Axel Breutigam: “SOLITUDE - In the Desert and Beyond”

I’m a German born Canadian, living in Vancouver, BC, but spending the winter months in Palm Springs, CA - my name is Axel Breutigam.

I’ve been working as a German lawyer and CPA for almost 30 years but was fortunate enough to sell my office at a relatively young age, which gave me the opportunity to pursue Fine Art Photography for several years full-time now.

Living in Palm Springs, CA in the winter months I love to go out into the desert, into the Canyons around the city and in particular driving to the nearby-located JOSHUA TREE National Park.

The JOSHUA TREE National Park in California is one of my favorite places to go. I just love the way the trees are: They are not only unusual and interesting but their unique shape gives them a kind of quirkiness, which is always fun to look at and very inspiring.

The JOSHUA TREE National Park is by far not the most spectacular or most popular of all US National Parks. But if you walk around and have a closer look at the trees it’s in particular this quirkiness that let’s you discover ‘new trees’ all the time. and – but that’s personal – I can’t get enough of it.

But on the other hand I’m a ‘city boy’. I was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany and I have been living in Vancouver, BC, Canada for the past 15 years now. Both cities have about two Million people – so I’m used to city life.

As much as I love being by myself to enjoy the nature I also love the hustle and bustle of big cities a lot.

Buildings, bridges and all kinds of other man-made structures are fascinating to me. They give me an urge to take out the camera and picture these structures in the way I – again, in a very personal way – see them.

If I’m lucky I can bring them ‘to life’ by capturing a decisive moment, like a musician trying to be in time for the Christmas Concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA or a couple rushing to the elevator in the City Center in Las Vegas, NV.

For quite a while now all my images are black & white. I’ve also been shooting color in the past – and I still like those images. But over time I realized Black-&-White-Photography is what I enjoy the most. And – again, my personal opinion – only black & white photos give room to let the viewer imagine what the real scene might have looked like.

And here’s the point where Camera West and in particular Sean Cranor come into play:

I don’t remember what I needed or what I was looking for at the time but in spring 2012 I visited the Camera West store in Rancho Mirage for the first time.

It was also the first time I had a look at LEICA cameras, which I wasn’t familiar with at all. But long story short: That was it !

I tried a LEICA M-E, fell in love with the rangefinder experience and it didn’t take more than a couple of days and I went for it. I traded in all my Nikon and Fuji equipment and bought a LEICA M-E with a 50 mm Summilux lens.

And what’s the saying ? - The rest is history:

Since I was more and more drawn to black & white - like in the old days in the 70’s with my own little darkroom in the bathroom - I bought the original LEICA Monochrom shortly after it’s release, upgraded the LEICA M-E to a LEICA M (Typ 240) and I’m a proud owner of the LEICA Monochrom (Typ 246) since July 2015; not to forget to mention that I do some b&w film shooting at the side with the wonderful LEICA M-A.

All my images of last year’s multiple artists show ‘The Desert holds the Sky’ - held at Brian Marki Fine Art in Palm Springs, CA - had been taken with the original LEICA Monochrom.

My images of this year’s solo exhibition at Brian Marki Fine Art in Palm Springs had either been captured with the original LEICA Monochrom, the LEICA Monochrom (Typ 246) or with the LEICA M (Typ 240).

The exhibition runs from April 1st until April 30th 2016.

For the first time I decided not only to show Fine Art Archival Prints on Paper but also Dye Sublimation Prints on Metal. It is amazing how far the Dye Sublimation technique has come and how crisp and clear it brings out all the sharpness and depth of images taken with one of the mentioned LEICA rangefinder cameras.

Looking back I’d like to thank Sean Cranor for letting me try out a LEICA M-E in the first place and also thanks to the nice people working with him for their help and support. Switching from one system to the rangefinder system is not always easy at the beginning; but I guess you either love the rangefinder experience or you don’t get it - which is totally fine. Everyone has to work with the tools he’s most comfortable with; For me that’s definitely one of my LEICA M cameras.

I’d also like to thank Sean Cranor and his wife Diana for visiting the show’s Opening Reception on April 1st

I was more than surprised and pleased when afterwards Sean offered me to showcase some of my exhibition images on this website.

If you’ve got any questions please feel free to email me at and maybe you’d like to check out my website at