Adam Marelli Photo Now Boarding Leica Air . . . Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:16:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2014 Ipa International Photography Award | Adam Marelli Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:59:19 +0000 adam [more...]]]> 2014 Ipa Award | Adam Marelli

Invisible City & Bear in the Canal

Matera & Venice, Italy


2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: "Invisible City" © Adam Marelli

2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: “Invisible City” © Adam Marelli


Photography competitions are a strange breed.  They come in almost every variety from the town fair to international art recognition.  To an outsider, it may be difficult to determine what a competition actually does and what it means to the winners.  Because in a game of recognition, placing is often as important as winning.  This year, I was happy to learn that two of my projects won Professional “Honorable Mention” in three categories: Historic, Cityscape, and Deeper Perspective.  Awards play different roles for each of us, but lets look at a few reasons why its better to enter than to watch from the sidelines.

2014 Ipa Honorable Mention Announced

2014 Ipa Honorable Mention Announced

Professional Recognition

There are thousands of photographers who make outstanding work every year.  They develop fascinating projects in every field from photojournalism to fine art.  The range of work exceeds the number of awards offered every year.  And more often than not, some of the best work does not fit neatly into a single category.  It might be found between the pages of Vogue, running on the BBC or installed at an art gallery.  For all of the steps in between soaring success and cataclysmic failure, photography competitions are a useful way to gain a bit of traction, get some press, and keep you on course to completion.

Winning a photography competition will not guarantee you any more clients, fame or respect.  In truth, most companies or clients don’t follow competitions and won’t know IPA from NFL.  But what they do understand is that they have just hired someone who wins awards.  “Award winning” photographer can go a long way.  Whether you won, placed, or qualified, it allows people to feel confident in your abilities.  And if you win awards consistently, it means that you are capable, consistent, and committed.  That is a good reputation to develop as a professional.

2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: Invisible City © Adam Marelli (Matera, Italy)

2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: Invisible City © Adam Marelli (Matera, Italy)

Personal Satisfaction

When we go outside with a camera there are two people behind the camera…there is you and there is the voice inside your head.  That voice can run wild.  It can talk you out of pictures and it can exhaust you on days that don’t seem to go right.  Every time a competition comes up in your favor, that voice gets quieter, until you can hardly hear it anymore.  There are not many awards that will make or break a career, but a few points of recognition are won’t hurt.  Its a vote of confidence, which like a nice compliment, is never needed, but always welcome.

2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: "The Bear in the Canal" Roberto Tramontin © Adam Marelli

2014 International Photography Award Honorable Mention: “The Bear in the Canal” Roberto Tramontin © Adam Marelli

Not finished, no problem

All projects are not created equally.  And while they might start with the best intentions, there will always be more ideas in the trash bin than on the table.  Each project, big or small, takes time and energy.  For this reason, competitions work as a sounding board to measure progress.  An unfortunate byproduct of the internet is that its nearly impossible to find decent feedback online.  Forums are corrosive, Facebook’s “Like” feature won’t explain why photographs of bunnies easily outrank your best efforts, and comment threads are to be avoided at almost all costs.

This year I happened to have two projects “Invisible City” and “The Bear in the Canal” that were in progress.  Each one has at least two more trips before the series are complete.  But while they are not ready for gallery walls, they are eligible for competition.  Truthfully, win or lose, I will finish these projects, but it is helpful professionally and encouraging personally to garner recognition along the way.  If you can win “in progress” it’s safe to say that the project is headed in a good direction.

A sneak peak at the new round of images from "the Bear in the Canal" © Adam Marelli

A sneak peak at the new round of images from “the Bear in the Canal” © Adam Marelli

Win, Lose, and Draw

A few of my friends judge photography competitions regularly.  The judges, who are curators, gallerists, and writers do not agree on anything, ever.  The only thing they do agree on is that the winners are rarely unanimous.  Competitions are judged by panels and creative types do not often see eye to eye.  In fact, they are paid to disagree.  This means that any of the shortlist, finalists, or qualifiers was well within reach of the top prize.  The chemistry of decisions that results in the winner often means that anyone, literally anyone, could have won.  So if the final selections do not go in your favor, its not worth fretting.  Eventually it will all come together.  As they say, better luck next year, keep your head in the game, and keep pushing yourself.  The efforts will pay off.

Matera Italy 2019 European Cultural Capital

Matera Italy 2019 European Cultural Capital

Matera Workshop Update

In case you missed it, last week Matera was awarded European Cultural Capital for 2019…the city is going bananas.  For a city that was considered a malaria infested nether land during World War 2, this is a huge recognition and I’m very excited for all of my friends in Matera.  Its a brilliant city and a cultural treasure that should be experienced in person.   There are already (3) photographers signed up for the workshop, with only (3) spaces left.  This year will be a great time to see the city because it is at a tipping point, where it is unclear what this award might mean to the look and feel of the city.  And this way, you can say “I was there before it was popular.”

Drop an email to to apply for the workshop.

Best-Adam Marelli

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Meet the Maker: Nakashima Woodworker Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:05:49 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Meet the Maker

Nakashima Woodworker



The raw lumber archive of Nakashima Woodworkers contains rare and extinct species of wood. © Adam Marelli

The raw lumber archive of Nakashima Woodworkers contains rare and extinct species of wood. © Adam Marelli


If you have ever run your fingers across a wooden table, reached out to touch a sculpture in a museum, or put your hand into a container of dry beans just to feel what it was like, then you have a “Maker” buried inside of you.  There is a sensual pleasure that comes with touching fine objects.  The desire to touch takes us beyond looking, where we want feel the satisfaction of material under our fingertips.  Good makers bring this desire out in all of us.  Mother nature is arguably the finest maker, but behind her lies a dedicated group of craftsmen who bridge the gap between the forest and the home.

The natural edge designs made famous by George Nakashima. © Adam Marelli

The natural edge designs made famous by George Nakashima. © Adam Marelli

Nakashima Woodworkers

Chance are even if you don’t know the name Nakashima, you know the legacy they started.  At a time when American furniture was either clean Shaker lines or homages to European designs, George Nakashima did something completely revolutionary.  He left the natural edge of the tree trunk visible in the finished product.  What sounds like a small step, rooted in economy, has influenced decades of American woodworkers to re-imagine the language of furniture making.

