Adam Marelli Photo Now Boarding Leica Air . . . Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:05:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Room for Improvement Release Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:35:27 +0000 adam [more...]]]> A Room for Improvement by Adam Marelli

Artistic Vision for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

Udemy Platform


Out of the Darkness...A Room for Improvement Introduction.  © Adam Marelli

Out of the Darkness…A Room for Improvement Introduction. © Adam Marelli


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.

Born over a cup of coffee in Chiang Mai Thailand. © Adam Marelli

Born over a cup of coffee in Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli

The Origins

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.

Screen grab from "A Room for Improvement."  © Adam Marelli

Screen grab from “A Room for Improvement.” © Adam Marelli

Art for Everyone

Many of you have seen my videos at B&H, “Bridging the Gap” and “How to talk to Strangers.”  I learned two very important lessons when I recorded these talks with B&H Photo.

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.

The goal of A Room for Improvement.  © Adam Marelli

The goal of A Room for Improvement. © Adam Marelli

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.

The structure for the course is four years in the making.  © Adam Marelli

The structure for the course is four years in the making. © Adam Marelli

The Structure

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 title page from the first episode titled, "The Art of Seeing."  © Adam Marelli

The title page from the first episode titled, “The Art of Seeing.” © Adam Marelli

The Art of Seeing No. 1

The first episode, called “The Art of Seeing No. 1” is available here and it lays out the program in greater detail.  Subscribe to me on Youtube (Adam Marelli Workshops click this link)


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: 


Best-Adam Marelli 

]]> 5
Social Media for Photographers: Tumblr Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:35:16 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Social Media for Photographers

Social Media for the Anti-Social

Part 3: Tumblr


Social Media for Photographers: Tumblr.  La Chiesa della Palumbo, Matera Italy.  © Adam Marelli

Social Media for Photographers: Tumblr. La Chiesa della Palumbo, Matera Italy. © Adam Marelli


When we think of social media, the names that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter.  They are the most widely used platforms that no one saw coming, and no one can figure out if they will last.  So while financial analysts debate over their values and the news media pretends to make peace with them, though they really wish they never existed, a few other contenders have quietly slipped in under the radar.  There are hoards of sites, from Pinterest to Flickr, but I’d like to focus on one that I personally enjoy, use daily but never post on, and that is Tumblr.

On paper, Tumblr was conceived as a microblog.  Within its design you could post an image, add some text and publish under a single username.  If you have something to say with a picture to go along, then this might be a better version of Instagram for you.  But in reality, I find Tumblr to be a scrolling site of images.  I look at it mostly on my phone or iPad for the sole purpose of browsing nonsensical pictures, skipping all the text.  I have a feeling I am not alone in this approach.

Sphinx.  La Paz's tumblr feed

Sphinx. La Paz’s Tumblr feed

What’s it do?

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, which I use for my images, Tumblr is a platform of consumption.  I look and look and look and never do anything else.  There are a few reasons I don’t share pictures on this platform, none of which should prevent you from doing so…it’s just how I manage my Internet time.  In the back of my head I have to remember that I am not a news station, I am not an online magazine, and the Internet is a part of my studio but not the entire thing.  So pumping out miles of daily content has a point of diminishing returns…running a Tumblr feed is just not in the cards at the moment.  But a little browsing here and there won’t kill anyone.

I just love this shot...the perfect sunken ship.  La Paz tumblr.

I just love this shot…the perfect sunken ship. La Paz Tumblr.

Why use it?

For simplicity, let’s divide Tumblr in two ways: we’ve got Providers and Users.

  1. Providers:  People who want to showcase large quantities of easily digested images in a streaming format with little to no regard for the picture’s origins.
  2. Users:  People who want to look at a filtered set of pictures and don’t really care where the picture came from, who took it, or if they can ever find it again.
Fisherman providing in a different way.  La Paz tumblr.

Fishermen providing in a different way. La Paz Tumblr.


Why might you want to use Tumblr?…here are two scenarios…

Swell.  La Paz tumblr

Swell. La Paz Tumblr

La Paz Portugal…This Porto-based clothing company traces their designs from fisherman styles that you could find along the Mediterranean at the turn of the century.  Think of the film “La Terra Trema.”  They draw from a huge resource of naval and pescatore-based history.  A good way for them to share their inspirations, which span four oceans and two centuries, is a Tumblr feed.  It allows them to open up their creative process to their audience.  Why is this important?…because not everyone is going to understand that an oddly cut, soft collar jacket is not the eccentric wishes of Jose Miguel de Abreu, rather it comes from a real history, one which some might enjoy.  The other reason is that as a clothing company, they attract clients by having good taste.  If you can source anything that people are not familiar with and curate it in a way that reflects your style, people might be more likely to take your advice on stylish matters.  I have always said that, “I never trusted an architect who could not dress well.”  Those in the business of aesthetics should reflect their good taste.  Tumblr is a great way to do it.

La Paz’s Tumblr Feed

FP Journe Chronometre Optimum Hodinkee tumblr

FP Journe Chronometre Optimum. Hodinkee Tumblr

Hodinkee…I’ve mentioned the guys at Hodinkee before, one of the world’s leading watch culture websites, because I like what they do.  They managed to take the high brow world of watches and make it fun, accessible, and interesting, without all the pretence of the Robb Report.  As a visual outlet, their Tumblr feed is pretty straight forward.  They take pictures of watches…watches at the cafe, watches at the office, watches on the road…you get the drift; they take pictures of watches everywhere they go.  It does not matter if a watch is 32mm or 48mm, watches all fit well into a grid of images.  Click on their feed below to see how Walter Gropius would have loved Hodinkee too.  Even if you don’t like watches, there is something nice about the simple repetition of an idiom that has fascinated mankind since they first noticed that the sun and moon swapped places on a daily basis.

Patek Philippe 3670A & Laurent Ferrier Hodinkee

Patek Philippe 3670A & Laurent Ferrier. Hodinkee Tumblr

As a format, Tumblr works really well for Hodinkee because they can add a small amount of text or a link to an article they wrote, and the “archive feature” brings up all the thumbnails at once.  So if you want to browse the virtual watch case of Hodinkee, it is so easy that the Sunday morning coffee might go cold as you are entranced by the varieties of man jewelry that the watch world has to offer.

Hodinkee’s Tumblr Feed

Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris 68 Hodinkee out for a little coffee downtown.

Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris 68. Hodinkee out for a little coffee downtown. Hodinkee Tumblr

What type of photographer might use Tumblr?

If you have a specialty, like photographing farm equipment or custom motorcycles or watches, Tumblr could work well for you.  It does the best for photographers who have an overarching continuity to their work.  If I see someone that has a few pics here and there, but overall the work is scattered, I won’t follow their feed.  It’s more about specialization.  I want it edited by the time I get there.  So if all the photographs are Riva motorboats or the city of Cairo…I’m in.

Surf Jump La Paz tumblr

Surf Jump. La Paz Tumblr

TIP:  If you use Tumblr as a photographer, make it easy for people to find you by including your website as a link below the picture.  No watermarks; I can’t stand watermarks.  If there is any hope of someone liking and finding you, the process should be as easy as possible.

Shark Jaw Seat La Paz tumblr

Shark Jaw Seat. La Paz Tumblr

Users…here is some advice to keep Tumblr from becoming like your Internet Meth addiction.

  1. Be selective…I only follow 32 feeds on Tumblr; it’s enough that whenever I open it there is something new to look at, but not so many that I can never catch up to where I left off yesterday.  At one point I followed a few people who must have put up 100 pictures every day and it started to feel like getting through my daily updates was a thumb race on my iPhone.  I took the thumb callus to be a sign that I was using it a little too much.
  2. Dream big…since I can’t imagine that anyone who runs a Tumblr page actually has a 300 ft yacht and a private island, it’s safe to say that looking at a Tumblr page is like looking at other people’s dreams.  Whatever you are into, someone has a Tumblr page on it.  Some of my favorites…sailboats, tree houses, beach homes, private islands, sharks, anything scuba or surfing, and of course, James Turrell.
  3. Travel Agent…let’s say you are going to Bora Bora for the first time.  It’s going to be a heck of a trip and you’d like to know what to expect.  I find that Tumblr, by virtue of the fact that people select the images they post, will give you a better collection of what a place looks like than Google.  Also, since it’s so easy to re-share and re-post with no regard for copyright or credit, good images make their way around Tumblr quickly.
After Rain La Paz Tumblr

After Rain. La Paz Tumblr

What not to do

Unlike Facebook and Instagram which are all tethered to your real existence as a person, Tumblr feels more anonymous.  As a result, there are no personal interactions.  You look, you like, you move on.  You can save pictures to your phone like an inspiration board or you can just browse to your heart’s content.  So it’s actually the easiest to use and there is almost no way to cause an Internet s*&t storm.

