The Whispered Interviews Stefan Daniel

A bit of a different approach, The Whispered interviews Stefan Daniel in an audiovisual slideshow. Unlike most interviews we're used to, this one isn't so much about the latest and greatest Leica body or lens, but more about Stefan Daniel the man. Definitely worth checking out!

One interesting observation mentioned was, "...something very particular that Stefan did: '…whereas most subjects will do some final, quick adjustment to their clothing or hair – Stefan tweaked his little Leica pin on the lapel of his jacket. It was an unconscious act, that spoke volumes.'" Indeed.

This person is responsible for the some of the most powerful photographic equipment presently on the planet. He has had a hand in many of the iconic images we have come to live with over the last 30 years. This person is Stefan Daniel… Director of product management at Leica.

Stefan Daniel ushered the Leica rangefinder into the Digital age; bearing the weight of tradition that the little red Leica icon carries. You see, there is a pantheon of photographers who use Leica….. Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa, Helmut Newton, Sebastaio Salgado, to name a handful.

When you meet Stefan, you quickly come to learn that he is doing exactly what he was meant to do. In 1984 Stefan became an apprentice in precision mechanics at Leica. He was 16. Since then, he seems to have worked in every stage, or department at Leica — mastering everything from welding to design… even choosing to spend 7 years in the repair department, with the very cameras that were his passion.

I have become accustomed to meeting these people I call Masters. In Solms, at the Leica factory, when Stefan Daniel walked into the room, I had a moment’s pause. Stefan is a formidable presence. In the East, they would describe him as ultra Yang. Powerful. Potent. Yet, to see only that is to misunderstand him. There is a sense of destiny about him and Leica.

In a recent article I did, I described something very particular that Stefan did: “…whereas most subjects will do some final, quick adjustment to their clothing or hair – Stefan tweaked his little Leica pin on the lapel of his jacket. It was an unconscious act, that spoke volumes.”

There is a soulfulness that underscores Stefan beyond his formidable presence; a genuineness. You realize, after a short period of time, he is just waiting to smile. Every time he looked at my camera, his piercing blue eyes were like magnets drawing you in.

I often describe what we do here at The Whispered, as trying to pull back the curtain and reveal the wizard. But, in a way, that’s exactly what we are doing: hunting for wizards.

… Stefan Daniel is one such wizard at Leica.

I asked Stefan 3 questions:

  1. In his opinion, what is it about Leica that distinguishes it?
  2. Who is Stefan Daniel?
  3. Finally, after having taken a handful of photographs of Stefan… I asked him to remember a specific moment. There was a distinct difference about him subsequently. A soulfulness. I asked him to share what was going on.
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