Bellerby & Co. Globemakers
Adam Marelli Workshop Shoot
Why a globemaker?
Prior to satellites, the complete mapping of the globe was done one coastline at a time. If you ever have the chance to pick up a current maritime map, you will notice that the date and surveyor (usually the UK, France, or Holland) are noted in every location plotted out. As a civilization, we have been “discovering” the globe since humans arrived on this planet. Whether you believe we appeared via evolution, divine intervention, or some spacecraft…one thing is for certain, it’s taken nearly 50,000 years to map out the surface of Earth. It is a vast mass covered by mountain ranges, endless seas, and the occasional pirate who prefers to remain off the map.
At the forefront of the mapping effort was the British Empire. In the name of the Crown, the British have played a huge role in creating a visual illustration of the Earth, and they also famously set up a few clubhouses along the way. Not all of their exploration tactics have been warmly embraced, but leaving politics, resource pillaging, and the unforgivable sin of bringing the “English Kitchen” to regions of culinary superiority aside, there is a certain “Englishness” to a globe. And that is exactly why I wanted to take my workshop to a globemaker in England.
When photographers come to my workshops, we always discuss why they chose to come to a particular city. Sure, most of the spots from Chiangmai to Venice have a mixture of beauty and history, but a trip is always more rewarding if you go there for a thoughtful reason. And when people struggle to give an answer, I do my best to demonstrate why I made the choice, in this case, to come to London.
Last year in the workshop, we went out to Greenwich. It is home to a palatial estate of the Queen, the former Naval Academy, John Harrison’s pocket watches, and the dividing Greenwich Meridian which determines the longitude line at zero degrees. It was part one in a look at British maritime history and how deeply our daily lives are affected by the history of the seas. But the compound at Greenwich is enormous. It would probably take a few days to literally see everything, and a few months to actually digest it.
Which is why this year, I wanted to take a more intimate approach to the globe and visit it on a smaller scale. 10,000:1 to be more precise. Welcome to Bellerby & Co. Globemakers.
Lessons we learned at Bellerby
Every moment in a workshop is an opportunity to learn more about photography, each other, and ourselves. Though the camera looks outward, like a third eye, it creates a very introspective experience. Behind the camera, we will never escape our insecurities, doubts, and fears. In many cases the camera actually magnifies things we would rather keep under lock and key. For this reason, controlled environments like workshops allow photographers to focus on key areas of improvement which they can apply later in street photography, landscape, or portrait work.
Small Spaces: Workshops are small spaces, filled with tools, working pieces, and artisans, none of which we want to disturb. By approaching the scenes slowly, the photographers can practice being ultra aware of their surroundings, because if they back up too quickly, they may be doing more damage than stepping on someone’s toes.
Relating to People: Artisans are not models. They tend to be shy people who prefer to work than be in front of a camera. But if the photographers can engage them, make them feel comfortable, then blend into the background, it makes taking street portraits easier than getting clipped by a London taxi because you looked left instead of right.
“What is made with time, time respects.” The Rodin quote made famous by Cartier-Bresson in “The Decisive Moment,” indicates that anything in the creative realm that will last into the future takes time to make. As we looked at the different stages of work on each of the globes, it became obvious that there were many hours of hand labour that divided Bellerby Globes from the industrial examples I remember from grammar school libraries. Like almost any highend product, from a distance a Swatch and a Patek Phillipe might look similar, but in hand they are worlds apart. It is one of the things that I love about well made objects. They almost demand that you handle them to understand them. They cannot simply be engaged by looking at them.
Everyone likes a good picture. While most of the journalist/editorial photography worlds are drying up, to be replaced by video and user-supplied content, small businesses always appreciate good pictures. Whether they are making globes, clothing, or hood ornaments, most businesses would happily trade a few hours of their time in exchange for some pictures. It’s a great exchange because the photographer gets some practice while the business gets some images. And don’t be surprised if someone catches wind of your pictures and hires you on the next round.
As the afternoon wound down, we had shot every square inch of the workshop. Peter, Jade, Isis, Chloe and Jon had been kind enough to let us roam around their world for a few hours and we could not have been more grateful. When we returned for review, it was great to see how each person focused on a different aspect of the work and how their unique view was reflected in the pictures.
If you would like to learn more about Bellerby & Co Globemakers check out their website and instagram feed.
Upcoming Workshop Openings
- New York City @ my Studio, Project Development Seminar, July 19th, SOLD OUT
- Venice / Verona [ ITALY], September 30th – October 3rd, SOLD OUT
- Kyoto [JAPAN], November 3rd – 7th, Sold Out, wait list open, hey ya’never know something could open up
- New York City @ my Studio, Project Development Seminar, November 15th, SOLD OUT
ps: all of my images were made with a Leica M240 on loan from the folks at Leica Miami.