Back in May I got one of the coolest phone calls ever: “Leica wants to send you to Germany for training.”
(Okay not really, but what else do I even say after that?!)
Wetzlar is a small town about a half-hour drive outside of Frankfurt where Leica Camera AG has its headquarters. While the city looks like any city, it has a smaller “Old Town” area, with narrow medieval streets, half-timbered wood frame buildings, and a Gothic cathedral at its center. For an awesome week, a dozen of us Leica salespeople (and overall camera geeks!) were put up at a small, nice hotel in this Old Town area and spent our evenings dining and walking around there. We spent the days at Leitz Park, the Leica HQ area, learning about the company culture, history, products, and sales strategies. Sounds like boring conference room stuff, sure, but we were in camera geek heaven the whole time. We even had the chance to hear from Peter Karbe the head of Optical Design! The highlight of Leitz Park was the tour of Leica’s factory. I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but Oh. My. God… when Leica says “made by hand” they really mean MADE BY HAND. There is also a gallery of famous Leica photographs and a museum containing one of every model ever made. The architecture of the building itself is something to admire: one half built in the shape of binoculars, the other in the shape of a lens (complete with a center atrium), and the windows resemble film strips. We had lunch with Leica staff in their cafeteria and the Leitz Café (so fancy!). Here are my photos of Leitz Park and of my new friends from Spain, England, Italy, France, and all over the US.