Not only that Leica produce finest cameras every photographer would like to get in his hands, they also work together with selected skate photographers. There will be an exhibition dedicated to skateboarding and surfing in the Leica gallery Frankfurt, with guys like French Fred and Hugh Holland. It’s called „Cruise ’n Elements“ and it starts on the 1st of July and will end on the 27th of August. We’ve just asked Fred a few questions in addition to the project.
Fred, you’re an official Leica photographer, right? How did you get in contact with Leica and in which way do you collaborate with them now?
It is more of a collaboration, that grew over time. I’m not under contract, although it was meant to happen, but finally never did. It started with the 2013 edition of the Red Bull Illume photography competition. Leica were partner, and because I won the first edition in 2007, I was loaned there new M Monochrom camera to enter pictures in the contest shot with it. The deal was that I could keep the camera if I placed a picture in the top 50. I always did for all the previews editions, but that time I only made it to the top 250. So I was meant to return the camera, but all the time I had it, I shot as much as possible with it, so I would have material to show to Leica. They liked it a lot, and eventually, after some time, they told me I could keep the camera. So I kept shooting loads with it, and from there, it lead to more projects with them, like when last year the commisionned me to shoot with their brand new SL camera system for its worldwide launch. I mean I am super honored that my photography can have such importance for them, and that they totally like skateboarding and let me total freedom with it.
Brandon Westgate – The Flume
You’r one of six photographers that will be part of the "Cruise ’n Elements" exhibition in the Leica gallery in Frankfurt. What is the exhibition about?
Yeah it’s a collective exhibition, with both skateboarding and surfing, with photographers from very different generations. For example it will go back in time as far as the seventies, with the famous photography of Hugh Holland.
Which of your photos will be shown?
A selection of my most powerful pictures shot with the M Monochrom, as well as a part of the serie I shot in Los Angeles with the SL. I will not only show skateboarding, mixing it up with graphical and ambiant pictures that are part of the same urban environment as skateboarding, where I spend a lot of my time.
Nassim Guammaz – Backside Smithgrind
What else have you planned for the coming months?
The main thing this year for my photography is the release of my first major book, published by Thomas Campbell’s Um Yeah Arts
. I’m really excited about it, it covers my whole photography career. It will be strictly black and white, with a mixture of skateboarding and other things. The exhibition will give a little glimpse at how my book will look like. I can tell you the title: “Attraper au vol”. Yes it’s in French! I got the privilege to have Anton Corbijn accepting to write the foreword for it, and it was like Xmas when he did it, he is one of my heroes, also because like himself I am both a director and a photographer. Oh yeah and Leica will also exhibit my work again, in september, on their booth at Photokina in Cologne. 2016 is going good so far. My hard work along the years is paying off. It’s not always been easy as far as my photography. For many years it didn’t appeal to the magazines or the brands. It was special, but I sticked to it, which helped me build something strong. That’s why I never recommend to follow trends or to adapt too much to the commercial aspect of things in general. Never making compromises is a commitment, but is priceless.