Fashion has been intrinsically associated with the city of love and romance for many years. Paris is also known as the city of light for its importance during the era of enlightenment in the 18th century. A special characteristic of Paris is that it’s a city that inspires artists, photographers and musicians all over the globe, making it one of the most amazing places in the world. For this, we had the opportunity to step into the backstage of one of the events that make this city pound with excitement, Paris Fashion Week, as documented by art brand Kama Sutra Lovers. Love and romance all over this Valentine’s Day.
Please tell us who is Kama Sutra Lovers?
Kama Sutra Lovers is a 360º art brand through which we release our original music and collaborate with the fashion & luxury industries for visuals, music and creative direction.
How you got involved with Leica?
On a broader level, as photographers and art lovers, we were well aware of Leica as the Leica brand is so integral to the history and evolution of photography especially reportage. We had been on the hunt for a compact, modern, and super fast handling full frame camera and the Q was perfect for our needs. Within a few minutes of handling and testing the camera we fell in love with it and the Q’s phenomenal “rendering” sealed the deal!
This project shows us behind the scenes of Paris Fashion Week.
This image series was shot during Paris Fashion Week in late September 2015 and include images from Esteban Cortazar at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Masha Ma at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture, and Aganovich at Palais de Tokyo.
You used the Leica Q for this project, what are the main highlights from this shooting experience?
Shooting with the Leica Q was a revelation for both of us and it was perfect for how we like to shoot backstage for a combination of reasons. The Q is super light, the 28mm focal length is perfect for the ultra-tight, cramped spaces backstage, the Q’s autofocus is the first autofocus we prefer over manual focus, and using the live view on the rear screen allowed us to shoot quickly and precisely with POV angles we normally would not be able to do. Obviously none of these technical and/or haptic aspects would mean anything if we did not love the “look” of the images created from the combination of the sensor and the lens.
Any other equipment you used for these images?
We don’t use any sort of flash or artificial light as that slows down the shooting process and makes all the photos look the same. We work with available light as every venue and backstage area has its own unique character. Shooting in this traditional “old school” reportage style with available light (or darkness) we are able to capture the unique ambience and feel of a show and therefore the photos from that designer’s show have a distinct visual identity. For post production, we do all of our processing in Capture One Pro.
How is the backstage of the fashion show experience? How does it compare to your live-electronic shows?
They both are chaotic! The very interesting thing about the backstage at fashion shows is that there are hours and hours of preparation with a huge crew that’s gone in a blink of an eye, as a show in general only last 5 to 7 minutes. Teams of makeup artists and hairstylists are working endlessly preparing the girls; dressers are prepping the clothes, carefully organizing pieces by model and look. The show producer is “calmly” putting out last minute fires (as not to disrupt the designer’s state of zen) and making sure that the choreography, sound, and lighting is in balance.
Our electronic music shows are the exact opposite with soundcheck being totally relaxed and chill which is done hours before the opening and the show itself lasts 2 to 3 hours. The process of playing live brings a different sort of creative high. The challenge to keep the vibe sonically interesting is fun for us and the bonus is that we get to dance and celebrate with other people and just let go of this world for a few hours to go deep into the sound.
Please tell us if you will be working on any other future projects involving the Leica Q (or other Leica cameras)?
We will continue to use the Leica Q for our backstage reportage and it will remain our “go-to” camera for cocktail parties, black-tie events, and music shows due to it’s incredible IQ in such a small, fast handling package.
This summer, we are planning a bikepacking expedition to Mongolia for which we would like to supplement our two Leica Qs with the new Leica SL with a Summarit-M 50mm lens to give us an alternative focal length. The fact that the SL is so solidly weather-sealed is perfect as we will be going from the dry and dusty Gobi Dessert to the cold and wet taiga of northern Mongolia.