Barnack's First Leica

The "first Leica" - called Handmuster - was handcrafted by its inventor Oskar Barnack at the beginning of the 1920s.

Out of this prototype camera and after a few improvements the Leica as we know it was born and an impressive success story began.

Street Photography with Barnack’s Handmuster


While the renowned Leica-Doctor Ottmar Michaely overhauled Barnack’s Handmuster Hans-Günter Kisselbach was playing with the idea to take photographs with this historical camera in our days and with modern film emulsion: Street Photography with the Handmuster, back to the very roots of photo journalism.

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Theo Kisselbach: Leica Expert and Book Author


Theodor (Theo) Kisselbach (1908 – 1984), bought his first Leica in 1928. And Leica should change his life. Upon passing the examination for the master craftsman in photography certificate at the School of Arts and Crafts in Frankfurt he became an employee at the Leitz company in Wetzlar. There he worked for the then head of the Leica Academy Heinrich Stöckler.

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Passion and Perfection: Oskar Barnack Exhibition

Barnack Ausstellung "Perfektion und Leidenschaft"

In an exhibition in the Stadt- und Industriemuseum Wetzlar, also open during Hessentag 2012, Leica Camera AG displays an exclusive selection of impressive photographs by Oskar Barnack. Among them are the first pictures ever made with a Leica as well as his remarkable series about the flood in Wetzlar that took place in 1920, regarded as the first photo reportage ever.

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