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Ernst Leitz Museum celebrates reopening

The modern and interactive museum in the Leitz Park Wetzlar invites visitors to see, create and interactively experience photography.

© Leica Camera AG/ Leitz-Park Wetzlar

The Ernst Leitz Museum in Leitz-Park Wetzlar, the home of the Leica camera, is celebrating its reopening. After extensive renovation work based on an innovative and interactive museum concept, a modern museum of photography has been created, which will be open to visitors again from 1 October and enrich the region with another attraction.

The Ernst Leitz Museum offers four newly designed experience areas on around 600 square metres on the upper floor, which inspire visitors to see, create and experience photography. In addition, there is an exhibition area on the ground floor for outstanding photo series by international artists. Here, the successful and much-visited photo exhibition "The Eyes of Humanity" by the American Magnum photographer Steve McCurry can be seen until 24 October 2021 - a personal selection from 40 years.

As a special highlight on the occasion of the reopening, visitors can expect a real rarity among the exhibits: an original Leica 0-series camera (No. 105), with which Oskar Barnack, designer of the original Leica, took photographs himself, will be presented. The Leica 0-series cameras, of which only about a dozen have survived today (very few of them in their original, unaltered condition), are among the most coveted objects of desire for many collectors and achieve record results at auction, most recently at the Leitz Photographica Auction in Vienna in 2018. The Leica 0-series (No. 122) auctioned there is currently the most expensive camera in the world at 2.4 million euros including buyer's premium. The Leica 0 series (No. 105) from a private collection will be on display exclusively at the Ernst Leitz Museum until the end of the year.

The four experience areas in the Ernst Leitz Museum, for whose concept development and implementation studio klv (Berlin) is responsible, are divided into the areas "Seeing and Perceiving", "Technology and History", "Photography" and a special exhibition. At interactive stations, optical phenomena are demonstrated and the basic rules and effects of photography are vividly illustrated using various photo settings. For each thematic presentation, such as reflections or movement, prominent photographers (including Steve McCurry, Ralph Gibson, Barbara Klemm, Franziska Stünkel, Alex Webb and Fred Mortagne) are the inspiration with a quote and a selected photo. Using the Leica cameras integrated at the stations or their own smartphones, visitors can try out all the photo settings, implement creative ideas and download all the pictures and selfies via the Leitz Park app to take home as souvenirs.

© Leica Camera AG/ Ernst Leitz Museum im Leitz-Park Wetzlar

Seeing and perceiving
In the entrance area of the Ernst Leitz Museum, the focus is initially on "seeing and perceiving", with the aim of sensitising visitors to conscious perception. Optical phenomena are explained in an understandable way. To this end, for example, a 50-fold magnified aperture of a Leica S camera is installed in the museum's large panorama window, which opens and closes as soon as you approach it. In addition, there are various frames with filters, colours and lines that explain details of image composition and inspire visitors to come up with their own ideas.

Technology and History
The second area is dedicated to "Technology and History" and thus to the tradition-steeped Leica company history as well as its innovative achievements, craftsmanship and product milestones. Bronze busts present the central figures of the Leitz family who have shaped the company through their commitment and work. The fact that Leica played a decisive role in the development of photography is demonstrated by the original historical objects in the showcases. A digitally expanded window also offers an insight into the Leica company archive with highlights from the company's history. In addition, interactive stations give visitors the opportunity to discover the outstanding technical features of Leica cameras and lenses in a playful way - for example, to build a lens and follow the live simulation of the beam path on the monitor, or to determine the matching Leica cameras in pairs using acoustic memory based on the unique shutter release sound. Other stations include a darkroom. At a large interactive table, visitors can recreate the steps of analogue photo development and, for example, develop and enlarge images from the Leitz Park app.

In the third experience area, visitors can learn more about the basic rules of photography and the influence different factors can have on photographs at various interactive stations. Photo settings on various themes invite visitors to experiment with the installed camera or their own mobile phone. Staged effects such as reflections, light and shadow, colour moods, movement and wind offer opportunities for unusual photos and show the versatile possibilities and facets of creative image composition. There is also an exhibit dedicated to "self-portraits": sitting in front of a mirror, visitors control the colour and intensity of the light and take photos of themselves. All the pictures taken can then be downloaded using the Leitz Park app and taken home as souvenirs.

Special exhibition
The fourth area will feature changing special exhibitions with exhibits on a wide range of topics from the world of Leica. For the museum opening, the exhibition "Oskar Barnack" will be on display. Enriched with exhibits from the Leica corporate archive and the passionate photographer and filmmaker's own photographs, this area rounds off the unique photography experience in the new Ernst Leitz Museum.

The Ernst Leitz Museum in Leitz Park Wetzlar is open from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Further information

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