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Colin O’Brien Photography Workshop

January 21, 2017
by the gentle author

Colin O’Brien‘s life changed when – as an adolescent photographic prodigy – he received a Leica camera and now LEICA are staging a free one-day workshop for photographers as a tribute to Colin, our much-missed Contributing Photographer who died last summer. I will be introducing the day by talking about my work with Colin, participants will be able to learn about the workings of the latest Leica M and then sent forth with interactive maps of Clerkenwell to explore the streets where Colin took many of his most famous photographs. The workshop will be hosted by photographers Daniel Cuthbert & Clement Lauchard.

This event is now full, but if you are interested to be informed about future workshops please email

“I am not entirely sure how I came to be the owner of my prized Leica Model 111a with an Elmar f3.5 lens manufactured in 1936. Rumour has it that an Irish chauffeur who lived in Victoria Dwellings found it on the back seat of the Rolls Royce he drove and conveniently forgot to mention it to his employer. He must have seen me with my old box camera and offered the Leica to my parents for a nominal sum. These sorts of deals with expensive merchandise being sold ‘off the back of a lorry’ were not uncommon.” – Colin O’Brien on how he obtained the Leica camera with which he took many of his famous photographs.


You may also like to read about

So Long, Colin O’Brien

Colin O’Brien, The Photographer From Clerkenwell

The Man Who Photographed Car Crashes

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Greg Tingey permalink
    January 21, 2017

    Best lenses on the planet. The owner of Leica in the late 1930s, Ernst Leitz II assisted a number of Jewish employees in fleeing Germany. He could not give them money, as the Nazis would take it, so he gave them a camera, to sell back to the Leica shop in New York …

  2. January 21, 2017

    Colin worked his magic with his Leica camera he was very good, sometimes you only one chance for a shot !he took it that’s what made him special he was certainly street wise. I am not sure how he obtained his Leica, however they worked together as a team, can I say the excellence of this camera gave him the quality he needed for his professional work. This was the preferred choice of camera used by war correspondents they have recorded all wars of modern times, reason being they were small with that certain quality they needed at the sharp end. Leica cameras are the Rolls Royce of the photographic world versions have flown in space. I believe one has also orbited earth on the Space Shuttle. Have no fear Colin up-there we will be viewing your photos for many years, you are future proof Poet John – PS I have decided to call you Super Colin, now that’s got to be nice.

  3. Malcolm permalink
    January 21, 2017

    Anyone who has used a Leica – or any manual camera – will know that taking photographs without the aid of autofocus, built in light meters and all the other modern facilities found in cameras today, is a very different proposition. Just think, only 36 shots on a roll of film and no preview facility to see if it looks ok. Colin’s photographs are testament to his skill with a camera and his artistry in composing and capturing great images.
    I’ll be there if I can, I’m sure it’ll be a great day.

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