Mira Nakashima heads up the studio today with a team of craftsmen.  © Adam Marelli

Mira Nakashima heads up the studio today with a team of craftsmen. © Adam Marelli


After being interned during World War II, George Nakashima set up his shop in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Like many artists he was on a tight budget.  As a graduate of MIT’s architecture program, he was well educated, talented, but lacking the funds to buy the choice pieces of lumber.  In this limitation, he discovered the incredible range of beauty that existed in logs that that had burls, waves, and other irregularities.  His daughter Mira, who runs the shop now, joked that “Dad just used what he could get his hands on.  Now we have pieces of wood in our collection that do not exist anywhere in the world.”

A detail of a butterfly, which keeps the wood from opening up.  © Adam Marelli

A detail of a butterfly, which keeps the wood from opening up. © Adam Marelli

Open House

On October 25th, Nakashima Woodworkers are opening their doors to the public for a chance to meet the family, visit the workshops, and view the incredible collection of furniture and buildings that have been made on the property in the last fifty years.

Why go?  A visit to Nakashima Woodworker is memorable.  I visited in the first time back in the early 2000’s with my father.  As an artist working in construction at the time, the combination of materials, architecture, drawings, and furniture that I found in the New Hope studios was inspiring.  It gave me a chance to sit on the furniture and see a selection of woods, like Caspian Elm or old growth burled English Oak, that I had never seen before or since.

Years later, I discovered that Mira and I shared a mentoring Zen monk, Fujin Butsudo.  It was through Fujin that I was personally introduced to Mira and spent three months last summer photographing their craftsmen for their archives and for Surface Magazine.  It was a unique opportunity to see all phases of the design and construction process which are keeping George’s legacy alive and pushing in new boundaries under Mira’s direction.

View some of the images here:

Nakashima Woodworker Open House Invitation

Nakashima Woodworker Open House Invitation


LOCATION: 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938

DATE: Saturday, October 25th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Members of the Nakashima Family and the Foundation for Peace will answer questions about George Nakashima, the history of the buildings and his furniture business.

SCHEDULE: 11:00 AM: Frank Emile Sanchis III of WMF will give a Power Point Presentation on some of the World Monument Fund projects past and present and answer questions from the audience in the Arts Building

12:00 PM: Light refreshments will be served in the Arts Building.

1:00 to 4:30 PM: The Conoid Studio and Show-room will remain open to the public during our regular Open House.

Free and open to the public

Link to Nakashima Woodworkers:

Craftsman Michael Veith prepare a mortise to receive a butterfly.  © Adam Marelli

Craftsman Michael Veith prepare a mortise to receive a butterfly. © Adam Marelli


One thing that I appreciate about Nakashima Woodworkers is their belief in “direct experience.”  Only when all of our senses are firing at the same time can the richness of an experience penetrate our outer shell of to-do lists and priorities.  Sadly, I will be in Japan on October 25th, so I will not be able to make the event, but I’d like to invite all of you on my behalf, to meet Mira and the rest of the craftsmen. Bring your cameras, there will be lots of things to shoot and remember to tell them I said hi.

Best-Adam Marelli

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Finding Inspiration: Sardinia Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:57:21 +0000 adam [more...]]]> FINDING INSPIRATION

The Photographer’s Dilemma

Sardinia ITALY


The only sign that matters.  Sardinia  © Adam Marelli

The only sign that matters. Sardinia © Adam Marelli


At the beginning of September, while the smell of summer BBQ was still in the air, I took off for Sardinia.  Far from the famous northern tip at Costa Smeralda where Berlusconi and his friends enjoyed testing the bounds of fiscal responsibility with underaged “dancers,” we were headed to a small town tucked into a southern cove outside of Villasimius.  This was our third time back to Sardinia, where we unplug, disconnect, and recharge our human batteries.  What do human batteries run on?  Well, in Sardinia they are fueled by a mixture of sun, relaxation, local vermentino wine, and a complete lack of cell service.

Surrounded by the soundtrack of lapping waves and the hum of Italian beachgoers, Sardinia offers a break from everything.  Long gone are the to-do list and deadlines because, tucked into the mountain side, the only “service” you can find is the local lifeguard who will pull you out a lounge chair and the bartender who will  gladly get you “Un’altra…” when you want another beer.

A little spot to call home, at least for the week. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

A little spot to call home, at least for a week. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Making Time

Taking time to yourself can be a challenge.  Whether you are juggling company holidays or stepping away from your own business, it’s not always easy to design downtime.  It always seems to feel that if we stop, something might go catastrophically wrong.  But what happens if we keep our foot on the gas all year long?  Aside from the obvious health and happiness issues that come from overwork, there are other consequences if we forget to spend a little time with nothing to do.  We can and often crush any available space for our very own endangered species known as Inspiration.

The search for inspiration. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

The search for inspiration. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Finding Inspiration

What does inspiration look like and how can we find something that is so difficult to see, but so easy to feel?  Finding inspiration can be a serious challenge, and one that plagues everyone from the enthusiast to the seasoned professional.

In an ideal world, we might like to pack a small, carry-on approved, bottle of inspiration with us at all times.  As a small pick-me-up, it would get us over those endless hours of frustration and drive us back into the saddle of creativity.  But for all of the efforts of scientists and crack dealers, there is no magic serum for inspiration.  It is a quiet creature that only comes out when we clear our minds of the chatter that makes up most of the day.  And while plunking ourselves on a Mediterranean beach is not a guaranteed way to find our next stroke of genius, it does leave open the chance that inspiration will find us.

My good friend Jamie Apostolou, founder of The Standard Edition, testing the old pen and paper method. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

My good friend Jamie Apostolou, founder of The Standard Edition, testing the old pen and paper method. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Trust your Gut

We are all highly creative beings who are fueled by inspiration.  All too often though, people get down on themselves for not being creative enough and not feeling inspired.  In the worst cases, these dry spells of inspiration begin to feel like a permanent condition.  In reality, all that is happening is that inspiration has not been given enough space to grow.  It might be time for a long weekend or better yet, a week off.

The main reason people struggle to find inspiration is that they do not take time to be alone or do nothing.  Doing nothing does not mean mindless flipping through an iPad or catching up with a TV series on the sofa.  That is doing something.  Doing nothing is what happens when our everyday, problem solving brain takes a break.  In the space between thinking and feeling lies inspiration.  And only when we give it room to breathe does it begin to show its face.

