'Finding Perspective' with Max Leitner

Finding Perspective - the new film by Valentin Schüle
about compagnon ambassador Max Leitner.

At some point two years ago, I received an e-mail from a guy called Max Leitner. He wrote to us in English and wanted to test one of our then brand-new handmade waxed canvas and leather backpacks. Even back then we received countless mails & inquiries of this kind continuously, so naturally, his message got lost in the shuffle.
Shortly after his first message, mail no. 2 and no. 3 came in. This guy clearly was not used to giving up. Max described himself like this: He's actually German (born and raised in Stuttgart, near our home base) and currently studying photography in Chicago. We looked at his Instagram feed and browsed it top to bottom in amazement. This young guy has an Instagram portfolio like you rarely see or may never see. He's clearly an expert on architecture, urban landscapes and the lines of a city.  His Instagram account is a must-follow for everyone..

As life goes sometimes, few weeks later he arrived at our HQ in Birkenfeld - in the meantime he had finished his studies and moved back to good ol' Germany. That's how our story started.

Since then he's visiting our store in Birkenfeld regularly - in the early days on his Triumph Thruxton, now on his self-built custom-BMW Scrambler. What's fascinating about Max Leitner is not only his incredible passion and his talent for photography, but also they way he's using his equipment. He looks into the details of it, is demanding and keen to provide us with valuable feedback about our products.

Around fall of 2017, we were just setting up the Kickstarter campaign for the compagnon explorer backpack, our vision of a highly ergonomic and functional camera backpack that we developed together with Deuter, Max told about his upcoming projects. At the time we had an idea: Why don't we make a movie about Max, showing how he how he works and explores a city while using his own prototype of 'the explorer' backpack. This would be one of the roughest, most demanding test scenarios we could think of, anyway. 

So Max Leitner was one of the first people in the world to test the explorer backpack, in an early prototype phase mind you. In the following weeks, we traded location suggestions back and forth, searched for the ideal spot and finally also found a suitable time slot in our busy schedules.

Secret spots in Cyprus or St. Petersburg were among the finalists.
But at some point, we realized that we hardly knew some of our direct neighboring countries so going abroad seemed a bit pointless. So we picked Belgium, specifically during gray and dreary February. We wanted to capture the morbid flair of long-gone golden industrial days.
A straight forward plan.

What I experienced there, roaming Belgium alongside Max Leitner, is difficult to express in words. You have to watch the movie to get it. One thing stuck in my mind most prominently - images taken in his style and quality do not produce themselves and neither do they happen by chance.
They are the results and essence taken from little sleep, insane endurance, high motivation and energy, taking certain health risks, countless discarded pictures and the insatiable hunger for the unique shot, the unique picture, one that has never been taken before.

We shot the film February, now in summer, it's finally ready. Sometimes that's how it is. Nevertheless, the timing seems alright, because only a few days ago the huge delivery of explorer backpacks arrived at our doorstep. The prototype that Max uses has become reality. They are ready for shipping now.

Did you enjoy the movie? I'm hoping that the movie inspires some of you to head outside more often and just take beautiful pictures. It doesn't matter if the results are moving or not. The main thing is to move yourself, don't hesistate and inspire yourself and others with your work.
Best wishes, your
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