“Capturing “Das Wesentliche” – the essential element – of a moment is the aim of every photographer and, simultaneously, the essence of the art of photography. We have dedicated ourselves to this art for almost 100 years. Leica manufactures cameras and lenses that see more than the human eye. They provide deeper insights into the essence of reality. They enable the creation of works of art by reducing and capturing reality in its bare essential form.”
… And so, last year, I received this invitation to a Leica special event to introduce their new range of cameras at the time: Monochrom M9, Hermes M9 and X2. My first thought was that I had received this invitation in error and I should accept before they realised their mistake. My second thought was that I obviously spend too much time and money in camera stores so I should definitely accept. Needless to say, I accepted and attended.
Not being associated with the camera industry, it was interesting to find myself at a function at Foto Riesel with industry professionals, media, photographers and Leica officials. The counter of the camera store was converted into a bar and there was a singer and guitarist off to one corner. All up maybe 60 or so people in attendance.
The invitation also mentioned a guest of honour and without fanfare, Seal arrived. Many know of Seal as a Grammy award winning artist and he was in town on an extended visit as one of the judges of the Australian version of “The Voice”. However, not as many would know that Seal is actually a very accomplished and enthusiastic Leica M photographer. So much so that he is often a guest at Leica functions around the world and is considered as a “Leica Ambassador”.
Without any script or notes, Seal spoke for about 20 minutes about his association with and love for Leica M Rangefinder cameras. He also complained about the price of Leica products and their lack of availability much to the delight of the gathering.
He discussed photography in general and his love for it. He interacted with us on a personal level and was highly entertaining. He came across as an intelligent and well-spoken man well versed in photography. His own photos were on display which he also spoke about. Later on, he signed some of them to be sold later to benefit a local charity.
Seal didn’t just speak and leave. He stayed for a couple of hours to play with the cameras, talk to people and even give an impromptu performance.
It was clear that his assistant wanted him to leave to attend to “The Voice” duties but Seal would not leave until he was ready. He seemed to be enjoying his time at the function and we all appreciated it. All-in-all, it was an interesting and fun event.
By the way, Seal occasionally writes on photography forums and displays some of his photos on various online sites. You can see some of his photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sealsong/show/