Bauhaus La Paz tumblr

Bauhaus. La Paz Tumblr

A word of warning

I’d like to offer a word of warning for photographers with Tumblr.  It is easy to use, great for sharing, and filled with great images, BUT it is the copyright wild west.  Pictures are passed around like a bong at a frat house.  If someone wants a picture, they just grab it.  The upside is that the images are not huge, so they will not be stealing your entire livelihood.  But I would not be surprised to find that your picture has travelled halfway around the world and back…only now it has the wrong location and three other photographers taking credit for the picture.  Chances are they are only using it on Tumblr, so don’t panic too much, but it’s not a place for keeping your pictures on lockdown.

Fisherman La Paz tumblr

Fisherman. La Paz Tumblr

Find your interests and whether they are visual

For as long as I can remember, I loved looking at light.  Part of it must be genetic, because I get a disproportionate pleasure out of looking.  On the one hand, it has lent itself very well to being an artist, but on the other hand, has made me acutely aware that it’s not really normal.  The mental patient stare, my girlfriend points out to me when I look at something, could have had me institutionalized in the 1800s, probably sent for a lobotomy in the 1900’s, and certainly made me a candidate for psychotropic drugs in the 2000’s.  But alas, I have dodged all of the quack doctors who don’t understand that a visual pleasure, for some, is a full body experience that takes you somewhere else…I think it’s one of the few moments where you live in a continuous present.  It’s kind of hard to put into words, but if it’s happened to you, you understand what I mean.

Incoming Swell La Paz tumblr

Incoming Swell. La Paz Tumblr

But, if you are getting into photography and don’t consider yourself a visual person, the best thing you can do for your eyes and mind is feed it images.  Start by taking an object that you are into and search for it on Tumblr…it could be anything from flowers to the color blue.  Just type it in, scroll away and see what strikes you.  Eventually the right chord is bound to strike.


Every social media platform has a dozen reasons why you should use it.  The only hope they have for a multi-billion dollar buyout comes from collecting billions of users.  But if you are like me, and social media is not your life, then you need to be selective.  Otherwise the vortex of the Internet only gets stronger.  I’ve found that Facebook is good for interaction, Instagram is a like a small social club, and Tumblr is an inspiration board.  Use them however you see fit because in the end, they exist for you.

If you have any good Tumblr feeds you would like to share with the other readers, post them below with a quick description as to why you like them.

Best-Adam Marelli 




]]> 2
Social Media for Photographers: Facebook Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:03:42 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Social Media for Photographers

Social Media for the Anti-Social

Part 2: Facebook


A photographers guide to how and why Facebook can be your friend. © Adam Marelli

A photographers guide to how and why Facebook can be your friend. © Adam Marelli


A while back, on Facebook, I heard a quote…

“If you could tell someone from 100 years ago anything about the future what would it be?

“I have a small black box I carry in my pocket that has all the answers in the universe, but I use it to look at pictures of kittens and argue with strangers.”

Oh god, is this true!  The potential that the Internet has afforded us versus the embarrassing ways we use it, is summed up perfectly in this quote.  The Internet, by which I mean the Google portal to the Internet and its mutant cousin named Facebook, could do great things.  But the wild west of technology has opened up more options that we might have thought existed.  There are trillions of bits of information that stream around the globe every second.

They are the types of numbers that sound like astronomy figures in a third grade science class.  When the teacher asked, “How far away is the next closest galaxy?”  Little Jimmy raises his hand and says, “It’s millions and billions and quadrillions away,” Whether little Jimmy has a future at NASA remains to be seen, but for the rest of us it’s safe to assume that the amount of information transmitted through the Internet  is large enough to be considered, “Too f-ing big to care about…it’s just a lot.”

So with little governance and almost no mandate on decency, Facebook was born.

A professional page is a good way to keep your crazy friends and relatives from offending potential clients.  © Adam Marelli

A professional page is a good way to keep your crazy friends and relatives from offending potential clients. © Adam Marelli

What’s it do?

Last week I was speaking at the SXSW V2V Conference on Entrepreneurship.  In a networking setting designed to connect like-minded people, most of us came with an encyclopedia sized stack of business cards.  And while I collected half as many cards as I handed out, two things became apparent:  1) People run out of cards 2) Using a card requires an email…when a friend request is much easier.

  • Facebook is…one of the easier and most deranged methods of interaction available.  It could be argued that Facebook is the gateway drug to being a sociopath.  You are somehow connected and disconnected all at the same time.
  • Facebook is…your own personal newspaper, they call it a news feed, of everything you click on and a few things you only thought about…how does Facebook keep reading my mind?  More on that later.  But now that it does not take two weeks to steam across the Atlantic and your only “foreign friend” is not just someone you met as a pen pal in the fourth grade, Facebook is a delightful way to see what your photography friends are doing, while they are doing it.  I will fully admit that when someone tells me about a really great trip they are headed on, I am tuned in to Facebook to see what they are up to because I like adventure stories and good pictures.
  • Facebook is…the best and cheapest PR firm that any photographer could hire.  If you want to get your work out there, Facebook is not a bad start.  It is a semi-harmless way to keep your images in someone’s mind without emailing them all the time.  A curator friend of mine said that the thing she likes about Facebook is that she can look, without interacting.  Because when you are an editor, a curator, a publisher or a writer, photographers are constantly clamoring for your attention.  Facebook is a simple way to say, very casually, here is what I’m up to without bugging someone to death.
  • Facebook is…an emotional breakdown waiting to happen.  If you are not prepared for the deafening silence that exists in the early phases of your account, then proceed with caution and make sure to friend your mother and someone else who will always like your pictures.  The whole concept of “Likes” is a complete distortion of reality.  After a few years of watching trends and how Facebook’s favors certain posts (like profile pictures, weddings, new borns, and birthdays) it’s become clear that “Likes” do not, in any way, nor will they ever, reflect the merit of an image.
A cute picture goes a long way.  Kanyakumari, India.  © Adam Marelli

A cute picture goes a long way. Kanyakumari, India. © Adam Marelli

A pretty face will also garner a lot of attention. Prague, Czech Republic. © Adam Marelli

A pretty face will also garner a lot of attention. Prague, Czech Republic. © Adam Marelli

This shot from La Fenice in Italy is more than a pretty cityscape, but it is not quite a body of work yet.  But well done night shots that glow will get you some attention.  Venice, Italy.  © Adam Marelli

This shot from La Fenice in Italy is more than a pretty cityscape, but it is not quite a body of work yet. But well done night shots that glow will get you some attention. Venice, Italy. © Adam Marelli

This is part of a growing body in Matera.  Far from finished, its nice to see that its early stages are both satisfying to me, as the artist, and to an audience.  The Heritage of Stone, Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli Likes

This is part of a growing body in Matera. Far from finished, it’s nice to see that its early stages are both satisfying to me, as the artist, and to an audience. The Heritage of Stone, Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli

The most liked images on Facebook last week were pictures of Barak Obama, a puppy, a kitten, a few sports stars and a television clip.  What can we learn from this?  That “likes” reflect a distorted view of things that are kind of popular, kind of safe, and sort of entertaining.  There is a way to use Facebook as a measure of an image, but it’s not as straight forward as “many Likes” equals “good picture.”

Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.  Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli

Why Use Facebook?

Let’s look at the reason most people give for NOT using Facebook, to decide if it’s a good format for you.

“I don’t use Facebook because of my privacy.”  This seems like a reasonable line of thought.  Facebook asks for personal information, they sell it off to marketers and would be happy to give it to anyone willing to pay.  But in reality there is little more protection on the Internet from your browser.  Anything that people might find on Facebook they could get if you are plugged into the Internet.  Those who are hacks, government techs, and cyber masterminds will tell you this.  So if privacy is just an illusion, why not interact with a few friends and ignore the banner ads that seem to mysteriously match something you googled this morning.

