What Happened to This Badly Burned Leica Camera?

We reached out to the individual behind this post to get the story.

For the sky-high prices they often come at, their durability, and the quality of the images they produce, Leica cameras are among the most coveted gear among photographers. They’re usually treated with care that’s borderline reverence and devotion – which is why we, and we assume many of you guys now too, were shocked when we stumbled upon the picture of this Leica camera that’s burned so badly it’s barely recognizable now.

The man behind this post on r/Leica is /u/Lightningraph, or Daniel Rego of Lisbon, Portugal. In a series of messages, Daniel told The Phoblographer that the camera in the photo was a Leica IIIc made between 1941 and 1942 and was part of his later father’s collection, which included more cameras and vintage cars, to name a few things.

Sadly, many of these were damaged in a fire in 1994. He shared in detail:

“In the process of moving from a bigger to a smaller house, my father bought a piece of land and got two ship containers. He used this container to put a lot of things in: cars, cameras, furniture, a piano and a lot more things that I don’t even remember. All things were locked and safe inside the containers. At some point, not knowing why, someone (my father thought it were some kids playing) got the place on fire.

“At the same time a lot other bad things happened to my father – his company went bankrupt and a lot other bad things. So he kind of gave [up on] everything. Eventually, me and some friends went to the containers and got some stuff. This camera was one of those things.”

Here are some more photos of the burned Leica from Daniel:

And while that’s about it for the story behind the camera, Daniel was gracious enough to offer more tidbits about himself and his family, who it turned out had been in the business of photography for a long time. PROFOTO, a popular photography, sound, and movie equipment store in Portugal back in the day, was founded by his grandfather back in 1949. It distributed major brands including Leica, Hasselblad, Sinar, Bowens, Manfrotto, Metz, and more. Eventually, Daniel’s father took the helm until the store closed down in the ‘90s.

Having grown up surrounded by photography, Daniel developed a love for the craft. He started working in the industry when he was 17 as a studio assistant and has never stopped since. Later on, he also worked with a couple of photographers and at the Instituto Português de Fotografia for 10 years.

Today, Daniel runs the online camera store Cameras from Lisbon, where he sells vintage cameras.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Daniel!

All images were taken by Daniel Rego and used with permission.