Camera Geekery: Nick Ut’s Leica M6

A little while ago a good friend of JCH told me that he has a very special camera that he would like me to find a new home for. Now this isn’t my first rodeo with an important camera, but when I heard who the owner of the camera is my ears immediately pricked up. That’s right, this is award winning photographer Nick Ut’s Leica M6.

Nick Ut

In case you are not familiar with with work of Nick Ut then first of all, where have you been? Nick is probably most well known for his work during the Vietnam war, in particular the Napalm Girl image, an image that changed the world and how we viewed war, in a time when war reporting was still in its early stages. This image and others from this era changed the world and the press forever.
Nick won both the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and the 1973 World Press Photo of the Year for his image of a 9 year old Phan Thị Kim Phúc running after being burned with Napalm. In fact Nick presented a print of this image to the Pope himself just this month.

Nick Ut’s has lived a fascinating life and you could fill pages telling his story. Instead you can read all about him and his contributions to photography here and here. And now Nick has retired and want’s to take a bit of a step back, so it has become time for him to sell some of his cameras.

Nick Ut’s Leica M6

Of course, this isn’t the camera that Nick shot his most famous of images on (his famed Leica M2). That camera now resides in the London Science Museum on permanent display. As well it should, of course.

This is the camera Nick had been using up until very recently as his main shooter. Most recently in fact at the March 5th rally in support of Ukraine in Westwood, California.
What is so special about this camera? Well it is a piece of history attached to one of the worlds most well known photographers. Which he has been using up until very recently. It is well used and has definitely seen its fair share of rolls. The meter doesn’t work either. But the camera does function.
But there is something very interesting and rather special inside the camera. It contains a 36 exposure unprocessed roll of Tri-X that Nick photographed the March 5 demonstration, of Ukrainians in Los Angeles protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nick decided to leave the roll in the camera for the next owner to develop (or not) at their own discretion. It also comes with a signed and notarized certificate from Nick to prove the camera is indeed genuine. The camera remains unopened and waiting for the next owner to make the important decision about developing the film inside.

You can see the camera here. It is for sale and we really hope it goes to a home that really appreciates something of this provenance.

The funny thing is, Nick also sent his Hasselblad Xpan at the same time and asked for that to be sold, but he didn’t attach as much importance to that camera and didn’t make a certificate for it. Though it is his camera and it is also looking for a new home.

Historic camera

Do you have a lead on an important camera? We would love to hear about it. Or do you have a camera that has a really special story? We would love to hear about that too. Hit us up through this link and share with us what you have.