Alberto Venzago was one of the first photographers given the chance to work extensively with a Leica Q. These days the Swiss photographer keeps it constantly at his side. Venzago, who works mainly in black-and-white, put the Q to the test at the Swiss National Circus Knie, producing available light impressions – also in colour, of course.
Q: Mr. Venzago, which Leica Q characteristics have you come to appreciate in particular?
A: It’s small, handy, light, and sexy. In addition to having the best technology, I think a camera should also look good.
Q: Did it bother you to be working with a camera with a fixed focal length?
A: 90% of the pictures I take are done with a 35 mm lens. It’s the focal length that’s engraved on my brain. This means that I know exactly how close I have to get to see whatever’s opposite me at a certain scale. That’s also the reason I don’t need to use a zoom lens. With this in mind, a 28 mm focal length takes some time getting used to and isn’t necessarily my preference. But I love fixed focal lengths. I love getting close to the object, so I soon came to like it.
Q: You’re known as a black-and-white photographer, but your colour photos of the circus really shine – was it just a test for you or did it convince you?
A: For sure, my world is a black-and-white one. After all, I love stories at the edge of the abyss. But a circus is a colourful, sparkling world of illusions, acrobatics and precision. The Q was perfect for this world, which is why I chose it. Childhood memories, light-heartedness and colours that are too beautiful, too bright – but this is what I found so fascinating.
Q: You’ve been photographing with a Leica M for decades. Did you use the Q’s autofocus at all?
A: At my age there are times when I’m actually happy to have a camera with autofocus with me [laughter]. Seriously though, the Q’s autofocus is very fast, but I rarely use it. The focussing aid with the enlargement in the camera is particularly helpful. That was a real revelation.
Q: Because of its lens, do you see the Q as a specialist camera or a Leica that can be used anywhere?
A: I can well imagine it becoming a second favourite next to the M … the camera is easy to handle, it fits in any bag and the main thing is that it delivers great quality. For nighttime, in particular, it’s a good choice as an available light camera.
Q: When did it prove particularly useful to be on the move with the Leica Q?
A: I always have it with me. The camera is inconspicuous, in a positive sense. It fits into any pocket. It doesn’t brand me as a professional, but I still get the best picture quality. I don’t consider the Leica Q a substitute camera, but a specific choice.
Q: When do you next plan to take the camera with you?
A: I’ve been working on a medium format project for two years now. The Leica Q is the best ‘making of’ camera for such a project, and a camera with above average picture quality. That’s pure luxury.
Thank you for your time, Alberto!
– Leica Internet Team
See more of Alberto’s work on his website. Read the interview in German here.