Sadly, much of the way inspiration is approached has been polluted by the way we work.  What people mistake as their of lack of imagination, is nothing more than being overworked.  As much as we would love to sit down and “crank out” new sources of inspiration, it won’t happen.  Artists have known this for a long time.  It is why they often look like they are sitting around, doing nothing.  It’s not because they are lazy.  They understand that in order for ideas to flow, they have to get out of their own way.

The morning commute from the house to the beach. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

The morning commute from the house to the beach. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

The Beach

Given a choice, a house with a view of the ocean and a terrace for drinking coffee is my ideal recharge space.  But we don’t need perfection to recharge…we just need free time and a little space.  For as long as I can remember, water has been therapeutic for me.  I can not explain why.  Maybe on a psychologist’s sofa we could figure it out, but the mechanics don’t interest me much.  All I know is that being by the ocean, even for a short period of time, produces ideas.  It does not need to be any beach in particular, the water does not need to be warm and blue; in fact, it just has to be quiet enough for me to just hear the waves.  I could spend the rest of my life wondering how and why this all happens, but it’s not a necessity.  It just works.  This year it happened in Sardinia and again in Venice.  In between travel, I take morning drives out to surf in NJ…certainly not the most glamorous of spots, but it does the trick.

Even the trees in Sardinia find creative ways to grow.  Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Even the trees in Sardinia find creative ways to grow. Sardinia © Adam Marelli


  • Make a list of the last few times you felt inspired…maybe you were driving late at night or walking the dog around the block.  If you look at where you find inspiration, patterns will emerge.
  • Give yourself an hour a week solo, just you and your thoughts (don’t worry, this will not be fatal, I promise)
  • Keep things in perspective by reading about other artists’ approach to inspiration, I’d recommend Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Society and Solitude.
Perfect ocean therapy.  Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Perfect ocean therapy. Sardinia © Adam Marelli


You might not be jumping on a plane tomorrow and that is okay.  Finding time for inspiration is like preparing for a marathon…it is a process.  No amount of cramming will get you to the finish line.  It starts one mile at a time.  The challenge is keeping up a small, but sustained, effort with all of the responsibilities and distractions that pull us around.

This year, my bit of relaxation was in the form of a small beach in Sardinia.  There were no super yachts, nothing fancy, just a small spot where the cell phone doesn’t work and my laptop was a coaster for a wine glass that won’t rest flat on the wicker table.  By putting technology in its proper place (second to experience) I was able to feel my way through a project that refused to come together back in NYC.  So whether you find yourself next to a fire or on a windswept coast line, just remember that inspiration is waiting for you.  All it asks is that you give it your full and undivided attention for a few days and it will fuel you for the year to come.


Best-Adam Marelli

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A Room for Improvement No 001 Winners Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:40:38 +0000 adam [more...]]]> N˚ 001

The Art of Seeing Winners

A Room for Improvement

Adam Marelli x Art Photo Feature


Adam Marelli Workshops and Art Photo Feature Competition No 001: Theme Light

Adam Marelli Workshops and Art Photo Feature Competition No 001: Theme Light


When I started this website in 2010, my vision was to create a space where photographers, both aspiring and professional, could share, learn, and experience the magic that ties us to our passions.  At that time internet landscape was covered with equipment reviews, leading lines, and post production salvation that might rival the promises of some major religions.

Four years later, I like to think of this site as a reprieve from the gear mania and pseudo genre buzz (street photography, Im looking at you) where people can enjoy photography as a way to see the world with out the distractions of gear, the pressures of making a living, and the headache you get from staring at a computer screen for hours on end.

What happens when you take a good picture?  Where does it go, who sees it, and who comes around to say, “Hey…not bad…you must have a really expensive camera?”  Where would we be without the “like” button?  Who knows…probably a much simpler place.  But while there is no end in sight of social media, why not roll with the punches and use it all to our advantage.

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Jonathan-P-Jurilla‎

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Jonathan-P-Jurilla‎

Winners, Plural

My good friends over at Art Photo Feature (Vineet & Rohit Vohra) have wanted to run a collaboration to allow photographers, regardless of location, to learn the lost lessons of design.  This fell perfectly in line with my own goals of an online series.  Since they are based in India and I am in New York, it took me a few months to figure out how our communities could overlap, but after a lot of head scratching we have a solution.

APF and I decided to put together a friendly competition to run in conjunction with my new online photography classes “A Room for Improvement” where we can practice what we preach and learn a few things along the way.

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light ©-Malin-Jochumsen‎

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light ©-Malin-Jochumsen‎

The Structure

A Room for Improvement” was conceived as a ten part series to introduce photographers to the fundamentals of design that painters, sculptors, and architects have used for hundreds, if not thousands of years to create master works.  While it might take a little practice before you are churning out your own masterpieces, at least, with this series, you will started to understand how and why artists see differently than the rest of the world.

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Moushumee K. Jha‎

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Moushumee K. Jha‎


How it works

For each episode of A Room for Improvement, Art Photo Feature and Adam Marelli Workshops will host a competition.  The theme of the competition is based on the episode.  For the first competition, the theme was Light.  As each new episode is released I will be announcing the competition here and APF will announce it on their Facebook Page.

APF will select the shortlist and I make the final sections.

Art Photo Feature Facebook Page

Art Photo Feature Facebook Page

How to Enter

Entering the competition is completely FREE.  All you need to do is subscribe to my YouTube page and join APF’s Facebook group where you can upload your entries.

Subscribe here on my YouTube Page to enter.

Subscribe here on my YouTube Page to enter.

The Prize

For each theme there will be three winners.  Why three winners?  Because a photography cannot be scored like the Olympics.  A good picture is worth a thousand words and they are impossible to numerically rate.  So the top three win the respective episode of “A Room for Improvement.”

Collecting your Prize

The winners will be sent private codes to access the individual Udemy episode they have won.

Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Jonathan-P-Jurilla‎ Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light © Moushumee K. Jha‎ Winner of A Room for Improvement No 001: Theme Light ©-Malin-Jochumsen‎


I would like to congratulate the first three winners of the Light Theme.


Art Photo Feature

Art Photo Feature

Who is APF

If you have not heard of Art Photo Feature (APF, for short) check them out here…They are one of my favorite collectives of photographers and contributing photographers unified by passion.  They are not an agency, not a museum, they are more like the extension of a club that only makes two requirements of their members…

  1. The first is to produce the best images, in any genre, with minimal post production for the purposes of exploring the visual language.
  2. The second (and far more challenging) is to read their rules for posting before putting up images on their Facebook page.


