the first time a Leica has exceeded all expectations at auction. 2013’s auction of a limited edition Leica II sold for $620,000 (£448,204), in 2012 a customised Leica M3D-2 sold for $2.18 million (£1.57 million) and, more recently, a Leica-0 prototype from 1923, sold for $2.97 million (£2.14 million) in 2018, becoming the most expensive camera ever sold at auction. Read more about the IIIg Leica and the auction it was sold at, on it’s auction listing page here.

Known professionally as Hiro, photographer Yashuhiro Wakabayashi, best known for his analogue fashion photography, has recently died at the age of 90. Starting out as an assistant to Richard Avedon, Hiro spent more than six decades working in photography with a unique photographic style that saw his commercial work published in outlets such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Rolling Stone. In 1969 he was named Photographer Of The Year by the American Society of Magazine Photographers, while his photographs are held in collections all over the world including Boston’s Museum of Fine Art in Massachusetts, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Musée Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. In 1982 American Photographer dedicated a whole issue to Hiro asking “Is this man America’s greatest photographer?”. The cause of Hiro’s passing has not been revealed but numerous publications have written obituaries and retrospectives on Hiro’s impressive photography career including a statement from the Avedon Foundation and a long write-up from London’s Hamilton’s Gallery, which you can see here.

For more analogue photography news, tips and information, visit the RPS’ Analogue microsite, the Analogue Group’s Facebook page or Instagram page.