domingo, 2 de abril de 2017

Lisl Steiner Photographs Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Chiao Kuan Hua and The Permanent Ambassador Huang Hua seated at the 26th General Assembly of the United Nations on November 15, 1971 in New York

                                    © Lisl Steiner / Keystone Press

November 15, 1971. The 26th General Assembly of the United Nations is being held in New York.

Twenty-five days have elapsed since October 25, 1971, date in which the United Nations voted to admit the People´s Republic of China (mainland China) with a place as one of the five permanent members of the U.N Security Council.

The U.N delegation of the People´s Republic of China has arrived at the JFK airport four days before, on November 11, 1971, to take part in the 26th United Nations General Assembly and is made up by Huang Hua (Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations and formerly Ambassador to Canada), Chiao Kuan Hua (Deputy Foreign Minister), Ms Wang Hai Yong (President Mao Tse-Tung´s niece), Hsiung Hsiang Hui (who had studied at American universities during the 1940s and would be Chinese Ambassador to Mexico next year), Chen Chu (alert analyst of Soviet and Mid East affairs), Tang Ming-chao (who had lived in United States for sixteen years prior to Mao Tse-Tung´s takeover of the Chinese mainland in 1949) and Kao Liang (chief of intelligence and espionage missions).

All of them are now inside the huge U.N building in Manhattan, New York City, seated in the General Assembly Hall.

The photographer Lisl Steiner (working for Keystone Press Agency and one of the few photojournalists accredited for this event along with Alfred Eisenstaedt, Brian Alpert, Jean-Paul Laffont, Mel Finkelstein, John Rooney, Paul Slade and others) is near the Chinese delegates.

                                   © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

She has got a Leica M2 with 12002 SBKOO 21 mm metal brightline finder with standard shoe on it and an 8 elements in four groups Leitz Wetzlar Super-Angulon 21 mm f/3.4 lens (symmetrically designed by Schneider-Kreuznach under Leica specifications)

                                  © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

with 12501 model clip-on hood,

                                  © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

a 24 x 36 mm format mirrorless with rangefinder camera given away to her in mid sixties by the New York Herald Tribune photographer and Pulitzer Prize 1949 Nat Fein and Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film.

The expectation is huge and all of the photographers and cameramen have been approaching to the metallic bar in which the name China is written to photograph or film the delegates of this country located just behind it, so space has been crammed for some minutes with photojournalists using Nikon, Leica and Asahi Pentax cameras handheld, others with flashes and some movie camera operators using 16 mm Bell & Howell Filmo 70DR with three lens turret cameras.

Lisl Steiner has been paying heed to choose the best moment to shoot and it arrives when she manages to find herself a good position in front of Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Chiao Kuan Hua and the Chinese Permanent Ambassador to the U.N Huang Hua, very close to them, slightly on the right, and with two further members of the Chinese delegation visible behind Huang Hua: Ms Wang Hai Yong (President Mao Tse-Tung´s niece) over his right shoulder and Hsiung Hsiang Hui over his left one.

                                    © Lisl Steiner / Keystone Press

It is now when she presses the shutter release button of her Leica M2 mirrorless with rangefinder camera and captures both Chiao Kuan Hua (smiling) and Huang Hua (engrossed in his thoughts) unaware, going unnoticed in spite of the great proximity to them and taking advantage of the amazing levels of discretion provided by the whispering shutter release noise of her utterly mechanical photographic tool in synergy with an exceedingly short shutter lag of 15 milliseconds, far superior in this regard to the cream of the crop of digital professional cameras of different formats currently manufactured well within XXI Century.

46 years later. Lisl Steiner inside her room at the Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth in Vienna (Austria) holding a 30 x 40 cm enlargement of the picture she made in 1971. © José Manuel Serrano Esparza                              
46 years later. Lisl Steiner at the lounge of Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth in Vienna. The picture she got of Huang Hua and Chaio Kuan Hua is a major photojournalistic and historical document, since it depicts the beginning of China aperture to modernity particularly fostered by Zhou Enlai, who with great wisdom envisaged the future and sent a first-class Chinese delegation with two very brilliant men: Huang Hua (displaying a great mastery of English language, who had studied with American missionaries at Yanjing University in Beijing during thirties, featured a comprehensive culture, would have secret talks with Henry Kissinger in New York around the time of Richard Nixon´trip to China in 1972 and would negotiate with U.K Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997) and Chiao Kuan Hua (Chairman of the Chinese delegation, a skilfull politician who lead the Chinese delegations to the U.N until 1976). © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

46 years later. Lisl Steiner beside the large mirror within her room at Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth in Vienna holding the 24 megapixel full frame Leica Q digital camera with Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 lens given away to her by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG. © José Manuel Serrano Esparza