Good luck in the coming competitions!

Best-Adam Marelli 


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Leica M60 + 35mm Summilux Release Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:38:42 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Leica M60 Release

Life without a screen



Front 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

Front 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4


Leica is a changed company.  The German lens and camera designers used to trickle out new goods at an analog pace.  The costs of new product development are astounding and while larger companies would release an array of new cameras and lenses twice a year, Leica was happy to release goods in a much slower fashion.  But since CEO Andreas Kaufman took the reigns, Leica has been cranking out a combination of new cameras, lenses, formats, and special editions every year.  One that is of particular interest is the new Leica M60 digital camera without a screen.

Back 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

Back 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

The Digital Screen

Overall, the shift from analog to digital has been anything but smooth.  Photographers have fought daily over the merits, from quality of image to quality of life, as the digital explosion has expanded the number of images taken exponentially.  It has been said that there will be more pictures taken today than in the entire history of photography.

And while there are merits to both sides of the argument, one thing is pretty clear…the single greatest impact on photography happened, not with digital itself, but with the screen on the back of the camera.

Digital cameras have not really affected how pictures are taken.  The process remains altered, but is mostly unchanged.  A number of buttons are configured, either with aperture and shutter speeds or program modes, and the shutter is pressed.  It does not matter what camera is doing the shooting, the process is very similar.

What has changed is the near heroin-like dependency that photographers have developed with the digital screen.  No one is immune to it, unless they still use film.  Every photographer in the world, at some point, looks at the screen.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  But for those who come from film and are fully confident in their ability to meter a scene, the Leica M60 will be a welcome relief from the digital screen.

Back View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

Back View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

Know your film speed

When photographers start to wander off of the “program” modes and opt for shooting manually, one of my recommendations is to memorize exposure for film speeds.  (ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)  The art of estimating exposure used to be a standard procedure for any photographer.  With the M60, Leica reminds us why simpler can be more pleasurable.

The Look

Leica has been experimenting with new aesthetics since the Leica M9 Titan came out in 2010.  Their collaborations with the designers of Audi and Jony Ives have rounded the corners of the bodies and lenses and introduced new wraps that have moved a Leica camera from feeling like a photojournalist’s sidearm to a sleek extension of contemporary design.  While at first the look might not appeal to everyone, if you have a chance to handle one of these cameras, your opinion might change.  I will be the first to admit that in pictures, none of the newer designs immediately appealed to me, but from the M9 Titan forward, these cameras do not disappoint when touched or with their power to push your “Desire” button.


The M60 is not a camera for everyone, but then again neither is any Leica.  They have always been a specialty producer.  As Leica has grown into the digital age, they have maintained their ability to do three things very well: produce outstanding photographic tools, evolve the aesthetic of the rangefinder better than anyone else, and still find your “Desire” button, no matter how much you try to hide it.  The new announcements at Photokina touched a whole bunch of buttons, and there will be ongoing coverage and possibly a few hands-on reviews in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Right View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Front View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Back View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Back 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Back 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Front 3/4 View: Leica M Edition 60 and 35mm Summilux f/1.4

Best-Adam Marelli 


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Sebastião Salgado Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:59:27 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Sebastião Salgado

Genesis Explained 

Neuehouse, New York City


Genesis 1 © Sebastião Salgado

Genesis 1 © Sebastião Salgado


Last Friday night, the Neuehouse hosted a discussion between photographer Sebastião Salgado and former New York Times editor, writer and academic Fred Ritchin.  This was not the first occasion that the two of them had spoken together.  Their relationship goes back over thirty years to 1980 when Ritchin hired Salgado to photograph the Reagan campaign.  It was good timing for Salgado and bad timing for Reagan.  Ritchin said that he thought it was a good idea to send Salgado because he did not speak any english, a plus when it came to covering Reagan.

Salgado’s well-timed commission allowed him to be one of the only photographers to capture Reagan’s assassination attempt, and that alone secured him a permanent position in the archives of twentieth century photojournalism.  But while many photographers would be happy enough to have that once in a lifetime shot, it was really just the beginning for Salgado, as he attempted to do something that is often discussed but hardly accomplished, and that is to take pictures that have a lasting impact on the world.

Genesis 2 © Sebastião Salgado

Genesis 2 © Sebastião Salgado

No Longer Photography

When I first heard Salgado and Ritchin speak at UC Berkeley in 2004, they discussed the way that Salgado was quick to make his subjects feel comfortable, his background as an economist turned photographer, and how the landscape of photography was changing.  It was very much a discussion about photography.  But this past Friday night, the tone was different.

After a brief introduction, we watched a multimedia presentation from the Genesis series, accompanied by a musical score.  After twenty minutes of biblical landscapes, tribal villages, and possibly the last wildlife wilderness photos across the globe, Salgado took the conversation away from photography and into the philosophy of being human.

Genesis 3 © Sebastião Salgado

Genesis 3 © Sebastião Salgado

1mm Humans

Gesturing to the back wall, Salgado said, “If the wall, from end to end, represents the history of Planet Earth, humanity would be less than 1mm at the far end.”  We are a new blip on the radar and one that might manage to extinguish ourselves before we grow to 2mm.

Salgado’s perspective on the planet and longevity of the dinosaurs, for example, puts into perspective how new we are to the planet.  His aim with Genesis was two fold:

1.  RECONNECT. First, he wanted to reconnect with the planet on which he lives.  As he said, cities are like spaceships.  “Paris, London, Rio, New York, these are not the Earth, they are homes for aliens on Earth.  I spent eight months every year, for eight years, sixty four months in total, out away from these places discovering our planet.”

2.  EARTH ARCHIVE. Second, the pictures are to serve as a record, reminder, or archive of the Earth before it is fully touched by humans.  He firmly believes that the things we call technology are nothing new, nothing profound, and nothing nearly as evolved as the natural systems that have developed over the last few million years.  To listen to Salgado, in his heavily accented English, explain these ideas is undeniably charming and something worth seeking out.  The Earth could use some charismatic ambassadors, because the “strap yourself to a tree” protest style has not exactly won over universal support.