“I don’t want anyone to know where I am.”  Ok, the truth behind this one is sad, but if you have a cell phone and it’s on, someone can find you, track you, and trace everything you do.  It all depends on who is looking.  And if Facebook is blowing your cover, I recommend returning to espionage school.

“I can’t use it because of my job.”  Imbedded in this statement is one truth and one confession.  Some of you have jobs where Facebook is not an option, and if you are growing a photography hobby on the side it’s a shame.  Because there is not a photographer in the world who is not known by name and by face.  One of the social agreements with artistic success is the world wants to know who you are, literally.  If your professional anonymity prevents it, no problem, but you may need to work a little harder in other arenas to get your work out there.

As for the confession, let me offer this story.  When my friends and I graduated from university, all those going into corporate and banking needed to take drug tests.  Almost everyone complained, except one friend.  He said, “A drug screening is not a test to see if you do drugs.  In finance it’s quietly assumed that you have at least tried drugs, and if you can perform they will even tolerate you doing drugs.  A drug test is to see if you can stop long enough to pass the test.”

Facebook is more like a drug test of decision making.  Surely we are bound to do some boneheaded things in our lives, Facebook is just a test to see if we are boneheaded enough to post them.

If we really examine the reasons we do not use social media, we might discover that work is an excuse, not a reason.  © Adam Marelli

If we really examine the reasons we do not use social media, we might discover that work is an excuse, not a reason. © Adam Marelli

“I think Facebook is annoying.”  Facebook is annoying, absolutely.  But so are televisions, movie lines, traffic jams, and cell phones.  A Renaissance Aristocrat would look at us with utter contempt at the things we put up with on a daily basis.  But to my high-browed, velvet-clad friend I would say that I have hot water on demand, I’ve traveled around the world (not off its edge) and we have sewer systems so we do not need to fester in our own feces.  The only problem is we have not figured out how to stuff politicians into toilets, but we will figure it out.

Modern life is filled with a combination of annoyances and conveniences.  I don’t use Facebook because I love it, but it works for what I need it to do better than anything else.  Here is an example.  A number of years back, when I was not on Facebook, there was a writer from the NY Times I wanted to contact.  When I looked him up, I saw he went to Columbia University.  Easy enough, I had friends there and thought there must be an alumni database they could access.  The friend of mine, who was encouraging me to get on Facebook at the time, pointed out that the writer was on Facebook.  To which he advised, “Would you just join Facebook and write to him?”  So I did and my construction column in the NY Times came to be.

We are all in this together, play nicely.  Chiang Mai, Thailand.  © Adam Marelli

We are in this together, play nicely. Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli

How does it work?

A users manual to Facebook would be worthless to write because it is constantly evolving.  This advice is strictly for photographers looking to share images for the purpose of light feedback and to expand their exposure without the borders of maps and markets.  Facebook does bridge a very wide range of people.

  1. Open an account.  Add a profile picture and three images.  Add pictures twice a week and send friend requests to people you already know.  Facebook helps you with this.
  2. Think of Facebook as a stylized version of yourself.  It’s not exactly you, but it’s definitely not someone else.  The audience wants some information but not too much.  Pictures from your recent trip to Madagascar would be great, pictures from your recent high fiber cleanse would be awful.  The advantage to joining Facebook late is that you can learn from everyone’s mistakes.
  3. Start a professional account.  This is a page separate from the account where your relatives can reveal embarrassing aspects of your family.  One can always count on extended family to say something that is a little racist, kind of bigoted, and mildly ignorant.  It’s just in the nature of family, but Facebook is making it public.  So your professional page lets you escape all of that.
  4. Post what you like.  If I posted based off of audience feedback, I would be shooting cityscapes and models.  What can I say, cool shots of traveling and sexy Czech girls are popular, but it does not affect my overall photographic strategy.
Keep up to date with your travels an exploits.  This is a little swatch of Berlin, Florence, Matera, and NYC  © Adam Marelli

Keep up to date with your travels and exploits. This is a little swatch of Berlin, Florence, Matera, and NYC © Adam Marelli

What to do

  1. Nice people are better when liked.  There is no shortage of D-bags on Facebook; think of them like a bees nest not worth kicking.  It would be nice if the United States could crank out jobs with the same efficiency they produce Facebook a**holes.  So land on the high side.
  2. Post frequently.  Do it for yourself.  Having to post regularly will keep you focused on images, especially if you work in another field most of the time.
  3. Be a content provider, not a user.  If you post images, it should take you about 3 minutes…anything after that and you have switched to being a Facebook user.  Careful, the time can evaporate.
  4. Use it to connect with people.  I have gotten a surprising amount of work from Facebook conversations.  For some reason, those little messages are less “business feeling” than email.  The world is becoming less and less formal, so you might as well use it to your advantage.
  5. Share your work.  This was an ongoing debate about Facebook’s agreement and claimed image ownership.  While some photographers were afraid people would “steal” their work, others made a king’s ransom because there was less competition.  I look at it this way, if a 500px 72dpi image is threatening, you need to make a better image.  The only people this does not apply to are photojournalists, who run off of small images.  To you guys, guard that s*&* with your life.  But if you are taking equestrian pictures, for example, your finished image should be almost non-reproducible in a Facebook format.  I don’t think Andreas Gursky is afraid of Facebook.
The SXSW V2V was designed for entrepreneurs, but it offered a lot of useful lessons for photographers too.  Here is a shot from our panel.

The SXSW V2V was designed for entrepreneurs, but it offered a lot of useful lessons for photographers too. Here is a shot from our panel.

What not to do

  1. Do not fight with people…I like philosophy, I like discussing religion, I like people who enjoy an intelligent debate, but I don’t do it on Facebook.  If you’ve gotten on Facebook for photography, there is no debate to be had.  Post your picture and then post another.  I’ve seen the most absurd World War III outbursts on Facebook over nothing.  Argue in person because it’s easier to punch them if they are in front of you.  (just kidding, I do not condone that behavior either, most of the time )
  2. Do not worry about likes or friends.  They will happen the more you interact.  The comparison of “ohh they have 2,300 and I only have 300,” is not worth doing.  Grow at your own pace and when it gets large enough, don’t forget to use it as an asset.  I see people asking now for Youtube views and Facebook fans more than they care about where I went to school.  Good news if you did not go to school.
  3. Do not post more than 3 pictures at a time.  Each post shows up separately.  Lumping a set together, after you have published them individually is ok, but assume that most people will only look at the first image.  This applies too if you write articles.  I can’t tell you how many people comment who have clearly not read the article.  They read the title, form an opinion, and blurt out an comment.  How to handle this…skip.

What can Facebook do for you? 

  • Almost every gallery I have ever had dealings with is on Facebook and we use it in conjunction with email.
  • I have gotten some jobs from Facebook, but I’ve more often gotten soft introductions via Facebook.  I prefer them anyway, so it’s perfect.  They all led to work and follow up work because the clients continued to see other things I was up to which they found interesting.
  • Whether I like it or not, a professional page with a lot of likes impresses some people; heck it even used to impress me.  So building it was a good idea.
  • There are some great subgroups I’ve gotten involved with which I will write about tomorrow on Facebook.  Super nice photographic communities of like-minded people who enjoy sharing their images in a semi-curated fashion.
  • People outside of the US use Facebook more than email.  On the road, Facebook is one of the many messaging systems that keeps me in touch with friends abroad.
What lies on the other side of the social media doorway?  Chiang Mai, Thailand.  © Adam Marelli

What lies on the other side of the social media doorway? Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Adam Marelli


As a photographer, do you need Facebook?  No you don’t.  In fact, you don’t need a web page.  When I left art school, none of the successful artists I knew had a website.  So I thought, why would I need one?  The reason is that while good art remains generation after generation, the way it reaches its audience continues to evolve.  At one point, artists did not use books or portfolios.  They were considered tacky promotional tools for inept artists.  Now an artist’s monograph is almost as good as a museum show.  At the forefront of any technology exists the very best and the very worst of its offerings.  This will continue as the forms of communication change.   While you do not need to try all of the social media platforms, Facebook offers a scale and ease of operation that has its advantages.  Just be sure to find a way that works for you.

