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Leica opens new gallery in The Fullerton Hotel dedicated to photographers and their art

The spotlight is on the artists behind the camera at the new Leica Galerie.

The new Leica Galerie unveiled at The Fullerton Hotel last Friday will showcase local and overseas photographers, with the aim of bringing out the artists behind the camera.

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, art director and chief representative of Leica Galleries International, who curates 17 Leica galleries around the world, says: “I look for good, moving pictures that say something. The eye behind is important. I don’t like it when the photos are heavily edited using Lightroom or Photoshop.”

Rehn-Kaufmann, 60, who has been curating the works that go into Leica galleries for the past nine years, also hopes to display the wide repertoire of Leica photographers.

“I want to show the whole angle of what is possible, from architecture and nudes to fashion and documentaries. Leica is not just a camera, but also an instrument that brings out the person behind the camera,” she says.

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Dubbed the “Rolls-Royce” of camera brands, Leica Camera AG is the German brand behind the world’s first successful 35mm portable, compact and lightweight camera. It was invented by Oskar Barnack in 1914 and presented to the public in 1925.

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, art director and chief representative of Leica Galleries International

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, art director and chief representative of Leica Galleries International, curates 17 Leica galleries around the world.

The new gallery in Singapore replaces the one at Raffles Hotel, where the brand has held exhibitions for the past five years.

Rehn-Kaufmann explained how Leica photos are different because of the lenses that bring out different layers in photos, giving it a 3D effect. Well-known for its long history, Leica cameras have been used by photojournalists to document historical events such as World War II and the Vietnam War.

“Photography plays a big role in our lives. The picture does the talking and, today, we often talk in the form of pictures instead of writing,” says Rehn-Kaufmann.

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The opening exhibition for Leica Galerie at Fullerton is Memories Of Istanbul by Ara Guler, 89, a Turkish photojournalist who has captured the everyday life of Istanbul’s inhabitants for more than 60 years.

Apart from works from internationally acclaimed names, pictures from local Leica photographers such as Alwyn Chong, Justin Ong and Rosalynn Tay have been featured in Leica Gallery Singapore.

“We want to give an opportunity to local and regional artists to present their works,” says Sunil Kaul, managing director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific.

“What matters is how to make Singapore more culturally and artistically oriented. How do we get them to talk more about photography? We want our gallery to be a destination for like-minded people to gather and talk about this art form.”

Leica Gallery Singapore showcases six to 10 exhibitions a year and also conducts photography workshops at all levels.

“With the smartphone, everyone can take pictures, some even lasting a few moments. But for me, a picture is only a picture when it is printed out – the rest is data. On print, you can see the true quality of the photo taken,” says Rehn-Kaufmann.

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“At an exhibition, you can look at the pictures for as long as you like, from different distances and angles. Nothing beats the printed photo,” she adds.

Adapted from The Straits Times.

PHOTO Desmond Foo / The Straits Times / Singapore Press Holdings