In November, the first Leica Store in the Philippines was opened in Manila. What does the photo scene there look like?
“It’s more fun in the Philippines” – that’s the Philippines’ tourism slogan. True to its claim, there is a lot about the Philippines that is worth capturing – from Manila’s busy streets, to the country’s historical places, numerous vibrant festivals, and breath-taking landscapes. The last few years have seen a steep increase in the numbers of photography enthusiasts, hobbyists and professionals. At the launch of the first Leica Store Philippines in Manila Greenbelt 5, we welcomed and received a warm response from many current Leica owners and photo enthusiasts, who expressed their joy at seeing Leica come to the Philippines.
What makes the store so special in your opinion?
The Leica Store is where Leica and photography enthusiasts get together to share their photographic journeys and stories. The team, the layout and the location of the store are special, as photography is the highlight. The team members enjoy photography as well and share their own pictures with customers, demonstrating the capacity of our tools. The Leica store is like a place to hangout, a meeting point for photography enthusiasts to refresh their gear, review their images and discuss future photographic journeys. We have incorporated a resident Leica Academy instructor who organizes local trips with individuals and groups.
Are you planning any special events?
The immediate plan is to put Leica Academy activities into full gear. The focus here is to share, educate and inspire creativity to a current and whole new generation of photography lovers. We want our customers to take more photographs and to share them. We also hold talks by internationally acclaimed photographers who speak about their personal perspectives. Last but not least, we have events every other month in order to introduce the beautiful new products that will be available on the market.
If you could choose - who would come to visit the Leica Store Manila?
I’d like to see the younger generation coming to our store as, through our trained staff and the Academy, we could teach them how to use a manual camera. A camera should be like a car, you should know how to drive one with manual gears before driving an automatic.
You also opened a shop in Jakarta. Are there any plans to open a Leica Gallery there?
We would be very happy to open more Leica Galleries, but we should be very clear about the purpose of such a platform. The Gallery promotes the art of photography with outstanding photographic perspectives; it’s a platform to introduce leading photographers and promising talent. Indonesia has a lot of heritage and culture and, as a matter of fact, there are several historic images to do with the independence of the country that were taken with a Leica camera. We have just started the awareness activity and, hopefully, next year we can look into the option of setting up a Leica Gallery.