This is my personal page with all the good, bad, and embarrassing that come along with being human. © Adam Marelli

This is my personal page with all the good, bad, and embarrassing that come along with being human. © Adam Marelli

And because I would not ask you to do anything I would not do myself:

Adam Marelli Personal

Adam Marelli Photography


Best-Adam Marelli 

]]> 5
Social Media for Photographers: Instagram Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:30:26 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Social Media for Photographers

Social Media for the Anti-Social

Part 1: Instagram

Social Media for Photographers by Adam Marelli

Social Media for Photographers by Adam Marelli


Social media is like the “rap music” of the last decade.  Do you remember when rap music came out?  When rap first became main stream it felt like the Right Wing of everything grew an extra three feet.  Deemed “Not music” by most haters, the conversation quickly changed as social commentary, academics, and the even further right (who did not notice when it first came out) wanted rap music banned.  They said its lyrics were violent, its message was dangerous, and it would ruin the youth of tomorrow.  Well nearly four decades later…rap in all forms has not only grown, it’s flourished internationally and now rivals other vocations for the aspirations of children, as the phrase “I want to be president” fell out of favor for “I want to be a rapper.”  And why not? Jay-Z seems like he has a more lucrative and less stressful life than Obama.

But much in the way that rap music became a cultural force, so too has social media.  Platforms from Facebook to Snapchat are putting traditional media out of business and slowly positioning themselves well beyond websites for teenagers (remember MySpace?).  Social media is at the forefront of every major global event, good, bad and useless.  So what’s that got to do with photography?  Social media is an audience, in fact, it’s probably your audience.  So unless you are secretly archiving your work in the hopes of being the next “Vivian Maier”, it might not hurt to test the social waters of the internet.  And I, as an initial social media chicken, am here to ease your entry.

Do you feel like the odd one out when people talk about social media?  San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy. © Adam Marelli

Do you feel like the odd one out when people talk about social media? San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy. © Adam Marelli

What’s it do?

I ask everyone who comes to my workshops or takes my One on One programs if they:

  • Have a website? No big deal if you don’t.  It takes time to make and might be further down the line, but it’s definitely worth considering.
  • Are on Facebook?  Unless you work for the NSA, swore allegiance to a terrorist organization, or just hate people…then I’d really consider using some form of social media microblog to get your pictures out there.
  • Use any form of social media?  I agree Facebook is kind of annoying, its founder is less than inspiring, and if one more person invites me to play Candy Crush Saga I might lose it…but there are other options too. Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Linkedin, & Twitter just to name a few.


Social media platforms offer photographers a chance to interact with an audience broader than other forms of communication could possibly provide.  In fact, it is so large that it can even create the false impression that photographers who possess zero skill and negligible accomplishments are important, just because they show up frequently on the Internet.  Like all movements, social media contains some of the very best and some of the very worst the photography world has to offer.

Is the thought of using social media as confusing as trying to figure out another city's subway system?  © Adam Marelli

Is the thought of using social media as confusing as trying to figure out why Florence puts the cheesiest vendors in front of their greatest treasures? © Adam Marelli

Why use it?

Who do you take pictures for?  Is it just a personal hobby or do you nurture a secret desire to be recognized for your vision?  Not everyone wants international recognition, but it’s not uncommon to want to take part in the artistic conversation.  Remember that the French Post-Impressionist painter Cezanne did not sell a painting for the first forty years of his artistic life.  And while he was an infernal pain in the ass and so temperamental that every artist from Renoir to Degas noted Cezanne’s dinner party outbursts, he was part of an artistic conversation.  Commercial success and being part of art are not mutually exclusive.

Many of the impressionists and post-impressionists might have preferred Cezanne on Facebook instead of at their dinner tables.  They could have then at least watched his painting career without enduring his tantrums.  Social Media has some milder forms of interaction and Instagram is one of the best.

The cover shot from my instagram feed.  © Adam Marelli

The cover shot from my instagram feed. Yes, that is a roll of toilet paper in a German airport. © Adam Marelli


What do I love about Instagram?  It is a continuous feed of pictures, plain and simple.  I’m a visual person, I don’t like reading the news (it’s alarmist and depressing), and I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to.  Instagram is probably the most selectively curated group of people I follow.  Almost everyone I follow on Instagram I know personally.  And for that reason, I pay attention to the pictures.  Sure, there are a few wild cards in there, but when I want a smattering of anonymous pictures I head to Tumblr.  But more on that in article No 3.

Instagram’s format lets me mix business and pleasure.  I post everything from great wines shot on my iPhone to project pictures taken with my Leica’s.  It’s a casual stream where I don’t have to worry about link backs, traffic, or any of the other things that you really need to consider with some other forms of Internet publication.

Jeff Johnson's instagram feed.  © Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson’s instagram feed. © Jeff Johnson

How does it work

To sign up you go to Instagram’s site and join…it’s free, pick a name that makes sense.  Calling yourself something like, “iamdiddy” works if you are Sean “Puffy” Combs.  But if not, pick something that people might find, like your first and last name all in lowercase.  I use “adammarelli” which is easy enough to remember.

Then to use it, you can do one of two things…

  1. To upload images you can use your camera phone.  If you do not have one of those, chances are you are not reading blogs either, so I’m not too concerned.
  2. Or if you are loading images from Lightroom, they have an export option.  I actually export images as Jpegs and then dump them in a folder in iPhoto.
  3. To post, just follow the app instructions…they walk you through it.
What's a # hashtag.  Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. © Adam Marelli

What’s a #? Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. © Adam Marelli

What’s a hashtag? (it’s this thing (#))

  • User Friendly: If you open an account, think about it from another users end.  Why would they come to your feed?  Do you lead an interesting life, do you see amazing things, or are you a masterful curator of a subculture.  If so, help your feed along by using hashtags.
  • The Hashtag (#).  A German friend of mine said, “Why use hashtags, I don’t get it?”  I told her that hashtags are just like keywords.
  • If you post a picture of an elephant, you add at the bottom #elephant.  That way, someone who searches #elephant might come across your picture.  There are volumes written on keyword searches and hashtags, but you don’t need to be an expert to use them.
  • A Test…you take a picture of a gondola in Venice, Italy.  Post the picture without any hashtags.  Then post the same picture with these hashtags: #italy, #venice, #gondola, #ladolcevita, #boat, #dreamboat, #italia, #venezia  See what happens…my guess is the one with the hashtags will connect with more people, because people search those terms.
  • Finding Followers: Don’t panic about getting followers…Instagram is one of the least business oriented platforms out there.  I don’t buy things off of Instagram and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a stitch of business from it.  It’s both a plus and a minus, but more of a plus.
  • Make it neat.  Post pictures that are clean and straight forward.  Since everyone scrolls through their feeds quickly…Instagram can be a good exercise in simplicity.  If your pictures are too complicated, too abstract, or confusing, they will not read as well.  It’s a useful exercise.
  • Adding filters: I add filters mostly to my iPhone shots and not my Leica shots.  Why? My Leica images are already adjusted, iPhone images sometimes need a little boost.
  • How often to post:  Try to post regularly.  Don’t lose sleep over this, but throw a picture up every two or three days.  It will keep you producing and thinking about images, even when you are supposed to be doing the “other work” you do and remember that people want to see your pictures.
An Israeli architect friend of mine introduced me to "thefatjewish" instagram feed.  Whether to "attract or offend"?  This is one strategy for getting followers.  © thefatjewish

An Israeli architect friend of mine introduced me to “thefatjewish” instagram feed. Whether to “attract or offend”? This is one strategy for getting followers. © thefatjewish

What not to do

  1. Do not expect miracles.  Just because you joined an online world connected to a billion people, let’s not have a nervous breakdown if they don’t all flock to your feed.
  2. Avoid writing diatribes about anything.  Yes, the world is going to s*&%. We know.  And we go to Instagram because we are tired of seeing it on Facebook.  Leave Instagram for all the cool things that are going right in the world.  If you can fit in a few funny lines go for it, but Instagram works best for pictures that speak for themselves.  If they need lots of text, I’d go for Tumblr instead.
  3. Do not use Instagram when your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife is trying to talk to you.  It can be fatal (trust me!).
  4. Try not to over process the pictures. Instagram has built some fun effects into their app, but use them judiciously.  Sure, you can make a picture of a “white napkin at a diner” look like it just came out of Chernobyl, but why?  Think of added filters like the temperature control in the shower; too much to the left and it feels like Siberia, too much to the right and it feels like the emergency room…balance is key.
Their really long name translates to "My favorite hotel in Matera Italy.  Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita's instagram feed

