Where The Heck Are Kevin and Chris?
I have had a crazy idea for a while about some new content that I wanted to put on Luminous-Landscape. In short, I wanted to start a series of “Behind the Scenes” articles and videos. The concept is to approach a number of well–known names in the photography industry and ask them to open their doors to us and let us tell a story about their company.
This would include design, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and just about anything you could think of. Haven’t you ever wondered how a camera was made or how a lens was put together? Frankly, I always wondered what was behind many of the products we use on an everyday basis. We did one of these in 2009, when Michael and Chris visited the Phase One headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. The company opened its doors and allowed Michael free access to all things Phase One.
Almost two years ago I mentioned this idea to some people from Leica at one of the meetings I had with them. At that time it sounded like an impossible dream—lots of logistics and such to work out, not to mention the sensitivity of taking someone from the press essentially behind the doors of the oldest camera company. But – everyone thought it was a cool idea.
Then, shortly after the introduction of the M10, we got more serious about the project, and it started to come together. There were a lot of people involved from both the US Leica group and the German side of things. There were scheduling issues for Chris and me as well as the Leica group. And, finally, we found a week that worked.
So, last week Chris and I flew to Germany to spend literally a full week with Leica. Leica, in all its German efficiency, put together a non-stop schedule for Chris and I that would start on Saturday and end the following Friday. We were given access to every product manager for interviews. That first Saturday we had a walk-about in Wetzlar with Stefan Daniel that was very cool. This was also when we did our first of over a dozen different videos. Stefan started us off with the fascinating history of Leica, from 1914 to the present day. He started at Leica at the age of 15 in an apprenticeship program.
I read up on the history of Leica before our trip, but to hear it from Stefan was incredible. His passion for the company was the first glimpse we had of the company’s popularity among its employees. This passion would prove to be just as strong with everyone else we met throughout that week. It’s actually something we will do our best to share in the videos and articles, as I have never seen anything quite like it. The morale of the company is incredibly strong. I think you’ll see this when the articles and videos appear.
We were able to visit camera assembly, lens assembly, machining, lens grinding, and even the factory where the amazing Leica Cine lenses are made.
At the end, I had the honor and privilege to sit down with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, who single–handedly helped make Leica the camera company it is today. We had the most incredible talk, and that will also be part of our video series.
All in all, it was a fun and exhausting week for us. We learned so much. The Leica offices are modern, specially designed buildings. There is a whole additional set of buildings that will be opening next year with galleries, teaching areas, and Leica’s own hotel. We’ll also share a bit about this with you.
My Visit To Phase One in Copenhagen, Denmark
After our visit with Leica was over, Chris flew back to Canada, where he now has a massive editing project to complete. I then flew to Copenhagen, where I have been spending a few days catching up on what Phase One is doing. Phase One is another one of those companies that has a passion and drive unlike what you’ll find anywhere else.
There is no question that the Phase One XF camera and 100MP digital back have set the bar high as far as camera design and capabilities. But Phase One hasn’t sat back and just stopped developing. Now, they have gone even further and developed a new technology on their sensor called trichromatic color. In addition, they have vastly improved the focus technology in their cameras.
I had the opportunity to meet and speak with the guys behind this technology and design as well as catching up with Henrik Hakonsson, the CEO of Phase One. It’s always a great time sitting down with Henrik and the rest of his team. We’ll have first–hand videos and more to share soon.
All in all, it has been a non-stop two weeks on the road. I am excited to share all of the information we have with you soon. We will be releasing videos and articles as we have them finished rather than waiting for everything to be completed. We hope you’ll enjoy the content coming your way from these trips. We have a lot more projects like this underway, too.
Please enjoy our small little photo collection from the trip below