William Albert Allard,
canoeing. One was a Leica and there were maybe two Nikon F’s with different lenses and possibly different film.
My normal working setup is two cameras and preferably Leica range-finder cameras with maybe a 28 mm lens and a 35 mm or a 50 mm. For digital, I recently went from Canon to Nikon. You have all these wonderful zoom lenses now, but the problem is if you put a lens hood on one of those long things, you look like you’re going out to mortar a village.
You’re a lot less obtrusive if you have a Leica on your neck or the camera I’ve fallen in love with — the little Lumix. Although I would love to have a couple of the new Leica M9s, but they’re seven grand apiece. I do love the way a Leica feels, and it’s a slightly different way of looking, when you’re working with a range finder, not looking through a lens. Pasa: National Geographic eliminated its photographic staff in 2008. That must have been a blow. Allard: I was in Missoula, and David Griffin, the director of photography, asked if he could visit me. I assumed he wanted to talk about this new book, but we hadn’t even ordered our omelets yet, and he told me they had decided to eliminate the two staff positions. And at the same time he was telling me, Chris Johns, the editor in chief, had called Jodi Cobb into his office and was telling her the same thing.
I bounced off the wall in surprise. I didn’t lose any sleep that night, but you have to consider how you’re going to restructure your life. Both Jodi and I continue to work for National Geographic. Pasa: What are you working on now? Allard: I just finished a project in northern Montana, which you’ll probably see in the magazine in the coming year.