Their really long name translates to “My favorite hotel in Matera Italy. Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita’s instagram feed

My Favorite Instagram Feeds

  • adammarelli: Here is a mix of my work, play, indulgences, and dream pieces.
  • standardedition:  My buddy Jamie is one of the most stylin’ guys I know.  Follow his worldy adventures and cocktail sessions.  You might catch the odd shot of me in the mix.
  • lapaz_pt:  Jose runs the Portugal based clothing company “La Paz”, inspired by fisherman and the ocean…two of my favorite things. It would be hard to mess this one up.
  • contemporarystandard:  Enrico is like Jamie’s counterpart, except that he hails from Verona Italy, has a longer beard, and smiles less (I love you guys.)
  • claudiomajorana:  Claudio is a Sicilian-based photographer doing great work inside of skateboarding communities (which is how I passed my time from age 10-20.  Skateboarding surpassed even women for me, until college happened.)
  • frickcollection:  Probably my favorite museum in New York City, and if they can get on Instagram, so can you.
  • the_explorers_club:  Still wondering what The Explorer’s Club is?  Only one way to find out. Plus they announce their public events here, so definitely worth following if you would like to crack the doors.
  • jimmy_chin:  National Geographic photographer, North Face athlete, has summited Everest and skied down it too, because walking down was just too easy.  Jimmy’s a great guy and shoots a wild collection of “on the edge” mountaineering and adventure work.
  • sextantiolegrottedellacivita:  Yes, it’s a long name, but it’s one of my favorite “cave” hotels in Italy.  Their spot in Matera hosts my workshop and I love checking up on Matera when I’m back home.
  • hodinkee:  The media gurus of the watch world…for those of you who wonder what blogs I read…it’s Hodinkee.  Ben, Stephen, Will, and co. keep my watch fascination bubbling over with daily content.
  • jeffjohnson_beyondandback:  When your last name is “smith” or “johnson”, you are bound to need a longer handle, but while his last name is common, the work is not.  Jeff is a Patagonia photographer, Leica shooter, surfer, and climber.  He has made an art out of the meandering lifestyle.  If your parents are on your case because you have no direction, just say you are “testing the early jeff johnson method.”  Great things will follow.
  • kishalady:  This Aussie transplant to NYC is sweet as a button and cool as a cucumber.
  • merzbschwanen:  Without Peter and Gitta, I’d be running around the world shirtless.
  • pilgrimsurfsupply:  Surfing, on the east coast?!  You bet ya!  My ocean life blood.
  • scottwitt:  While he keeps trying to convince me he’s not a guru over at Apple, Scott is also a pro photographer in hiding and a Leica shooter.
  • thewatchclub:  When you can buy vintage watches and shop with the boys in the Royal Arcade, give yourself a pat on the back because you are doing A-Okay.  From Patek to Mille to Roger Smith…they have things in their vault that Patek does not even remember they made.



Instagram might not make you famous but…it’s a fun way to keep your mind on images.  Focus and regularity are two wildly undervalued traits for any developing photographer.  Whether you are a photographer away from a day job or it is a life long passion you a following, give yourself an extra PR boost and try a little social media.  Like any adult beverage, a little bit can be fun, a lot-a-bit can be disastrous.  But we are all adults here right?  So have at it and see you on Instagram.

Best-Adam Marelli

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From Genres to Projects Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:28:19 +0000 adam [more...]]]> From Genres to Projects

A step most photographers never take

Project Development Seminar

New York City, USA

From Genre to Project.  A photography project seminar by Adam Marelli

From Genre to Project. A photography project seminar by Adam Marelli


From the first time we pick up a camera, we are all waiting for that first great picture.  It’s the moment when what you see, feel, and shoot, all line up into a picture that just knocks people off their feet.  It’s a moment that we all want and deserve.  Why?  Because artistic vision is built into all of us; if it wasn’t we would not have been born with eyes and the largest part of our brains would not be devoted to our sense of sight.

How do I make my own project © Adam Marelli

How do I make my own project? © Adam Marelli

From Genres to Projects

Do you have a website?  A Facebook page?  A way for people to enjoy your pictures?  If so, how is it split up?  Many photographers start out by dividing work one of two ways.


Landscape, Portrait, Street, Travel and the list goes on.  You have seen all of this, I’m sure.


  1. Splitting up your work by genre shows that you are thinking about the different types of images you are making; unfortunately the divisions are not specific to you.  They are dictated by long standing categories which don’t highlight your specific strengths.
  2.  There is really only one advantage, so this list ends.


  1. Type “Street Photography” into Google…you will see two things: Google is quality blind because most of the photographers that come up provide only Internet content and are far from the best that street photography has to offer, and…
  2. Your name is probably nowhere on the list. That is not a reflection of quality, but rather a function of the website.
  3. This list goes on and on and on and on and on…think about it and you will start to see what I mean.
Trace of a Lost Ceremony.  Locations are important, but I could have not made "Traces of a Lost Ceremony" without project development.  © Adam Marelli

Traces of a Lost Ceremony. Locations are important, but I could have not made “Traces of a Lost Ceremony” without project development. © Adam Marelli


Italy, Cuba, Tanzania, Spain, Japan, Thailand…It’s great that you are traveling with your photography and locations do help divide work up into specific regions, but…you might have images that are better linked by theme or better yet by Project, rather than location.


  1. Unlike genres, locations give viewers a better sense of what you shoot.  Landscape could mean anything from Death Valley to Siberia, but “Grand Canyon” says something location specific about your pictures.
  2. Location grouping usually means that you are not traveling mindlessly.  Rather it means that you are thoughtfully picking locations that you want to explore in greater depth.
  3. You are probably dreaming of bigger projects through your locations and that is a great thing too!


  1. Location grouping is the pitfall of stock travel photography.  While travel magazines are dying a slow death, there is no reason to jump onto a sinking ship.  If you went to Cuba to spend time with artisanal Rum makers, lumping the project under “Cuba” does not do your project any justice.
  2. Going to a place like “Tuscany” and calling it a location would be like spending a week with Ernest Hemingway and calling him “writer.”  The subject is infinitely more rich than a simple location can cover.  Dive into the meaning behind the trip.
  3. Exotic locations do not equal good pictures.  Too often people let the location do the heavy lifting…for example, if the local dress is weird enough and locals have bones through their noses, then the pictures must be interesting…right? WRONG.  At this point, National Geographic has made the exotic a lot less interesting.  The viewing world has become more discerning, and as a photographer you will need to work harder to make your images stand out.
Far off lands are a good start, but traveling to an exotic place will only guarantee you more  frequent flier miles, not a successful project. © Adam Marelli

Far off lands are a good start, but traveling to an exotic place will only guarantee you more
frequent flier miles, not a successful project. © Adam Marelli


Do you want your pictures to tell a story?  If so, you have to have a story to tell.  In photography, building projects is really where the fun begins.  I had a martial arts instructor who once said, “Being a black belt is not the goal, it’s where the fun actually begins.  Getting to the black belt just means you learned all the basics.”


  1. At the forefront of any project are your ideas, your view of the world, and your way of putting it all together into a seamless body of work.
  2. Projects attract more attention than any single image…because it is that comprehensive look at a topic that editors, curators, publishers, and gallerists all look for.
  3. Developing a project from start to finish is like taking the excitement of the single best image you have ever made and compounding it tenfold.  There is nothing more gratifying than exploring something from start to finish.  In the end, you learn more about the story, the world and yourself than is ever possible with a single image.


