This is the first Conversing Cameras of 2022! For those of your who don't know our "Conversing Cameras" series is a simple way to see inside like-minded individuals around the topics of photography, camera gear and it's an intersection with different individuals' lives. This year we are going to try something new, and share someone's journey in photography, some of their work, and chat a little about photography and cameras each week! This week I'm excited to start off the year with Jim Koenigsaecker. You might have seen Jim's work on the CW blog before. He's been a long-time friend of CW and a phenomenal Leica photographer. Jim uses his photography for his advocacy efforts and uses his Leica to cover cultural events, society, and landscapes, and simply incredible pieces of time all around the globe. We really don't do justice to Jim's work here and I invite you to follow him on Instagram and check his website out to take in more of his work. 

*pictured above: Jim Koenigsaecker photographing one of the last of the Big Tusker elephants, known as Craig, in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Amboseli is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Biosphere Reserve. By Michl Kallweit © 2021 (Leica M10-P, 28mm, ISO 100, 1/1000th of a second, f/2.0)

About Jim Koenigsaecker:

  • Philanthropist & Photojournalist
  • @jim_koenigsaecker
  • Based in Sacramento, CA

Q: Your Camera Bag: What kind of gear can be found in your Camera bag today?

A: I have been carrying Leica rangefinder cameras around the world with me for more than 30 years. Today I have a black-paint M10-R camera and 28mm, 50mm and 75mm Summilux lenses in a Billingham Hadley bag. I also have two SL2 cameras and 28mm, 35mm 50mm and 75mm Summicron lenses in a Billingham Eventer bag.

Jim Koenigsaecker’s SL2 in his vintage Land Rover. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica M10-P, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/125th of a second, f/1.4)

Q: Tell us about yourself: Who are you, what is your background?

A: I dedicated the first 10 years of my adult life to newspaper journalism. I worked my way up from a copy boy to an editor, but, my passion was always photojournalism. During the glory days of newspapers, I covered everything from the White House to the Olympic Games with my trusty Leica. These days I uses photography to amplify my advocacy efforts, shoot the occasional freelance editorial assignment, and enjoy documenting my family, friends, hobbies and travels.

Q: The Begining: What first sparked your interest in photography and Cameras?

A: My grandfather, George Koenigsaecker, was an amateur photographer. He introduced me to photography and I learned the basics of photography from him and his collection of books and magazines about photography.

Q: Tell us about your work. What kind of photography do you do and enjoy?

A: Most of my effort these days goes into what I think of as photographic advocacy. I try to raise awareness of social issues I am concerned about by using my camera to tell the stories of people who are effected by those issues and organizations that are working to help those people. For example, I recently traveled to East Africa to document the work of a group of doctors and nurses who risk their lives to care for some of the most marginalized people in the world.

Q: What's the most fascinating thing to you about photography?

A: The ability of a photograph to nudge the world in the right direction.

Sunrise over the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. Jim Koenigsaecker is documenting as many World Heritage Sites as possible as part of a long-term, personal project. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 90-280mm at 280mm, ISO 200, 1/500th of a second, f/4.0)

Bodybuilder Jim Odinga in his makeshift gym in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. He uses exercise to rise above the squalor of the slum. Jim Koenigsaecker helped build two community centres in the slums of Nairobi. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 24-90mm at 24mm, ISO 50, 1/250th of a second, f/4.0)

Q: Do you like to shoot film or digital?

A: I shot film until the quality of digital surpassed film and now shoot exclusively digital.

Q: Who is your favorite photographer?

A: Sebastião Salgado

Q: Do you have any favorite quotes about photography?

A: "If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough" - Robert Capa

One of the last of the Big Tusker elephants, known as Craig, in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Amboseli is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Biosphere Reserve. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2021 (Leica SL2, 28mm, ISO 200, 1/5000th of a second, f/2.0)

Q: Who are some of your favorite Instagram photographers?

A: Matt McClain (@mattmcclainphoto) and Muhammed Muheisen (@mmuheisen).

Q: What’s your favorite camera? Why?

A: My black-paint M10-R. It is a beautiful and discreet camera

Jim Koenigsaecker and his black-paint M10-R at his home in Sacramento, California. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2021 (Leica M10-R, 35mm, ISO 250, 1/125th of a second, f/2.0)

Q: You’re heading on an adventure for a week and can only take one camera & one lens. What is it? Tell us about your most minimal setup.

A: My black-paint M10-R and 35mm Summicron ASPH. Carrying just that camera and lens is actually my preferred way to work. They are effortless to move around with, bullet-proof, discrete, and can perfectly capture any moment.

Q: What next: If you could add anything to your camera bag what would it be?

A: The new 35mm Summicron APO ASPH.

A pool hall in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. As many as 1 million people live in extreme poverty in Kibera which is the largest slum in Africa. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2019 (Leica SL2, 35mm, ISO 3200, 1/60th of a second, f/2.0)
A salesman peddling textiles to Betty Namirimu in the village of Kyebando, Uganda. By Jim Koenigsaecker © 2018 (Leica M10-P, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/500th of a second, f/5.6)