Genesis 4 © Sebastião Salgado

Genesis 4 © Sebastião Salgado

Steps Beyond the Camera

As the evening went on, I almost forgot I was listening to a photographer.  Salgado elaborated on the national park he started with his wife and the 2,500,000 trees they have replanted since its inception.  He convinced his publisher, Taschen, to become carbon neutral, and he devoted all of 2014 to talking about the preservation of humanity at global summits on climate change.  He is the first to say that the Earth will be fine, it has been here longer than we have, but we are in serious jeopardy of cannibalizing our own existence as a species through a combination of willful ignorance and destruction.

While I don’t consider myself an “environmentalist” per se, I do like to give this example in a language that the industrial titans who extract resources from the planet with reckless abandon will understand.

I believe the way we harvest resources and create collateral damage on the planet is the equivalent of shopping for a Ferrari, smashing out all the windows, then cutting out the leather and wrapping ourselves in it for clothing.

That approach sums up almost everything from shark finning to fracking.  For the sake of short term profit, entire systems are breaking and will be unusable to future generations.  They might find that Ferrari one day, but only as a burnt out shell after being set on fire because the leather did not keep us warm enough.

Sebastião Salgado at Neuehouse © Adam Marelli

Sebastião Salgado at Neuehouse © Adam Marelli


After the talk I had the good fortune to finally meet Salgado, shake his hand and snap a picture of a photographer who is redefining how pictures can affect change on the globe.  I don’t suspect that any single photograph will cause an about face in global policy.  That is not how the change will work.  But what I believe we are witnessing here is that photography, like a rushing stream, is slowly reshaping the landscape to hopefully remove the trends of destruction that are only a few hundred years old.

At the head of this stream are figures like Salgado, a former economist turned picture maker.  In the end, the photographs are just a tool to demonstrate what he sees as our greater responsibility to observe, understand and honor the world around us.

Exhibition at ICP

Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition “Genesis” is running at the International Center for Photography until January 11th, 2015.

Sebastião Salgado’s Foundation:


Best-Adam Marelli

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Do what you Love: Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:23:27 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Do what you Love: Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte 

President of Montre Journe (FP Journe)

by Adam Marelli


Do what you Love: Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Do what you Love: Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli


In the world of artisanal products, from custom shoes to high end watches or boats, it is rare to find a successful mixture of business and true artistry. In my work I see a lot of “pseudo-heritage, vintage, handmade brands,” trying to capitalize on the market popularity of bespoke production.  But when it comes to actually making things, especially watches, there is no faking it.  As a Journe collector friend of mine said, “We tend not to own just one…I’ve been buying about one a year for the last decade…sometimes two a year if there is something I really like.”  This type of collector dedication is not easy to come by.  In many cases, one brain is simply not enough to design, build, market, and sell a recognizable name in any industry.  When it happens, it is usually the result of a collaboration of minds with the founder at the helm.

In the world of watches, FP Journe tackled these challenges and rose to compete with the legacy brands of watchmaking, all within his lifetime.  I had a chance to sit down with his business partner, Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte, at their New York City boutique and explore how he was able to transition from being a salesman to representing one of the most respected living watchmakers today.

There is no simple way to describe the road to success.  It has as many shapes as there are waves in the ocean.  But there is one thing that bonds those who do what they love.  They nurture their passions and reinforce them through constant learning. They understand that “value” can be measured in more than simply dollar signs.

How did you originally become involved with FP Journe and the world of high end watchmaking?

Back in 1987, 12 years before we produced a watch under the company name FP Journe, I met watchmaker Francois Paul Journe (FP) by accident.  I had gone to the Basel Fair.  After a half day of going around, I could not get in to Rolex or Patek Philippe because I did not have the money to buy, so I went on the radius. I remember this gathering of “weird guys.” And I say “weird” in an affectionate way. I remember seeing a watch, and I went to see one of these guys, his name was Vincent Calabrese, who became my mentor.  I said, “I don’t understand, why are you copying the Corum watch?”  And after a lot of explaining and explicative sound bites, he said I did not understand anything, and that HE made the Corum watch. I said, “Not true, I asked Corum and  they said they made it.”

And then Vincent really showed me behind the curtain. This is where I found my calling. Because I was talking to the guy that created the golden bridge (which is what Vincent created) this is the thing that HE created.  I befriended all these guys, and they all had an amazing passion and talent.

The FP Journe boutique in New York City.  © Adam Marelli

The FP Journe boutique in New York City. © Adam Marelli

How did this introduction to a group of independent watchmakers develop your interest in watches?

Calabrese introduced me to all these other guys, and they asked me, ‘So why don’t you come to our annual dinner?’  I said ok, and discovered I was the only non-watchmaker invited.  And who did I sit next to but Francois Paul Journe. Philippe Dufour was across from me, Franck Muller was there, I mean, all these unbelievable watchmakers at one table.

I started to work with them on the business side, but things were very informal.  I became the spokesperson for them in the US, but it was complicated.  Since they were not making a large production, pictures of the watches came on polaroids, prices were handwritten on a piece of paper and I had no idea what it meant, if it was an export price, retail price, or what they wanted for it.  They were not structured.

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Out of all of the watchmakers you were dealing with, how did Journe emerge as the one you wanted to work with?

I started seeing Journe at each fair and at his workshop in Paris, which was right next to where my parents were living.  And the guy had so many things to talk about, especially for someone like me, who was new to the game, very passionate, but very naive.  I realized this guy really had something to say about watchmaking. It was coming from his guts. It was like his whole body was expressing something.  He had such a clear idea of what he wanted to do that well before he made the first watches under the name of the company “FP Journe,” he had already created all of the designs.  All of the napkin sketches of the watches are still on view in the Geneva offices.

How did you make the jump from friends to partners? 

So in ’99 FP asked me, “Are you ready for the US? Because I am.”  Each year I kept saying I’m getting ready, but I’m not there yet.

He said, “You can open five stores.”

I said, “Why five?”

“Because I have 5 watches.” he said.

But like the other makers, we were not set up as a proper business.  There were no SKU inventories, the watches came in 38mm because that’s what he made, and the dials were yellow gold.

It was one reference.  And that’s how we started.  I started independently, always checking with him.  I was his agent, not a distributor.

FP Journe Boutique New York City © Adam Marelli

FP Journe Boutique New York City © Adam Marelli

Why does it matter if you were an agent versus a distributor?

We never had the margin for a distributor, and also FP would have never relinquished control of what was happening.  The problem with a distributor is I can’t control what the distributor is doing.