  1. It requires some planning and thought.  Projects don’t pop out of nowhere, they develop over time.
  2. The more you put in, the more you get out.  This can be a con, but also a pro depending on how you approach it.
  3. Your friends will wonder why your work is taking off and theirs is not.  Don’t worry, you can share your lessons with them too.
Patience + Planning = Success

Patience + Planning = Success © Adam Marelli

How to Work on your Project

Building a project is like building a brand.  People want to know who you are, what you do, why it’s special and why they should buy into it.  This is something that everyone from Cartier-Bresson to Nike struggled with over the years.  But all the successful photographers I’ve ever met know why their work stands out.

This is why I created the Project Development Seminars. I want to have a small group discussion where we can do three things:

  1. Explore case studies of artists and photographers to discover how they found their voice and success through their projects.  From Caravaggio to Eugene Smith…everyone had a clear vision of what set them apart.
  2. In workshops we spend a lot of time shooting, but in these seminars we can put the cameras down, leave all of the gear-envy outside, and look at how/why we make pictures.
  3. I also wanted to put myself under the microscope to share my process with a small group of photographers in a personal setting.


Why have a photography seminar with no cameras?

While it might seem crazy to have a photography seminar without a camera, there is a reason for this…the biggest obstacles most photographers face have nothing to do with operating a camera.  They have to do with how they think about their work.  And in order to solve these problems and create successful projects, it’s best to use a mentor and a community.  A friend of mine, Jimmy Chin (National Geographic photographer and North Face Athlete who has summited and skied down Mt. Everest) said “One hour with a mentor can save you thirty hours of research on your own.”

Upcoming Project Development Dates and Locations

Sign Up Here

If you would like to sign up, escape genres and start shooting projects, email me at

See you there!

Best-Adam Marelli


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Bellerby & Co. Globemakers Workshop Shoot Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:05:11 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Bellerby & Co. Globemakers

Adam Marelli Workshop Shoot


Bellerby & Co. Globemakers "The Workshop Shoot". © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers “The Workshop Shoot”. © Steve Richards

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.

Peter Bellerby. © Michelle Leung

Peter Bellerby. © Michelle Leung

Peter Bellerby and Adam Marelli.  © Steve Richards

Peter Bellerby and Adam Marelli. © Steve Richards

Peter Bellerby. © Michelle Leung

Peter Bellerby. © Michelle Leung

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards


Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

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.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Steve Richards

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers © Adam Marelli


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, 2 spaces left
  • Venice / Verona [ ITALY], September 30th – October 3rd, 1 space left
  • 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, 3 spaces left


Best-Adam Marelli


ps: all of my images were made with a Leica M240 on loan from the folks at Leica Miami.  

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How to Scout a Picture Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:33:01 +0000 adam [more...]]]> How to Scout a Picture

Berlin Workshop

Cafe Window

How to scout a picture.  Words and Images by Adam Marelli

How to Scout a Picture. Words and Images by Adam Marelli Leica M240

What’s the Rush?

It could be said that we live in the “Age of Hurry,” where our inbox is the boss.  Technology seems to be hunting down our free time and killing it one email at a time.  Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, we are more connected to our jobs, our friends, and the world at large than we used to be.  This connection makes it harder to unplug our devices, step off line, and look around the streets without feeling the buzz of a phone in our pockets.

Baci fun in Berlin.  © Adam Marelli

Baci fun in the Berlin Workshop. © Adam Marelli, Leica M240

Don’t Miss Anything

There is an urge when you travel to a place and feel like you need to fit it all in.  It has happened to me before.  The feeling pervades the entire trip.  You are up early, out late, and clocking in more transit hours than a full week of commuting to work.  How do you know if this is happening to you?

1.  You travel companions will start to look very tired.

2.  You will focus on “what’s next” more than what’s right in front of you. 

3.  By the end of the day you still can’t figure out where all the good shots went.

It is a common sentiment in travel and photography workshops because we take time from our lives to get in as much fun as possible in the shortest amount of time.  It should come as no surprise that photography can’t be rushed or broken into a tour itinerary.

Much of this urge is linked to the way we travel.  In contrast to the ancient Romans, who averaged a holiday once every three days, the global workforce is allotted a few weeks off a year to satisfy all of their urges to detox, unwind, and explore the world.  It is, simply put, not enough time to even get warmed up.  I am reminded of this fact every time I read a book about exploration.  Prior to the 1950’s there was not a project that could be measured in weeks.  In most cases, trips were calculated in months or years.  But with the influx of internet travel, relatively functioning airports across the globe, and a global stability, there are more people moving around the world now than there have been in the accumulated history of humanity.  But just because we are traveling, doesn’t mean we are traveling well.

The essentials.  © Adam Marelli

The essentials. Berlin Workshop © Adam Marelli, Leica M240

Learning from my mistakes

In previous articles, I’ve mentioned that patience is a skill worth practicing.  In fact, as I teach more and more workshops, I’m realizing that the vast majority of obstacles that photographers encounter have more to do with a strategy than understanding the rules of composition.  Photography is a patience game.  It takes hours, often days to get 1/500th of a second that solidifies a moment.  If we are constantly on the move, it reduces our odds of understanding a scene in visual terms because the obsession with “what’s next” keeps our minds in the future rather than in the present.

Leisure is a learned art. Berlin Workshop  © Adam Marelli

Leisure is a learned art. Berlin Workshop © Adam Marelli, Leica M240

A simple strategy

Back in my days in construction, my mentor, Mark Ellison, said that, “People thought I was a genius because I had the answers to their questions.  In reality, I had already made their mistakes, so it was easier to see the outcome before they took a single step.”

This is one of the most humble views I have ever heard on acquiring experience, patience, and composure.  And I will fully admit that it was a piece of advice that I did not immediately put into practice.  I used to run around with a camera 24/7, making everyone around me insane because I wanted to capture it all.  But in the end I had hardly scratched the surface.  So what did I change?

Close call.  Berlin Workshop.  © Adam Marelli, Leica M240

Close call. Berlin Workshop. © Adam Marelli, Leica M240

I surrendered to the idea that I can’t capture it all.  And my attempts were ultimately a waste of time, effort, and energy that could have been more selectively placed.  Here are three things I changed that have forever improved the quality of my images and the quality of my life.  And like the Buddha said, don’t take the advice of any book or person without trying it yourself.  Here is what I changed:

Leave the camera at home.  Anytime I travel to a city, I leave the camera at the hotel.  It could be 24 hours to 3 days depending on the place.  I look, I watch, and I enjoy the pace of the city with pictures in mind, but by leaving the camera in a bag I am forced to use only my eyes.  I’ve experimented in some locations and not even taken a shot, but there seems to be a sweet spot between 24-48 hours where your eyes adjust to a new place and afterwards the urge to shoot it all subsides.

Talk first, shoot later.  Street photographers across the globe show up with guns blazing.  This trend of shoot first, flash out, Bruce Gilden style of shooting is and always will be a complete waste of time.  It’s never yielded a picture of real significance, it’s an awful way to interface with the world, and it only perpetuates a superficial understanding of a city and its people.

First impressions are fun, sometimes quirky and occasionally in the ball park, but the world is a wonderfully complex place that cannot be understood by jumping in front of some poor pedestrian and popping a shot in their face.  Give yourself and your camera time to meet a few people, have a few conversations, and then slowly start clicking once you can feel the pulse of a place.  You may find it takes weeks or even years for a place to reveal itself, but it’s worth the wait.

F*&K Bucket Lists.  Why? Because they destroy the way people experience a place by building false expectations created from other people’s experiences and by putting checkboxes on life.  Traveling to a place once is like going on one date and expecting it to fulfill you.  The world can be your muse and its many cities your lovers, but you need to spend time in a place to get to know it.  Bucket lists foster the idea that doing something once will be enough.  Go back to the same place and watch it develop.  It might only mean that you come back tomorrow.

Even before I filled my entire passport with stamps it became clear to me that traveling to the same place a number of times was the only way to make sense of it…at least in picture form.  Every time I return to Sakai City or Matera I find a rich layer of experience that was inaccessible the last time I was there.  Give yourself time to enjoy a place and the luxury to return.

A great stage for a photo waiting to happen.  Berlin Workshop. © Adam Marelli, iPhone.

A great stage for a photo waiting to happen. Berlin Workshop. © Adam Marelli, iPhone.

Café Sofa

On our first day in Berlin, a friend of my girlfriend took us around for a Turkish meal in Kreuzberg and an espresso at one of her favorite cafés.  We were dealing with jetlag and a laid back Berlin café is the perfect way to ease into the city.

