Last year Cat Garcia was appointed as an official Leica Akademie Ambassador, a prestigious role offered to gifted photographers who can provide inspiration for others.
Cat was invited to Leica HQ in Wetzlar, Germany at the start of the year, to see legendary New York ‘street photographer’ Joel Meyerowitz being honoured for his life’s work with a Leica Hall of Fame Award.
This summer Leica will be supporting Cat’s first exhibition, entitled ‘Quarterly’, a body of personal work shot over a year featuring portraits and observed details across the seasons in the UK.
And, in the near future, Cat will be running a workshop with the Leica Akademie UK. Following in the footsteps of the original German Akademie dating back to 1934, the Leica Akademie UK offers a collection of workshops that aim to inspire a new generation of photographers and help capture the ‘decisive moment’.
We spoke to Jason Heward, Managing Director of Leica Camera Ltd.
What do you look for when choosing a Leica Ambassador?
Leica has always worked with great photographers, from legends whose images defined the 20th Century, to new emerging talents. When looking for Akademie Ambassadors we try to identify photographers with a strong individual style as well as expertise in genres that are of interest to Leica users. Their knowledge of photography has to transcend the technical and be more about inspiring passion for photography
People skills are also hugely important; they need a warm, friendly and engaging manner.
What drew you to Cat?
Cat specialises in portraiture and we were keen to work with such an exciting talent in this field. We love the lightness of touch and sense of storytelling in her work; the simple authenticity in Cat’s pictures is very much in the Leica vein. We first became aware of her photography via her book Our Time which was beautifully executed. It wasn’t just about her photography though – when we met her we knew she had the warmth of character and passion for Leica that we were looking for.
How did you know her work?
Our Time, justifiably, got great press. I first recall coming across it in an article in the Telegraph. Cat was also recommended by other photographers we work with.
What are your expectations for a Leica Ambassador?
Cat is working with us as an Akademie Ambassador and will be running photography workshops for Leica photographers. An appreciation of the philosophy of the Leica brand combined with a passion for our history and heritage are fundamental. Our Akademie Ambassadors deliver engaging, interesting and memorable workshops, and challenge photographers to see things differently. Last but not least, they need to be someone who creates beautiful and unique images that our customers can relate and aspire to. Through their tuition and guidance, our Akademie Ambassadors inspire our customers to be the best photographers they can.
What will you be doing with Cat in the coming months?
In the coming months, we will be running Cat’s Mastering Portraiture workshop both from Leica Mayfair and other locations around the UK. We’re very excited to be rolling this out and the first workshop will be online soon. In addition to these workshops, we are very excited to be hosting an exhibition of Cat’s new work this summer.
(As part of Cat’s portraiture workshop, she shot Duncan Campbell, Luke Edward Hall and Charlotte Rey. Images below. Cat shoots with a Leica M (Typ 240) and a Leica SL)