Listen, kiddos--hard to believe, but there was once a time before people snapped smartphone pictures at everything from coffee dates to christenings. Back then, news correspondents, artistic types and hobbyists brandished little German-engineered cameras--Leicas--that were so sturdy, elegant and expert that their images won awards and the cameras became collectibles.

Now Leica has opened a West Hollywood flagship that?s as much a tribute to brilliant moments in photography as it is a place to buy hardware. When you walk in, the first thing you see is a 15-foot-long stainless-steel sculpture of a camera, with glamorous backlit stairs leading to an upstairs gallery. (The cameras, which start at a few thousand dollars and include an Hermès collaboration, are discreetly displayed in wall cases.) 

The gallery displays work from bigwig photogs who use Leicas; currently, there?s a greatest-hits assemblage of Mary Ellen Mark, a few shots by pop star Seal and a series by film producer Yariv Milchan. A large sunny deck with Wi-Fi and cushy furniture invites lingering. There?s even a library of photo books and afternoon guest lecturers

Kudos, Leica--in today?s world of results-driven marketing, we?re thrilled you?ve turned your house of consumption into a temple to creativity.

Leica, 8783 Beverly Blvd., W. Hollywood; 424-777-0341 or us.leica-camera.com

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