In the back of the shop there was a delightful sitting room.  Once I saw the setup I thought, there should be a shot here.  I took my cellphone and snapped a shot because I wanted to try something new with the workshop.  The goal was to put my money where my mouth was and show the workshop the empty shot first.

When we returned a few days later, I told everyone…the shot is in the back.  Go see what you find.  Low and behold the Photo Gods had given everyone a photograph.  There were two girls, lounging on the sofa, in good light…It captured the laid back bohemian Berlin that we would enjoy for the rest of our time there and I can’t wait to go back next year.

My coverage of the rare and endangered species of humans who still use paper books.  Berlin Workshop.  © Adam Marelli, Leica M240.

My coverage of the rare and endangered species of humans who still use paper books. Berlin Workshop. © Adam Marelli, Leica M240.


Ultimately, there is no right way to travel.  There are many reasons that get us out the door in the morning.  Some we do because we have to, others we do because we love to.  But when we have the time to enjoy the pace of life at home or abroad, it takes a bit of effort to put the phone on silent, leave the camera in the bag, and let the world massage our eyes with its many riches.  Otherwise, the list of daily concerns that leaves us in blinders is too long to fit in a single article, but I’m sure you have experienced them before.  So next time you visit a new place, make a point to return.  See what happens when the rush of photography is replaced with the luxury of time.

How has technology affected the way you travel, take pictures, and relax, both good and bad?

And a special thank you to David Farkas at Leica Miami for the Leica M240 I shot in Berlin and London.

Best-Adam Marelli

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The Summer Line Up Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:41:58 +0000 adam [more...]]]> The Summer Line Up

Linen + Leicas

Adam in action Marjolein Lich during the Matera Workshop. © Marjolein Lich

Adam in action Marjolein Lich during the Matera Workshop. © Marjolein Lich


It feels like ages since I’ve been in the studio.  The last two months feel like a blur.  Thank god there were a few cameras to capture evidence of my travels.  It’s been exciting, tiring, and fulfilling all at the same time.  In fact, I’m not even sure where to begin.  The list of upcoming events, programs, and reviews looks outstanding, so as my jetlag wears off, I’d like to give a brief layout of what you can expect for the summer here at Adam Marelli Workshops.

Three Island BBQ at The Explorer's Club.

Three Island BBQ at The Explorer’s Club.


When I think of summer time, especially on the east coast, there are a few things that come to mind.  BBQ’s, frosted drinks and outfits unfit for any other occasion make an appearance in the months of July and August.  Whether your summer costume consists of tropical patterns or fine Irish linen, the warm weather is a welcome blessing after our endless winter.  To start, you can find me at the Explorer’s Club this thursday for a Kon-Tiki-themed party where ‘The less you wear the better.”  It will be a good kick off to the warm months, as I dust off the surfboard, put away the sweaters and swap them for wetsuits.

Details Here: The Three Island BBQ

Leica Soho Opening festivities.  © John Marelli

Leica Soho Opening festivities. © John Marelli

Then on Friday, I will be speaking at Leica SoHo as a follow up to my opening last month.  We had a great turnout and honestly, it was impossible to get into the stories behind the pictures in one night.  For this reason we are having another evening to talk about how and why the project came about.  If you are into travel stories or would just like to pick my brain on how you can plan your next project, rsvp at to join us from 5-7pm (or at least until the Japanese whiskey runs out)

V2V panel discussion "Fear, the other F word" with Adam Marelli, Helen Todd, Jey Van Sharp, and Jim Hopkinson.

V2V panel discussion “Fear, the other F word” with Adam Marelli, Helen Todd, Jey Van Sharp, and Jim Hopkinson.

Vegas Baby!

Last year marked the first time that Helen Todd, who runs Leica’s social media, invited me to speak at SXSW’s V2V conference in Las Vegas.  For those of you who are not familiar with V2V, it is an offshoot of the already popular SXSW, focused on Creativity & Entrepreneurship.  I guess we behaved ourselves well enough last year and were invited back for round two.  We will be presenting a talk on “Fear, the other F Word.”

Throughout the year and particularly in the workshops, I meet a lot of talented people who are too shy, a little unsure, and filled with more doubt than confidence.  I’d like to think that beyond setting an example that you can write your own story, that we all make ourselves available to encourage people to pursue the things they love.  Even if it seems scary to give up a stable position or dive into a creative career, we believe it’s possible and we’d like to see you do it too!  We will be in Las Vegas from Sunday July 13-Thursday July 16 and maybe we will see some of you there.

"All in the Journey." Matera, Italy.  © Adam Marelli taken with a Leica M240 and 35mm f-2.0 Summicron.

“All in the Journey.” Matera, Italy. © Adam Marelli taken with a Leica M240 and 35mm f-2.0 Summicron.


Leica 240 Review

As most of you already know, I’m not much of a gearhead.  Usually I head out with a single camera body and maybe an extra lens.  But over the last two months, I’ve been shooting a Leica 240, compliments of Leica Miami, and will be collecting my thoughts on the upgrades from the M9 and Monochrom.  This will be a review from the user’s end.  There are no scientific studies or ISO comparisons, but I have firmed up my opinions on the future of the M system and while the 240 is not perfect, I like the direction things are going.  (Most of the pictures in this post are shot with the 240.)

Leica T in black...this would be my preferred model.

Leica T in black…this would be my preferred model.

Leica T

In August, I will be taking my only “non-photo vacation” to Sardegna.  The southern end of the island, which I started going to a few years back, is a great place to relax, drink some great Vermentino’s and leave the camera in the house.  BUT this year, Leica wanted me to test drive the new Leica T as a travel-only camera, and why not?  It should be great.  So look for the images and and review in the middle of September.

The 7th Dog by Danny Lyon produced by Phaidon Press.

The 7th Dog by Danny Lyon produced by Phaidon Press.

Book Review: The 7th Dog by Danny Lyon

Phaidon just sent me a copy of Danny Lyon’s new book called “The 7th Dog.”  In short, Danny says it’s the story of his life and after a quick view, I can say that’s an understatement.  For those of you who have read my other articles on Danny, you know that I appreciate Danny’s pioneering spirit.  He lives the life he shoots and it makes all the difference.

Along with the images, Danny is an exceptional writer and the book is not to be missed.  Phaidon always does a stellar job with these stories and I will dive into the book more fully, because all too often I meet photographers who want to know…”What should I do next?”  While Danny might not answer all of your questions, he will definitely give you a few options to guide you along the way.”

Moving from darkness to light.  Florence Workshop, taken with Leica M240 and 35mm f/2.0 Summicron © Adam Marelli

Moving from darkness to light. Florence Workshop, taken with Leica M240 and 35mm f/2.0 Summicron © Adam Marelli

Leica Blog Interview No. 5

A few months ago the folks at Leica Meet had an event at Leica SoHo.  I made it down in the afternoon to see some old friends and a few new faces.  They are a great collective started by Olaf Willoughby and Eileen McCarney Muldoon.  Very much in line with Art Photo Feature out of India, they are a mix of professional and non-professional Leica shooters who are passionate about making images.  They asked me to talk about project development and more specifically, what to do when things don’t feel like they are coming together.  The final article will look at a bunch of the pictures I’ve made while traveling through Italy, Germany, and England in the last two months.  The camera truly has been my sketch book.  Look for the interview in the late summer and in case you missed the other interviews have a look here.


Thats all for now, I am happy to be back and look forward to hearing from all of you!

Adam Marelli Instagram Feed

Adam Marelli Instagram Feed

And if you would like to follow some of the summer happenings, check out my Instagram feed at adammarelli.

Best-Adam Marelli 


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Collector’s Night at Leica SoHo Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:47:17 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Collector’s Night

Traces of a Lost Ceremony

Leica SoHo

"Traces of a Lost Ceremony" by Adam Marelli, opening at Leica SoHo Thursday May 8, 2014.

“Traces of a Lost Ceremony” by Adam Marelli, opening at Leica SoHo Thursday May 8, 2014.


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.

