Leica opens new London photography gallery and academy
The multi-purpose Mayfair store gets the red dot of approval
Next day delivery: a dream come true for the consumer, but a shopkeeper’s worst nightmare. Quite simply, it means retail stores now need to offer something you can’t get online. Or better still – as demonstrated by Leica’s new London flagship gallery and shop – a great deal of in-store only perks.
The German camera manufacturer’s latest outpost, newly opened on Mayfair’s Duke Street, combines store, gallery, and bespoke training centre. Naturally, the store will offer the full range of Leica cameras (including the brand’s new Leica Q2), optics and lenses, along with the erudite advice we’ve come to expect from the brand, but on this occasion it feels like the merchandise is there to compliment what else is going on, rather than the other way round.
Photography: Guinness Brewery, Dublin 1962 for Vogue. © Brian Duffy/Duffy Archive, currently on view at the Leica store in London
Much of the hype seems to be around the Leica Gallery, the first of its kind in the UK, albeit the 22nd globally. Here, the brand will exhibit the work of some of the world’s most celebrated Leica photographers, beginning with the exhibition ‘True Glamour/True Grit’ (until 26 April), a collection of vintage fashion images by Terence Donovan, Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill and John Swannell. The surrealist photography of Ralph Gibson is next in line.
But it’s the Leica Akademie training centre, which will share the gallery space, that’s expected to get aspiring photographers through the doors. The Akademie, which has run in Germany since 1934, will offer an extensive schedule of talks and workshops for photographers and enthusiasts of all abilities – everything from portraiture to food photography. First up, Fashion & Art in Practise with Turkina Faso, followed by Beginner Street Photography with Robin Sinha. It’ll also run taster experiences with selected models, which could be just what you need to get your head round the Leica Q2’s new bells and whistles. That’s a service you’ll rarely get delivered to your door. §