Monday, December 1, 2014


On Friday, November 26, Leica Camera presented a special edition Leica M3 to one of the legends of photography, American photographer David Douglas Duncan.  The camera, labelled M3D (D for Duncan) is similar to a specially made Leica M3D that was made for him in 1955.  Only four of those models were made at that time.  That camera was the forerunner of the Leica MP which became available in 1956.

<p>David Douglas Duncan mit der ersten Kamera der Edition, die seine Signatur trägt.  (Foto: Heiland)</p>
David Douglas Duncan with his new Leica M3D  (Photo: Heiland)

Duncan was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1916.   He started his career as a photojournalist when he took photographs of a hotel fire in Tucson, Arizona where he was then studying archaeology at the University of Arizona.  Those photos included some of a guest who tried repeatedly to go back into the burning building to retrieve his suitcase.  That guest turned out to be the notorious bank robber John Dillinger.

After college, Duncan began to freelance, selling his work to magazines like The Kansas City Star, Life and the National Geographic Magazine.  After Pearl Harbor Duncan joined the Marine Corps, earned an officer's commission, and became a combat photographer.  Just before the United States entered World War II, Duncan was sent to the south Pacific on assignment.  Duncan also covered the battle of Okinawa, and was on board the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender.

After the war he was hired by Life to join their staff.  During his time with Life he covered many events including the end of the British Raj in India and conflicts in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Many consider his most famous photographs those he took during the Korean War.  He later compiled many of those photos in a book called “This Is War.”  He donated the proceeds of the book to widows and children of Marines who had been killed in the conflict.  Duncan is considered to be the most prominent combat photographer of the Korean War.

After the Vietnam War he published two more books, “I Protest” in 1968 and “War Without Heroes” in 1970.

Besides his combat photographs, Duncan is also known for his photographs of Pablo Picasso, to whom he had been introduced by fellow photographer Robert Capa.  He became a close friend of Picasso and eventually published seven books about him.  He now lives in Castellaras, France, close to Mougins where Picasso spent his last 12 years.

In 1966 he published “Yankee Nomad,” a photographic autobiography with photographs he took during his career. In 2003 this book was revised and published under the title of “Photo Nomad.”  Another book, “The World of Allah,” was published in 1982.

Many of his photographs are displayed in the exhibition "Magic Moments - 60 Jahre Leica M" at the Leica Gallery of Leica Camera AG at Leitz Park in Wetzlar.

The special edition Leica M3D is limited to just 16 examples.  They are engraved with Duncan's signature on the back of the camera.  These also include a signed enlargement of Duncan’s photograph "Picasso holding the Snow Owl mask.”


Please Note:  The items below are subject to a 20% discount off the listed prices until the end of December 2014

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