Leonardo Schober, a Director Of Photography who is deeply enamored with vintage lenses for the rich tapestry of filmmaking history they hold within their glass. Hailing from Switzerland, he has forged a remarkable connection to the art of storytelling by embracing these lenses as gateways to the past.
Lenses are more than just a tool
For Leo, vintage lenses are not mere tools; they are gatekeepers of a bygone era, vessels that carry the artistic legacy of filmmakers who came before him. He sees them as portals into the minds and hearts of the cinematic pioneers who shaped the medium with their creativity and vision. Each lens tells a story—a story of innovation, passion, and the relentless pursuit of capturing moments on film.
In his hands, vintage lenses become more than mere technical instruments; they become conduits for storytelling. He sees them as time machines, transporting viewers to different eras, immersing them in the sights and emotions of the past. Through careful selection and pairing, he matches lenses to specific projects, using them as tools to evoke specific moods, enhance narratives, and create a visual language that resonates deeply.”The Zeiss Super Speed line is one of my favorite set of lenses, wide open they look magical,” he adds, “the characteristics are stunning and they render skin tones as pleasant as no other glass.”
Embracing the flaws
Working with vintage lenses is no small feat. Leo embraces the challenges they present, knowing that they demand a unique understanding and adaptation to their idiosyncrasies. These lenses may not possess the razor-sharp precision of modern counterparts, but they compensate with a warmth, character, and soul that can’t be replicated. Leo embraces their imperfections, recognizing that they add a layer of authenticity and texture to his visuals, infusing his films with a nostalgic charm that captivates audiences.
But his commitment doesn’t end there. He actively seeks out lenses that have fallen into obscurity, giving them a new lease on life. He delights in the process of restoring, repairing, and reviving lenses that have been neglected, allowing their stories to be retold in the modern age. In doing so, he pays homage to the unsung heroes—the artisans and technicians—who crafted these lenses with meticulous care, often by hand, leaving behind a lasting legacy that deserves recognition.
Leonardo Schober’s passion for vintage lenses transcends their technical specifications. It is a devotion to the artistry, history, and storytelling they embody. Through his work, he channels the spirits of the great Cinematographers who came before him, using their tools to craft his own unique visual language. With each frame, he pays tribute to the heritage of cinema, weaving together the threads of the past and the present to create a tapestry that speaks to the soul of the audience.