That is what happens when you have independent distributors.  I was an independent distributor for other brands.  We were under pressure to perform, regardless of what the market could bear.  And then it would be a 3-5 year contract, so at the end of the contract, what do you do?  You could end up sitting on dead stock.

With FP, from the beginning it was like I was an agent. So I was really helping, giving my two cents of advice, and discussing it with him. What do you want me to do on this one or that one, where do we go next, and how do we present it?

FP Journe's Chronomètre Optimum.  © Adam Marelli

FP Journe’s Chronomètre Optimum. © Adam Marelli

Was this relationship formalized in a contract with a business plan and investors?

No.  Only in 2009, when we opened this boutique here in NYC, we decided to put it on paper.  Before, it was really just a handshake.  And in opening the boutique, I was in a position where I owed him a sizeable amount of money.  He was not very concerned, but I was concerned for him, because if something happened, what would I do? I’m responsible, what would I do?

We decided that I would relinquish my job as an independent agent and create a company called Montre Journe America, which covers from Canada to Argentina and the Caribbean, so basically the American Continent, and also create one boutique.  Now we have three, but that was the first one.

So we became partners.  He owns 50.1 percent, I own 49.9, but the decisions have to be unanimous, so it’s a good partnership.

How do you and FP work together, I mean from a personality standpoint? What are the daily challenges you face?

The thing is, FP is extremely stubborn and very outspoken about what he wants.  But I am too.  We’ve clashed many times, but we are always smart enough…I’m not saying we are smart, but smart enough so that…if I don’t agree with him or he disagrees with me, it’s both our jobs to convince the other, in an intelligent way, to understand what is happening or what we should do.

Many artists don’t like to explain why they do things, but from early on I told him, if I’m supposed to be a spokesperson for FP Journe and I don’t understand what you want to do or what you mean by this, then I’m not capable of doing that job.  Most of the time when we disagreed, it was because I did not have enough information about the future.

By being sometimes harsh in the discussion, not on the person but on the ideas, like a real argument should be, I was able to convert what he wanted to express, or wanted to achieve, into a language that potential collectors could understand.

But because I’m passionate and because he’s passionate, it works.  If he was just about  business it would not work.  If I were all about business it would not work either, because I would look at just the results and not look at the future.

With FP we always say, and we just talked about this a month ago, said “Where do we want to be in 20 years?”

What role does profit or value play in your decisions around the company?

When you and I were at Watch Week , I felt badly for my colleagues.  They have so many constraints, of what they can say or not, based on shareholders and executive orders.  My contract with FP is unlimited in time and the minimum is zero.  We would have other problems if we sell zero, but I am not obliged to perform for an amount of money.  I have an obligation to perform to insure that we bring the message out; it’s a whole different situation.

And talking about the idea of this interview; we are not driven by the bottom line of the balance sheet.  It’s important for us, but important as a means and not as a goal.

When we talk about the purpose of the company, the purpose in a strong sense is to achieve what FP has as a vision.  He wants to make a dent in the history of watchmaking.  Hopefully a big dent, and money is an extremely important part of this; it is a gear, a means to an end, but not an end in itself.

How does FP demonstrate the idea that money is secondary to the company in a way that his employees can see it? 

FP, to this day, does not own an apartment, does not own a car…I don’t think he has anything besides what he has in the company.  And we do not distribute dividends, everything stays in the company.  Maybe it’s to buy a new machine, maybe it’s to hire another person, maybe it’s to buy a clock that is important in the history of clockmaking which FP really reveres.  But that’s FP.  And that changes the whole paradigm of what you want to do in life.

FP Journe © Adam Marelli

FP Journe © Adam Marelli

When you talk about living the life you want, can you explain how you transitioned from working as an agent for watch brands to taking the leap to work for FP Journe (who at the time was still a relatively unknown quantity in the high end watchwork, especially compared to older houses like Patek Philippe or Vachereon Constantin)?

FP Journe started as a sort of side business. And for me it was more of a service for FP. We were making money but…it was not an income I could survive on.  Even when I went to Technomarine, which is the other side of the spectrum from FP Journe, and I was the VP worldwide for them in the heydays of Techno, which was 2005, I said I can come to work for this company, no problem, but I keep FP Journe.  That was my only condition.

It was easier for me to get into without really sacrificing an income.

So it was not an immediate jump, it was a long building relationship, one faded in and the other one faded out?

Right, the passion was there from the beginning, but I would not advocate leaving everything today…to live your dream.  You still need to plan a little.  Especially when you have kids or a wife, you’ve got to be responsible.  But I remember when FP had first seen me, he said, “But Pierre, in the end, forget about the money right now, in the end, what do you want to do?”  That question was always in the back of my mind.

Less than a month ago when I was in Geneva…I asked FP, “Remember when you asked me what I want to do?”  I am doing what I want to do.  And I know I am within my limits.  I am not a watchmaker.  I’m not capable of making a watch at all.  Definitely not at the level of Journe. In terms of creation, which is very glorifying, I can’t do this.  But it does not prevent me from doing something I am passionate about.

Some might say, I’m just another gear in the machine.  That’s true, but it’s an important gear, because we are in the number one market, because FP wants to adhere to his goals.  For me he’s like a general, but he needs a lieutenant, somebody that can help him achieve this.  So I’m ok with this.  You have to come to terms with it, that you are not going to be the leader or the big boss.  It does not really matter when you have a strong vision of what you would like to achieve, and my goal is to make sure that he achieves what he wants down the road.  It takes work and it takes bumps in the road and setbacks and problems and discussions and arguments, but that’s life.

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

How does this fit in with your childhood ambitions?  

I always knew that I had a talent to sell.  From a very young age I liked sales, not so much the money situation, but the fact that when you are participating in a discussion, you can bring your point to the other party in a way that the other person would understand or adhere to it.

I think I would have been good in politics; I could have sold a few things.  But politics is too corrupt, you can’t make a career out of this.  What we see in France is the same as we see in America.

So if you could have sold anything, why watches?  Why not houses or boats or stocks?

The watch passion came in two steps. The first came because of my Dad. My Dad was a collector of watches.  In a very eclectic way.  He would have the latest AP but he would have the first Swatch. I said, “Dad this makes so much noise, it’s so ugly, that will never sell, it will never work”, and I was wrong by a few billion dollars.  But he also had the first Seiko with a calculator, and my fingers were not so thick when I was younger so I could push the buttons.  He gave me the idea of watches and started giving them to me when I was 12 or 13, so I was wearing Swatch and Seiko.  But it was not AP.

