A Room for Improvement by Adam Marelli
Artistic Vision for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
At the beginning of the year, I got a call from Udemy, the online education platform. They asked if I had ever thought of doing an online video program for photography. While I would have loved to take a greater interest, I was flying to Thailand the next day and my mind was out of free space. But a week later, collecting my thoughts on a near perfect balcony in Chiang Mai, I revisited Udemy’s idea.
After my second morning coffee, I started to envision a video program with a very specific aim because as far as I have seen, there are no online resources that explain “How to see like an artist,” with specific examples, exercises, and most importantly, designed specifically for photographers. And not to bad mouth the other programs, but essentially photography programs are taught from one of two angles…they either teach you about cameras, or post production. They do not start with the real fundamentals, which are exercises in seeing.
Art for Everyone
1. Art is a photographer’s best friend. B&H warned me that a talk/slide presentation with mostly paintings would never work for photographers. Fortunately for me, they were dead wrong and to B&H’s credit, they were happy to be wrong. “How to talk to strangers” was the highest user-rated talk in the entirety of B&H’s history.
2. I wanted to create a learning experience for anyone, anywhere in the world with access to the Internet. By running workshops, there is no way for me to offer these teachings to more people, all over the world, at an affordable rate. It’s just not possible. I want people who WANT TO LEARN to have easy, inexpensive access to the foundations that have formed art for the last 50,000 years. Online videos are the single best format for people around the globe to learn, practice, and discover new ways of seeing.
Lead by Example
Udemy’s platform, which is free to join, offers class sessions with downloads that easily surpasses the potential of any book on photography. I say it’s better than a book because it mimics the way I learned art. I learned art and photography from people, not books. Whether it was a professor, mentor, or fellow artist…ideas were explained, then we looked through pictures, and the explanation continued until I got it. It’s the easiest, fastest, and most direct way to learn anything. It’s why cooking shows are more popular than cook books and why people come to workshops…because they want to learn as quickly as possible so they can get to the fun part…which is the shooting.
“A Room for Improvement” was conceived as a entire foundations course, broken up into ten episodes. You can purchase each episode, one at a time, as they are published monthly. Personally I never liked package deals because I’d always end up with a few things I wanted and a bunch of others I did not want. This is exactly why I selected the episode format. Each episode will have its own video introduction like this first one…where you can see if the topics covered will be right for you.
Now, if I can let you in on a little secret, the series was made in a specific order because the foundations of seeing build on one another. The fastest route to success is following each one in order and completing the assignments before moving to the next level. This way, the lessons from the previous episode are nearly automatic as you incorporate the next episode into your photography. But…if you want to skip around that is ok too. I want everyone to approach the topic in a way that keeps them excited about photography, art, and everything that we can do with our eyes.
The Art of Seeing No. 1
For years people have been asking me to write a book on composition. It sounds like a great idea…right?! But the truth is, I have never used a book on photography composition…NEVER. That’s not to say I have not read one, I’ve read a dozen of them and looked through another four dozen. And just as a user’s manual doesn’t teach you how to use a camera, a book will not be able to teach you about photography the way I can teach you through video.
Education is moving online, from MIT and Harvard to the Khan Academy…the Internet is the shared platform of human knowledge and it’s just getting easier to access information that might have taken years to acquire. If you would like to learn, on your schedule, anywhere in the world, have a look at the course…I look forward to seeing you there!
Watch “A Room for Improvement” here: https://www.udemy.com/a-room-for-improvement/#/