Traces of a Lost Ceremony
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been at the computer. The lead up to my exhibition went exactly as expected: deliveries were late, everything came down to the wire, and all of those “maybe’s” that were on my calendar turned into “must be done’s” over night. It would not be an opening if the gods of chaos and panic did not rear their ugly heads. On the night of the opening, things finally settled down. The projected rain held out (thank you weathermen for your continually poor predictions) and there was a great turnout for the evening, to which I couldn’t have been happier.
Opening Wrap Up
For those of you who were unable to make the opening, what did you miss? I have two goals with “Lost Ceremony.” The first is to bring together people with a common interest in Japanese culture, craftsmanship, and ideas surrounding tradition that are often difficult to put into words. The second goal is to move the Internet photography community away from their Retina screens and make them comfortable buying photographs. Galleries can be intimidating, and I want to pull back the curtain a bit to reveal that galleries are more eager to sell to you, even a first time buyer, than their stoic-faced front desk interns lead on.
These are, and probably will continue to be, a driving force in why I consider myself an artist and why I will make art work for the rest of my life. The conversation is never-ending and the people who work their way into this artistic vortex never ceases to amaze me.
The opening brought together not just photographers, of which there were plenty, but also writers, documentary makers, scientists, specialists from the field of watchmaking, and explorers. The diversity represented in the folks who attended got me as excited as seeing the works hung together. It was an enormous honor to have each person take an evening away from their busy schedule to enjoy and support the opening. While we did not get pictures of everyone, here are a few highlights from the night.
The Collector’s Night
Openings always feel like I’m a conversational pinball bouncing from flashing light to zinging ramp until the paddles kick me back up for another round. There is simply not enough time in a three hour opening to have the type of conversations I’d like to have with each person. Left to my own devices, I’d love to spend hours talking about the images, the project, travel, and all the amazing stories I discovered in Japan.
When I considered that the show has eighteen images in total, each with at least a five minute story behind it (very conservative estimate) it gave me an idea. And it gave me an idea that I’m happy Leica agreed was worth putting together.
This Wednesday I’m flying to Berlin for a workshop (1 space left?!) and then to a sold out London Workshop. But when I’m back we are going to have a special “Collector’s Night” at Leica SoHo, where a smaller group of us can sit and discuss the project, how it got started, how I kept it going, and why I think it’s important for images to get off of the computer and into a frame.
Leica had initially offered me the idea of doing a workshop in conjunction with the opening, which might have been a good idea. We talked about it being a project development workshop. Photographers could come and pick my brain on everything from proposal writing, to how I got government backing, and how to set up contacts for shooting abroad. It would have been a one day workshop, with no shooting, just discussion, for $700…not a bad deal and probably would have been a fun time.
The Princeton Experiment
After a few nights thought, I decided I wanted to take it in a different direction. I remembered a story about a Princeton economics professor who created an experiment. He divided his class in half, gave one half a new coffee mug while the other half got nothing. He asked the group with the mug how much they thought the mug was worth. Then he asked the group without the mug what they thought it was worth. On average, those who had the mug in-hand estimated the mug was worth 30% more than the group who could only see it. Why does this matter?
I find that the settings in which we look at photography are often like the group who only looks at the coffee mug. It’s a lot of looking and not much touching. Renoir said that “You live with art.” It’s not something you go and see, you need to wake up with it, have a glass of wine with it, and see it go to sleep before the art really reveals itself. It’s why he had such a large collection of his friends’ paintings. I believe this is sound advice from a great artist. Computers are fantastic, in that they have given us access to many images, but nothing replaces the experience of having a piece on your wall. It becomes part of you, your sensibilities, and a reflection of your approach to the world.
But in most other settings, like on the computer, behind glass in a gallery, or on the pages of the magazine, the art is always distant. In many of the conventional settings, we are removed from the picture. I sometimes forget that as an artist, I have the supreme pleasure of having a physical relationship with art and photography. And it means more to me than an image on a screen. I wanted to open up that experience to you guys, so that we could have that together.
A Free Workshop
So I decided to scratch the workshop idea. Instead of offering a paid workshop, I’m hosting an evening at no cost. All you have to do is RSVP and the evening is free. Leica will be providing us with the evening’s cocktails and snacks. For those who decide to purchase prints, they will be given priority on the RSVP list, which is limited to 30 people. And instead of paying a workshop fee, you can get a limited edition print for the same price (595 USD). This is the first time these prints are available for purchase. I’ve had numerous offers from people to buy prints along the way, but have always said, “No, it’s not ready yet.” Now they are ready and I look forward to diving into the stories and the projects with all of you on Friday June 27th from 5-7pm…we might go a little later, but we will see how long the bottles last.
If you are interested in purchasing prints, you can see an inventory of all of the images on my portfolio site here: http://www.adammarelli.com/adam-marelli-photography/#/lost-ceremony-marelli/
“Trace of a Lost Ceremony” Series Details
- All images are printed on Ilford Fiber Paper using silver gelatin process by Eric Luden and Digital Silver Imaging.
- Each image is a limited edition of 6 prints + 1 artist proof, unframed.
- Image sizes are approximately 12” x 18” (fiber paper naturally expands and contracts based on the relative humidity.)
- The two large prints in the front of the gallery are 26” x 40” prints mounted on Dibond, these are unique and priced at (1,295 USD each)
- Each print is numbered, signed, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
- All of the purchased prints will be distributed at the beginning of August after the exhibition has been closed.
RSVP for your Prints
If you would like to RSVP and purchase prints please send an email to: email@example.com
Date: Friday June 27th, 2014
Location: Leica SoHo 46o West Broadway (between Prince St. and Houston St.)
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to include your name and which prints you are interested in. You do not need to attend the Collector’s Night to purchase prints. I know that some of you outside of New York City have been waiting for the chance to buy these images, and they are available for international shipment.
See you at the end of June!