Adam Marelli & John Marelli. © John Marelli

Adam Marelli & John Marelli. © John Marelli

Misaki Matsui, Adam Marelli & David Verdini. © John Marelli

Misaki Matsui, Adam Marelli & David Verdini. © John Marelli

Leanne Staples, Adam Marelli, & Elisa Rojas. © John Marelli

Leanne Staples, Adam Marelli, & Elisa Rojas. © John Marelli

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.

Yuna Jang and Stacy Berman.  © John Marelli

Yuna Jang and Stacy Berman. © John Marelli

The Leica Team, Kelsey Fain, Jim Wagner, and Biana Backman. © John Marelli

The Leica Team, Kelsey Fain, Jim Wagner, and Biana Backman. © John Marelli

Nagisa Buchanan & Ayako Mochimaru. © John Marelli

Nagisa Buchanan & Ayako Mochimaru. © John Marelli

Stacy Berman, Felipe Jordao, and Spyro Zarifopoulos.  © John Marelli

Stacy Berman, Felipe Jordao, and Spyro Zarifopoulos. © John Marelli

Steven Swain, Adam Marelli, Marc Babej, and I, drawing a blank.  © John Marelli

Steven Swain, Adam Marelli, Marc Babej, and drawing a blank. © John Marelli

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.

Claudio Majorana, Adam Marelli, Grazia Peri, and Matthew Miller.  © John Marelli

Claudio Majorana, Adam Marelli, Grazia Peri, and Matthew Miller. © John Marelli

Master of the Universe Robin Kent and Rachelle Kent.  © John Marelli

Master of the Universe Robin Kent and Rachelle Kent. © John Marelli

James Panepinto & his girlfriend. © John Marelli

James Panepinto & his girlfriend. © John Marelli

Adam Marelli & Felipe Jordao.  © John Marelli

Adam Marelli & Felipe Jordao. © John Marelli

Leica Soho Opening festivities.  © John Marelli

Leica Soho Opening festivities. © John Marelli

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.

Renee Bunnell, Adam Marelli & Jason Pitsch © John Marelli

Renee Bunnell, Adam Marelli & Jason Pitsch © John Marelli

Matthew MIller, Ian Phillip, and Adam Marelli.  © John Marelli

Matthew Miller, Ian Phillip, and Adam Marelli. © John Marelli

Amy Weng & friends. © John Marelli

Amy Weng & friends. © John Marelli

Adam Marelli, Winston Peters, Jey Van Sharp, and Matthew Miller.  © John Marelli

Adam Marelli, Winston Peters, Jey Van Sharp, and Matthew Miller. © John Marelli

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.

Silent Marriage. Uji, Japan. Adam Marelli

Silent Marriage. Uji, Japan. Adam Marelli

If you are interested in purchasing prints, you can see an inventory of all of the images on my portfolio site here:

“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:


Date: Friday June 27th, 2014

Time: 5pm-7pm

Location: Leica SoHo 46o West Broadway (between Prince St. and Houston St.)

RSVP to:

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!

Best-Adam Marelli 

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Leica T System Fri, 02 May 2014 17:03:56 +0000 adam [more...]]]> Leica T System

German Humor



Leica T Aluminum block.

Leica T Aluminum block.


As a frequent traveller, I have developed expectations of different countries around the globe.  Every country has its strengths and weaknesses.  Germany is no exception.  They are known for the relentless pursuit of precision, delicious beer, mediocre cuisine, and a sense of humor that will leave you scratching your head saying, “THAT was the punchline?!”

There are a lot of things we can count on our German friends for…they are punctual in arrival, direct when they speak and phenomenal in their production.  From cars to watches to cameras, the Germans know how to build things well.  But they have not quite captivated the world with their sense of humor, until now.  Whoever says that Germans have no sense of humor has obviously not seen their recent video for the Leica T.

Who watches Conceptual Art 

When Leica announced the Leica T with an image of a solid block of aluminum, they seemed to be making a statement about the physical production of a camera body of strength and precision.  The ironic thing is that the body is rarely the selling point of a camera.  Over the last century camera bodies have been made out of everything from waxed paper to titanium.  A good camera body is, in effect, one you don’t notice.  It should sit in the background in a supporting role to the fluid mechanics, glass, or electronics of a camera.  If you notice the body, something has usually gone wrong.  Whether it’s the heavy case of a Nikon D, the plastic feel of a compact camera, or the near idiotic covering of the Hasselblad Lunars, when it comes to bodies they should feel good in the hand and express a balance between strength and weight.

Leica T-System

Leica T-System

Perfect to the point of absurd

The opening announcement in the new Leica video is bold and dare I say inaccurate.  The narrator says, “THIS is the most boring video ever…”  Well Leica has obviously not seen the art world in the last 50 years.  If you want to witness the far ends of absurdity, let me introduce you to the art world.  A few years ago I watched an “artist” cast her own foot into a bucket of concrete.  She proceeded to spend over an hour hammering it out, whimpering in pain and exhaustion because she failed to realize the properties of concrete.

One, concrete possesses lyme which will burn your skin and give you a week long rash that will make you feel as if your leg had sex with a port-hopping sailor.  Secondly, properly mixed concrete will transfer the vibrating force of a hammer right through to your foot.  So every hammer blow to break the concrete will feel like you are hammering your own foot.  So, much to the surprise of this video/conceptual artist, the process of breaking her foot out of the concrete was as painful for her as it was for me to watch this spectacle.  In hindsight I can safely say that I may never see a film so boring or so absurd in my life….Leica don’t worry, you produced a slow film, but it’s definitely not the most boring film ever.

Leica T Silver detail.

Leica T Silver detail.

Are you still watching

In the new forty five minute long film by Leica, the narrator taunts us by asking, “Are you still watching?”  All the while, a Leica technician is hand-sanding the body of a new Leica T.  If you skip ahead in the video, you only discover more sanding…in fact it never really stops until we reach the end of the video.  This is, in my opinion, a hysterical joke on the part of, and one of the reasons why I love the folks at Leica.  What is going on here?

Leica has a handmade history.  The do it yourself approach of Oskar Barnak put 35mm film on the global map.  Born in an era when “handmade” was the best that could be, Leica has been carrying this banner around since 1849.  Quality products are their greatest strength and have also nearly bankrupted them on a number of occasions.  They remain dedicated to this type of production, even at the near loss of the company, which is admirable.

With the release of the T, Leica could have given us a video with more slow motion rotating camera shots backed by Magnum Photographs with all the weight of a Wagner opera and a brochure written by Nietzsche.  That approach would be expected.  What I was not counting on was Leica to poke fun at their own seriousness.

The Leica T System and compatible lenses.

The Leica T System and compatible lenses.

Ultimately, I think this was an interesting decision for a few reasons:

  1. Leica has acknowledged the absurdity of their finishing.  It’s great, it’s high end, it’s time consuming, but when you look at it, in real time, with a narrator just waiting for you to give up…it’s down right hilarious.  Who is more mental, them for filming it or us for watching?  (we are a collective of photographic mental patients fixed on ludicrous details that are completely nonsensical, but that does not keep us from loving every minute of it.)
  2. They have come out with a camera that’s selling point is the body, arguably the least important part of the camera.  Name me the last time that the magnesium mix of a camera body was the “dealbreaker”.  While most of the photographic forums will rail on Leica for their outdated sensors, high price tags and Japanese collaborated lenses, they have opted to market the camera based on its body…if this doesn’t have you laughing at the computer, you might be German.
  3. Lastly, Leica has shown us that they have a sense of humor.  They are not just these German glass wizards seducing the bank accounts of photographers around the world.  They understand that aside from producing unique (and sometimes archaic) digital products they have the ability to say, “Come on guys, you wanted quality, so here it is!  Isn’t it boring!”
Leica T in black...this would be my preferred model.

Leica T in black…this would be my preferred model.


There is a difficult balance between the pursuit of perfection and turning refinement into a mental disorder.  The line is not always clear and there are plus sides to both dysfunctions.  But in the end, whether we are camera makers, picture makers, or image consumers, we should be able to look at ourselves and laugh.  We humans do some pretty silly things and no matter how meaningful they may be, it does not hurt to look at them and smile.

For a different take on the Leica T, I will be using one during my workshop in Florence with David Farkas, so I will put my serious face back on and let you guys know what I think of the new Leica T in a few weeks.

Read David Farkas’s Leica T review here: 


Best-Adam Marelli 

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