Conversations: Horst A. Friedrichs and Montenegro&Lafont Discuss ‘Voice Notes – A Tandem Ride’
“I felt that this was a great opportunity to reveal the counterpart that comes with documenting something that is part of oneself,” says Luis Montenegro Lafont, director of Voice Notes – A Tandem Ride. Taking Cycle Style, the latest published book of German photographer Horst A. Friedrichs, Montenegro & Lafont has created a short film unfolding a fascinating portrait of Friedrichs as a professional and bike lover. A Tandem Ride is a testimony of the sincere love connection between art and feelings.
In order to ensure the enduring idea of the first film of Voice Note series, The WILD serves as a table for a special conversation to get to know more the starring voices behind this project.
left: Horst A. Friedrichs; right: Montenegro & Lafont
One of the reasons I really enjoyed about Voice Notes – A Tandem Ride was your approach to all things present and presence itself. Nowadays, people always complain on how great the past was and how empty the present is. What do you think about it?
Horst A. Friedrich: There is a renaissance and appreciation of physical quality, authenticity and nostalgia, in our digital age. Perhaps there are limits to this appreciation for the old time feeling, of course. It’s why an old Rolex can just feel better than a new one, but you don’t want a pocket watch, why an old Mercedes has a certain essence to it, but you don’t want a horse and cart. The participants in my photographs are always authentic. That is particularly important in these times of a world of conformists and mass-produced goods.
Montenegro & Lafont: I agree with what you say about people complaining on how great the past was, and how empty the present seems. But I think it has to do with the fact that time behaves differently nowadays, everything happens so quickly, and that necessarily impacts in how we perceive things. Time has compressed extremely, and that conditions you to look to one side and not the other. This makes me look at things in a certain way and I feel the responsibility to show it.
Have you ever came across with the idea of creating a video to present a specific project?
HAF: I have used video before to help promote my books and photography projects, like Doña Maria and her Dreams and Or Glory 21st Century Rockers, but when working with Luis on Voice Notes – A Tandem Ride, Luis´s approach was more artistic rather then just doing a documentary about the Cycle Style book.
What do you feel upon hearing the idea for the film?
HAF: Luis asked me via email if I would like to participate in his Voice Note project with my Cycle Style book. At first I thought he was going to do just a Making Off video of the Cycle Style book. But then I liked his approach of planning it and not to have it all planned.
It’s funny because the story is repeating itself. Not through Voice Notes, but having this “conversation” via email is enough to keep the feeling.
HAF: Keep on riding on and on.
M&L: If you have the time, we can talk for hours!
How do you feel about the result of an experience that might have been a crazy one in theory?
M&L: I am very happy with this first experiment; my initial assumptions when I first started to work with Horst are confirmed. Digging inside the personality of people I admire, and that feel passionate for what they do is an interesting way to tell stories, it works. For me it never ends, because I am always focused in the journey. This short film is not a finished product, is the result of this journey.
Despite a clear difference in the way you guys show your vision, in which way can anyone relate both of you if (she or he) hasn’t seen Voice Notes?
HAF: We now are both friends, and there is nothing better to work with a good friend like Luis. I love Luis´s generous work, tremendous enthusiasm and never ending creativity.
M&L: Although we work in different formats and we express ourselves in a particular way, we share a common and very solid bond. Each of us in our own terms, share the passion for what we do and the authenticity we work with. At the end it’s about those essential values. I think in reality everything we both have done is built around the profound respect that each one has for the other´s work.
And what about getting to know each other through each other’s work?
HAF: The process has been quite natural because for both of us work is our life. When you work with someone for the first time, it’s like a first date. You are wild about it and shy at the same time. It´s almost as if the other person doesn´t do anything wrong nor makes mistakes. Overtime, you want to get results and this means having an honest conversation, but always appreciating and respecting each other work is the key.
M&L: Working with Horst through Voice Notes has been a great experience and a very inspiring one too. I have acknowledged some of the assumptions I sensed based on his work. It has been a unique and unforgettable opportunity to discover and showcase him as he is. It is like traveling with someone, you end up knowing him really well, and learning about you too. Its pure growth! Only that in this case, we have just met once!
As the first personality in Voice Notes series, has this project served as a link to make some hindsight on what you do?
HAF: It was like participate in a workshop where you return with a lots of new things you have learned. The video took us on a journey meshing together different ideas to create a vibrant film and now I am surely looking forward to do other projects together.
How do you feel about London and biking after knowing Horst a little more?
M&L Now I am totally sure that I want to be around people who are passionate about what they do, at least as passionate as I am with what I do. I insist on this because for me that is very important. Discovering how deep is the cycling culture in London through Horst´s experience… fascinates me! I wish I could translate that to Madrid, where I live.