compagnon of inspiration - Part 12: Max Leitner

compagnon der Inspiration – Teil 12:  Max Leitner

This time, our visitor has just got off the plane. Max is in the fortunate position of being many Instagram users' favorite window into one of the most photogenic cities in the world: Chicago. Max was born and raised in Germany, but a few years ago he swapped Baden-Württemberg for his new adopted home on the East Coast. Now he's back and was keen to drop by our store as soon as possible. It goes without saying that we are happy to welcome him:

"compagnon of inspiration" - Part 12

Brief portrait

Max's photography focuses on urban life and lifestyle. These themes are practically in every pore in Chicago. So it didn't take long for him to become aware of the compagnon backpack. His fans, customers and followers enjoy his style and his impressions. The fact that Max has decided to focus on genres such as adventure and travel photography in 2016 opens up new opportunities and new horizons for him. To conquer these, he has naturally chosen just one particular companion: His backpack.

compagnon: Hello Max, we hope you've landed safely. We're delighted that you're back with us now that you've only been back in Germany for a few days. How does it feel to be back here? It's quite a change from life in Chicago, isn't it? Certainly from an artistic point of view too...

Max Leitner: I'm happy to be here. I would say the biggest difference is the noise of the city, that's just part of it in Chicago. Being able to hear your own breath is really nice, along with the birds and the wind in the trees. Apart from that, there are far better pretzels and sausages here, but I miss the size of things around me a little. As far as inspiration goes, I'm happy to be in a new environment and settling in for more trees and less cement. Let's just wait and see what the next few months bring, shall we?

compagnon: Definitely. Here or there, you're hanging on to your backpack. Your enthusiasm for this compagnon has totally inspired us in return. What are you transporting with it? Have you repacked since you traveled back to Germany?

Max Leitner: I always have to have a wide-angle lens and a normal focal length with me, in addition to my main camera, a D810, of course. Whether I'm planning to shoot portraits or a city panorama, I always want to be prepared at all times. Especially when I'm traveling. That's why I have the holy trinity of Nikon lenses: the 14-24mm, 24-70mm and the 70-200. I also have one or two fast lenses with me. Especially my 50mm 1.4. My spare camera is also always with me. Oh yes, and my tripod anyway.

compagnon: That's a lot of glass. So good equipment is very important to you. How do you choose what you use?

Max Leitner: First and foremost, I go by reliability, sensory user experience and build quality. Good equipment is crucial. Maybe that's where my German heritage comes in. I appreciate the best of the best. For me, it is essential to have equipment that prepares me for any situation I might find myself in. Equipment that doesn't work reliably can be detrimental not only to yourself but also to the people who invest their time and money in you. Great equipment is made by people who have an understanding of how certain things are supposed to work. Whether it's a camera or a transportation solution.


compagnon: Let's put the technology to one side and look at your photos instead. You have a modern style. Very urban, of course. Many creative people try to perfect this look themselves. Does this style come from your personality or did this look just come to you in Chicago?

Max Leitner: Lately, my pictures have tended to be a bit darker. I did some post-processing for the print once, like on an assembly line. Maybe that's why I found it nice to be able to concentrate on certain color tones and the mood of the picture. There are bright motifs everywhere, but I prefer to focus on midtones and dark tones. Maybe that's where my joy of editing comes through again. You can simply do more with dark shadows. That is a transformation. Chicago, as my former home base, had a big influence on the whole thing. But every photographer's own style should be progressive. I'm excited to see how mine develops in the coming years.


compagnon: On the subject of style, I'm sure some readers will be interested to know whether you have any tips from your experience that could help amateur photographers improve their own pictures?

Max Leitner: Shoot every day. Lack of time is no excuse. There are plenty of things to photograph at every moment. When you draw, you gain skill with every kilometer you draw. Photography is no different. Don't blame others or even your equipment if you don't take good photos. Good photography is made in your eye. And your eye gets better when it is trained. Plus, you can decipher the composition, light and colors found in great legends.


compagnon: I'm sure that appeals to some readers. It appeals to us too. We don't manage to be out and about with our cameras every day. When you want to take a great photo every day, you can't be particularly picky about the time of day and the light. How do you deal with that?

Max Leitner: There are so many types of light. Personally, I'm a fan of the first hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. Long shadows, warm light spectrum, something about it mixes photographic quality with emotion. I love it when the mood is just right. On the other hand, a textured, cloudy day is also great at midday. Or in fog. I prefer 'available light' but knowing how to set light in the studio is also fundamentally important for me.


compagnon: You briefly mentioned the legends and great photographers of our time earlier. What defines these legends for you? Apart from their reputation and fame. What three qualities must every photographer have who is ambitious to earn such a reputation? What do you think?

Max Leitner: In a nutshell: perseverance, fault tolerance and motivation. In addition to the usual knowledge of camera settings, composition and post-processing.

compagnon: Are these also the qualities you had to demonstrate when you took your most important picture to date? Is there such a thing for you?

Max Leitner: My most memorable photo is the one I haven't taken yet. I know that sounds very cliché. I'm already passionate about the photos in my archive and all the memories associated with them. Nevertheless, I always want to get better.


compagnon: Earlier you were very interested in our workbench and all the materials. Where does that come from? A second love alongside photography?

Max Leitner: When I'm not photographing, I'm racing down a single trail on my mountain bike or tinkering in a wood and metal workshop. I enjoy building things, creating things out of nothing.

compagnon: Then you understand particularly well how passionately we work on our products and come up with new ideas. Thank you for visiting us Max. We wish you lots of fun and success for your coming months in Europe. You are always welcome here. All the best!

The pictures in this article were provided to us by Max Leitner. The images are protected by copyright. The sole rights are held by Max Leitner. More from Max on Instagram and his website

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