René Staud: Impressions from Mille Miglia with the Leica S-System

Q: In your studio, you, as a photographer, create fascinating images of wonderful cars. When did you begin to specialize in shooting cars as a subject?

A: That was quite early on; I shot my first session with cars in 1971 and delivered fantastic results. Since then, I’ve tried my hand at all sorts of other subjects, but shooting cars grabbed me right from the start.

Q: What do you personally find so fascinating about cars?

A: Cars are lifestyle and incredibly charged with emotions. In my childhood, you simply had to know everything about cars and nothing else. That leaves a lifelong impression. What’s more, you can also create such incredibly elaborate scenarios with this subject – and even finance it all with the marketing needs of my clients.

Q: How can photography ideally highlight fascinating elements like the constructors’ design vocabulary and details?

A: It’s all about recognising and studying them as a basis for working out and perfecting lighting and exposure concepts in the studio as well as out on location.

And that with all imaginable resources and, of course, the best technology on the market – and that’s where the Leica S-System realises its full potential. Nothing is more important than sharpness and precision in the details.

Q: The Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most legendary races. Why does it still attract thousands of people from around the globe every year?

A: It is probably the last remaining true adventure for real men that our mobile and motorised society still offers. Italy goes wild for a whole four days and the childhood dream of speed and performance in every man is offered a playground and the chance to race through Tuscany at 200 km/h, cheered on by an audience of millions.

Q: What did you and your team realize at this year’s Mille Miglia in terms of photography?

A: We captured the unique atmosphere in pictures and portrayed every single one of the 450 cars at the start, at the intermediate stops, on the most beautiful squares, in fascinating narrow streets and in the most breathtaking bends of the route. Four teams with eight Leica S-Systems captured more than 14,000 exposures. The best of these will be recreated as fine art prints on finest paper on the 300 pages of a large-format coffee table book and made available to automobile aficionados around the globe.

Thank you for your time, René.

- Leica Internet Team

Read the interview in its original German here. Learn more about René on his website and about Mille Miglia.