The second came when I got into the retail world.  The company that romanced the watch was Breitling. I was one of the first retailers of Breitling in the US. I’m not talking that long ago, late 80s, but Breitling was interesting because I knew Ernest Schnieder, the owner, and his son Teddy. They are very nice people and I remember the salespeople in Basel would take me as the first appointment because I would have a point of view they would listen to or have questions other people would not ask. At that time, it was complicated because the watch was super big. It was 40mm, which was big at that time, it was thick.  And you had these pushers; nobody knew what they were for.  Well, that’s a chronograph, it’s a stopwatch, but why is a stopwatch so big?  Now 40mm is on the small side.

It was a good relationship between the sales rep, Mary Bohnman and I, and I was able to romance it because what do you use a stopwatch for? The ego, time your own time, and the importance of Breitling during the first World War with the advent of chronographs on wrists.  Breitling started to produce everything.  Then I realized I have a talent for this, I evolved very quickly, trying to understand the syntax or the grammar of time.

FP Journe Boutique New York City © Adam Marelli

FP Journe Boutique New York City © Adam Marelli

What do you mean by the grammar of time?  

All of the conventions of time have a history…from the 12 hour day to the Gregorian calendar, everything exists for a historical reason.  I find it amazing. You can go anywhere in the world, where you don’t speak the language, but everybody understands what time is. If I show you the watch, you and I know and understand the common denominator, which is time.

It is completely imbedded in our cultures.  So much so that when France tried to change the clock during the French Revolution to one hundred minutes in an hour and one hundred seconds in a minute, it did not stick.  Then you have someone like Pol Pot who tried to eradicate time and have zero time…for obvious reasons this failed too.  But I enjoy the history of time immensely.

How is the history of watchmaking captured in a Journe watch?

In a very humble way, because he is the first one to admit that we are dinosaurs, because of the advent of the smart phones and the quartz revolution.  Any quartz watch would be 40x more precise than any Journe or Patek or Rolex.

Why make a mechanical watch?  Well, because when you have this, it’s almost the last luxury that is almost art. The idea that an artisan can make something functional, that looks effortless, and is wearable; you really have two visions, the technical vision and the aesthetic vision.

When you get involved in a field like watchmaking, what role does history play in your development? 

History for us is critical.  If FP’s goal is to make a dent in the history of watchmaking, he’s got to know what the history was, otherwise he won’t even know where he is going.

But remember, that was his first trade. Where he started learning about his trade was working for his uncle, restoring clocks from the 18th century, which is the golden era of clockmaking. And I’m not saying repairing; repair is kind of easy.  I’m saying restoring, which means you have to bring it back to the original shape it was in, whether or not today we have a better system or better materials that did not exist at that time.  So when you are restoring you have to go into the history, go in and see other clocks made by Lepin, Breguet, and anything from the great watchmakers, to see how they did this one, because oh, you are missing a part. What did he intend?  You have to reconstruct, thinking the way the other guy was thinking.  And a lot of people say who cares?  Well, once you can bring back to life a clock that is 200 years old, that has been partly burned or broken, and you can bring it to life, you have really put yourself in the mind of the watchmaker that created this.

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

These lessons of history all sound like they come through experience and specialized study, but we have not heard any mention of formal schooling, like university studies…how do you view the importance of formal education?

There is no button which you can push and have all the knowledge in this field.  It’s easier now with the Internet, but at that time, there was no Internet when I started doing this.  So you really have to go to libraries, go to people that might know, or talk about passions with people and they ask, did you read that book?  Oh no, then I would write it down and go get it.  This is not what you learn at school, I agree with you.

At the same time, school should be able to give you the base and leads…oh I did not know anything about this, that is interesting, and be able to give you a certain base so you could explore further.

What type of collectors are attracted to FP Journe?  

We attract a lot of doctors and engineers, and they are usually our best customers because they have the same problems or issues at work.  They have problems and solutions.  And a doctor or engineer are basically the same.  When you go to a doctor and say, “I don’t feel well here”, he has to imagine your gears, what could be causing this pain or this discomfort, and how am I going to fix it?  It’s the same thing as an engineer.  I want to create this, this is my problem, how to I circumvent this problem, how do I achieve this?

Did you ever have the impulse to become an artist?

Yes of course, but I am not good.  When you have a guy like FP, knowing where he comes from, no money, expelled from school at the beginning because he could not work they way they wanted him to, he was already an iconoclast.  I imagine that when he goes on the street and sees an FP Journe on someone’s wrist, the amount of time and effort that it took to achieve that, he must have a sense of being proud.  I know I would be extremely proud of myself if I could create something and someone from China, says “I really like that”, and for them to buy it.

It’s like you, if someone buys your photographs, it’s important…you photograph for yourself, but at the same time it’s always good to know someone else likes it.  Otherwise it’s a lonely, lonely life.

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Have you made any mistakes along the way that you regret?

I don’t know…I made a lot of mistakes. I really predicted that the Swatch watch would never sell.  But that’s what makes you, the mistakes make you.  I am happy with how things turned out, mistakes and all.

What does a typical work week look like for you? 

I don’t have a set schedule. I could have an afternoon that I meet a client for golf or tennis.  Sometimes my mind is fried and I need to take an afternoon off.  But I don’t have a problem working on Saturday or Sunday.

I have two kinds of work…I have a team to watch over, then the rest is meeting people and talking, which is for me not work. I share my passion and our message.

The worst thing for a company like ours, is to have a blurry message.  

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte © Adam Marelli

If you would like to learn more about FP Journe have a look at their website:

Best-Adam Marelli

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Natural Light Portraits Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:10:48 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Natural Light Portraits

Anytime, anywhere

New York City, USA


Natural Light 1 © Adam Marelli

Natural Light 1 © Adam Marelli


Every morning, from the Scottish Highlands to the Cape of Good Hope, we are gifted with natural light from the sun.  From pole to pole, sunlight has a million faces.  It changes temperature and intensity like a moody king.  It is, without question, the cornerstone of photography and something that is best appreciated in tiny sips, rather than big gulps.

"The Light Inside" 1999.  Houston, Texas. ©  James Turrell

“The Light Inside” 1999. Houston, Texas. © James Turrell

Types of Light

American artist James Turrell is one of the few artists in history who works almost exclusively in light.  For almost forty years he has experimented, modeled, and shaped light for his installations.  While Turrell is not a photographer per se, he does have a tremendous command of the medium of light and offers photographers sound advice.

