At first, he had been concerned that his legs may not be up to it. But then his fax arrived: "I will attend." And so, the almost 99-year-old David Douglas Duncan spent the evening of 28 November delighting around 60 guests at the Leitz Park Wetzlar with excerpts of his fascinating life as a photographer.
His visit marked the presentation of a highly exclusive Leica M special edition: the M3D ‘David Douglas Duncan’. Lars Netopil, owner of the Leica Store in Wetzlar's Old Town and Duncan's long-time friend, initiated the edition, with the aim to honour the acclaimed former ‘Life’ photographer as well as to celebrate 60 Years of M Photography with a symbol that embodies Leica's manufacturing concept in the most fitting and aesthetic manner. Limited to 16 units (with serial numbers from 5 to 20), the M3D is a most elaborately crafted, minutely detailed reproduction of the historic M3D (numbered 1 to 4), which the company of Leitz created specifically for DDD back in 1955. This original M3D was a re-designed M3 which deviated from the serial version by accommodating a Leicavit rapid winder. The custom-made camera went on to serve as a template for the Leica MP, which was manufactured in a small production run from 1956, and was specifically aimed at the professional photojournalist – see also our feature ‘The Improbable’ in LFI 1/2015.