The photos shown in the "Covered" exhibition by Bob Leinders fascinate mainly through their clarity and natural appeal. Stars such as Til Schweiger, Otto Waalkes, Wladimir Klitschko, Helene Fischer or Mickey Rourke are seen staring directly into the camera, with nothing more than a blanket draped around them, creating a direct, almost intimate relationship with the viewer. Christian Popkes, curator of PHOTOPIA Hamburg, comments: "I am especially happy about the fact that we are able to contribute to a lively cultural scene in our city in these difficult times by setting up the longest streetside gallery in all of Hamburg."
Many of the public figures immediately agreed to participate in the project; only Mickey Rourke was a bit hesitant for a moment, Bob Leinders remembers: "Mickey Rourke was involved in a movie project in Berlin together with Til Schweiger whom I know well. So I asked Til to find out whether Mickey would be willing to be part of my shooting project. I had to wait next to the set for two days, and even then, Mickey was willing to be photographed wearing a huge pair of sunglasses only. Fortunately I was ultimately able to persuade him to take those sunglasses off." The result is a powerful portrait of the American actor.
The first photo with a blanket was a private snapshot
Bob Leinders came up with the idea to photograph people with just a blanket by pure coincidence: "I was sitting with my then-wife and our daughter on the couch, and both of them were draping a blanket around them, just for fun. I took some pictures of them and was fascinated by the result. The photos were pure, candid and classically reductionist. This made them contrast powerfully and soothingly with my usual work where every photo is painstakingly composed and arranged.” This experience prompted Bob Leinders to ask some friends whether they would be willing to pose in front of his camera just with a blanket around them; then he approached some models and other well-known personalities whom he had met through his work. The blanket he uses is an original Swiss army blanket. “The somewhat rugged surface and the special haptic properties of the blanket appeal to me in a very special way," the photographer explains.
Bob Leinders works for magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue and takes pictures for companies the likes of Mercedes, Tchibo, Samsung or Lufthansa. Born in the Netherlands, he is also on the advisory board of the German professional organisation of free photographers and film artists (Berufsverband Freie Fotografen und Filmgestalter e.V., or BFF). It was through this position that he became aware of PHOTOPIA Hamburg. Says Bob Leinders: "We were looking for a venue for the BFF's annual kick-off exhibition. It turned out PHOTOPIA Hamburg with its new format was a perfect fit."
The photographer was immediately enthusiastic about the concept of the new imaging event. "This is an innovative event that goes far beyond a plain product show. It really inspires people to take photos themselves. I especially like the concept of showing photography in the public space, taking it out of the galleries and putting it into the streets, thereby making a cultural statement in the midst of the city. I also very much like the idea of not only addressing photography professionals but also and in particular leisure and smartphone photographers", says Bob Leinders who will be representing BFF at PHOTOPIA Hamburg next September.
Photo and art exhibition marathon in the public space
Until September, photographers will transform the glass front of the exhibition halls into the city's longest art gallery. In the run-up to PHOTOPIA Hamburg, a total of six different exhibitions will be available to viewers walking past the halls along Karolinenstrasse – free of charge, by day and by night. "Covered – the story of a blanket" by Bob Leinders is the second of these exhibitions, following in the footsteps of the photographic art project "Wir geben Hamburg Perspektive" (“We lend perspective to Hamburg”) which showed work by Hamburg-based photographers organised in the Association FREELENS e. V.
Date and location of the exhibition "COVERED – the story of a blanket" by Bob Leinders:
14 May to 4 June 2021; exhibition hall glass façade (Karolinenstrasse)
Arriving by public transport: “Messehallen” underground station
All dates will be published on www.photopia-hamburg.com.
About PHOTOPIA Hamburg
PHOTOPIA Hamburg will take place at the Hamburg exhibition complex and throughout the city from 23 to 26 September for the first time. It will then become a regular, annual event. The innovative live event hosted by Hamburg Messe und Congress is a triad composed of the PHOTOPIA Summit, the PHOTOPIA City and PHOTOPIA 365, a permanent online platform for sharing views, content and information. It will attract enterprises from the entire world of imaging, showcasing products and services related to photo and video recording, editing and processing, storage, displaying and sharing, including software and technology companies and many start-ups. It is open to all photography and filming professionals and enthusiasts. Apart from dealers, professionals, semi-professionals, hobby photographers and photography enthusiasts, the target audience expressly includes smartphone owners who like to use their devices for recording, editing and sharing photos and videos.