Dec 022014
 

Workshop Photographer: Monika Houck’s Venice

Da maestro ad apprendista

From master to apprentice 

Venice, ITALY

 

Da maestro ad apprendista © Monika Houck

Da maestro ad apprendista © Monika Houck

Adam’s Note

How often do we allow someone to come to work with us?  Not that often, right?  And for good reason.  Work is our livelihood.  It is the place where we build up a reputation that comes with years of earning people’s trust.  Inviting people into that world is not very common and when it happens special accommodations often need to happen.

But eight times a year, I take photographers, many whom I have never met before, and bring them to work.  They are allowed unfettered access to connections that took me years to develop.  It can be a little nerve racking because if something goes wrong it’s on me.  But more often than not, it is a wonderfully rewarding experience that satisfies the curiosity that photographers have about my working process, the world of master craftsmen, and their own ability to make pictures.   It allows them to step into the worlds of master craftsmen with a guide to insure that they walk away with great images.

This October, a group of six photographers joined me inside the squero of Roberto Tramontin, of Tramontin e Figli,…the oldest remaining gondola workshop in Venice.  We spent the day with the head of shop Roberto and his apprentice Michele as they put the finishing touch on a recently restored gondola.  After our time in Venice, photographer Monika Houck collected her thoughts on the experience and edited her final images from the shoot.  Her sensitive approach revealed a different perspective on the master/apprentice tradition.  As I remind everyone in the workshops, “We each have a  unique view of the world and the ability to see what no one else has seen before.”  This is why we carry cameras.  Please enjoy Monika’s images and we look forward to seeing you at a workshop in 2015.  (ps they are already 50% sold out, so do book soon to insure your spot)

Roberto spiega © Monika Houck

Roberto spiega © Monika Houck

Da Maestro ad apprendista- l’arte di squero Tramontin

by Monika Houck

In Venice art and craft are practised since centuries as one – “artigianato” – only distinguished by the work they produce: be it a drawing, a painting, a sculpture or a beautiful building.
One of the unique arts of Venice is the construction and restoration of gondolas. Since the foundation in 1884 by Domenico Tramontin – the Squero Tramontin is developing this Venetian artcraft. 
Michele restaura con cura Michele Pulliero, apprendista di costruttore di gondole © Monika Houck

Michele restaura con cura Michele Pulliero, apprendista di costruttore di gondole © Monika Houck

Learning from the masters has a well-maintained tradition in Italian art – this is why art was and still today is produced in workshops where masters are proud to transfer their expertise.
The gondolas are built by squeraroli (square = team in italian) -  who transfer the art from father to son or from master to apprentice. To become a a master in this art-craft takes at least 5 years of practice and a final exam.
Un sguardo attento Roberto Tramontin © Monika Houck

Un sguardo attento Roberto Tramontin © Monika Houck

 
My interest in visting Squero Tramontin was to see this process of learning. Roberto Tramontin is the very skilled and thus open-minded master of Squero Tramontin. It was a great pleasure to see Roberto talking about his profession and even more to see him working with Michele.
 
Michele Pulliero works as apprentice within Squero Tramontin. Michele is convinced that this is a way to maintain the Venetian tradition of artists. Michele studied art and then decided to apply his learnings and become a squerarolo – learning from and with Roberto. And producing beautiful pieces of art – Venetian gondolas.
Thanks to Adam for teaching the art of seeing and introducing to Roberto and Michele.
Michele chiuda © Monika Houck

Michele chiuda © Monika Houck

Conclusion
Please join me in congratulating Monika on her work and her continued effort to improve her photography.  It is never easy to step into someone’s space and make solid images, especially when it is someone we admire, like Roberto or Michele.  Until the next adventure…

Best-Adam Marelli 

  2 Responses to “Workshop Photographer: Monika Houck’s Venice”

  1. Great work Monika. You’ve captured the atmosphere and the passion of the craftsman beautifully.

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