In a recent interview with the curator of his retrospective at the Guggenheim, Turrell says something that most people never consider.  There is no such thing as artificial light.  All light is the result of  something burning and giving off a temperature, an intensity and a level of measurable lumens.  From an LED diode to the sun…it’s all light.

"The Fighting Temeraire" by JMW Turner

“The Fighting Temeraire” by JMW Turner

This unifying view of light will help photographers uncover some of the mysteries that lie in the subject called “Natural Light.”  When we talk about natural light, it usually means that the light is not the product of something we plug in or can carry around.  It is the omnipresent glow that we refer to as daylight.  So why is a light that is available everyday, all over the world, so difficult to figure out?

"Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains" by Albert Bierstadt

“Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains” by Albert Bierstadt

Shadow Play

Last week, I was hosting a private One on One workshop for three days in New York City.  On our last day, I arranged for a model shoot.  While most people think model shoots are strictly for fashion photographers, keep in mind that almost every artist in the last 2,000 years tried their hand at portraiture.  It is a useful practice, even for the abstract artist.  Portraiture requires us to be sensitive to two things at the same time…the first is light and the second is our subject.  The better we get at juggling the two, the easier it becomes to spot good light on the street anywhere in the world.

Natural Light 2 © Adam Marelli

Natural Light 2 © Adam Marelli


  1. If you are not sure about your lighting, look at the shadows.  If the shadows are harsh, with strong lines and look more like black cardboard cutouts, the light is probably not good.
  2. If you want to see what great light looks like, the kind that fascinated Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, and Bierstadt…get up early in the morning, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and pick an object in front of you.  Watch the sun come up and wrap itself around that object.  You will be seeing light, and the delicate way it crawls across the surface of the earth.
  3. For shooting in the middle of the day, find an overhang…the light that comes in just under a roof ledge is perfect for portraits.
Natural Light 3 © Adam Marelli

Natural Light 3 © Adam Marelli


Photography is a fun member of the art family.  It is the only one where the tools get so much attention.  And while I like my camera as much as the next photographer, it’s worth remembering that without light, a camera is nothing more than a paperweight with a bunch of buttons.  So when the sun creeps up tomorrow morning, remember to look first and shoot second because without that big ol’lantern in the sky we would all be out of business.

Best-Adam Marelli 

Natural Light © Adam Marelli

Natural Light © Adam Marelli


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Adam Marelli Workshops 2015 Schedule Fri, 08 Aug 2014 22:34:52 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Adam Marelli Photography Workshops: Matera, Italy.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli Photography Workshops: Matera, Italy. © Adam Marelli

On the Horizon

As I am getting ready for the travel season to start again, with back to back, sold out workshops in Venice and Kyoto…I must admit that I am really looking forward to the 2015 workshops.  The dates have just been announced and I know a bunch of you waited patiently on wait lists, so give it a look and sign up early.

Sign up at: 

Have a great weekend!



Adam Marelli Photography Workshops, Global Schedule 2015.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli Photography Workshops, Global Schedule 2015. © Adam Marelli

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The Photographer’s Pouch Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:09:18 +0000 adam [more...]]]> The Photographer’s Pouch

Designed by Will Kortum


The Photographers Pouch.  A simple solution to keeping all the little things in place. © Will Kortum

The Photographer’s Pouch. A simple solution to keeping all the little things in place. © Will Kortum


As most of you know, I’m not too into gear.  In my mind, good design should be almost invisible.  One area where there is still plenty of room for improvement is the camera bag.  Will Kortum, a young photographer who took a workshop with me two summers ago and has been doing my One on One program since then, came up with a good “add on solution” to one’s photo bag needs.

The Photographers Pouch works well inside of your existing bag and for Leica shooters it can be configured to keep your cameras from sloshing around in a larger bag. © Will Kortum

The Photographer’s Pouch works well inside of your existing bag and for Leica shooters it can be configured to keep your cameras from sloshing around in a larger bag. © Will Kortum

Photographers Pouch for everything from spare batters, business cards, or whatever else your heart desires.  © Will Kortum

The Photographer’s Pouch is for everything from spare batteries to business cards, or whatever else your heart desires. © Will Kortum

Who is Will Kortum?

Will is putting together a portfolio for his college application right now.  We got together the other week to review his portfolio, and over a coffee he said,” Oh Adam, I want to show you this thing I made.”  He pulled out a small felt pouch that can velcro to the inside of a camera bag’s padding.  As a 17 year old, with his mind focused on college, I would not expect him to have the time to redesign his entire Billingham bag, but I applaud his efforts in finding an economical solution to the problem of an internal, multi-use pocket for his bag.  Will tells us more about the history here:

“I first thought up the idea that later became the Photographer’s Pouch after losing one of my favorite pens. I use a Billingham camera bag, and while it is fantastic in nearly every way, the main section is pretty much open. This means that it is hard to keep a tidy bag, and loose items like my pen could easily slip out. The Photographer’s Pouch is my idea of a remedy to this flaw. It’s not too small, but not too big either- meaning that you can keep multiples in one bag for different things. It is perfect for the loose batteries, filters, viewfinders, and cords that often occupy the dark depths of a camera bag. Because it has a velcro back, it can be stuck anywhere on the inside of a bag for easy access. I’ve spent months designing, prototyping, and redesigning the pouch for the perfect iteration. I hope you find it as useful as I do!”

Photographer’s Pouches are available for individual purchase ($11.95) or a pack of 3 ($29.95) Here is the website: 

Photographers Pouch © Will Kortum

Photographer’s Pouch © Will Kortum


A few weeks ago when I was speaking at the SXSW V2V Entrepreneurs conference in Las Vegas, there was an idea which was echoed in almost all of the talks.  Good ideas are an excellent place to start…but they are not worth anything without execution.  To this, I’d like to say that Will not only got a product prototyped, logo’d and produced…he also put together a simple, clean, and effective website.  I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Yeah that reminds me, I have to get on my site.”  Hopefully you take Will and his Photographer’s Pouch as an encouraging example that an idea, with a plan and a little hard work, can produce results; and results that other people can get behind.  Until someone designs the perfect bag, it’s nice to know there are a few add-ons to keep all of our batteries and pens together.  In the meantime, let’s all wish Will well on his college application.

Best-Adam Marelli 





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