Adam Marelli Photo http://www.adammarelliphoto.com Now Boarding Leica Air . . . Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:25:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Harry Benz Camera Strap: The B Strap http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/harry-benz-camera-strap-the-b-strap/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/harry-benz-camera-strap-the-b-strap/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 00:12:56 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6655 [more...]]]> Harry Benz B Strap

Simple Solution for an age old problem 

Toronto Canada

 

Harry Benz B Strap with Slow Tools Bag © Adam Marelli

Harry Benz B Strap with Slow Tools Bag © Adam Marelli

Start from scratch

While most of the photography world wants to sell you on technology and features, Toronto based designer Harald Benz is taking a different approach.  He is ok with camera companies duking it out over high ISO performance and cameras with more buttons than a nuclear reactor.  As each year elapses, photographers are no longer asking for more, they want less.  Less complications, less kinks and less things to go wrong.

Born out of his own desire for a better camera strap, Harry Benz set out to solve a few design problems that get in the way of your photography.  His aim was to create a camera strap that does its job so well, it goes almost unnoticed.

The straps come in boxes which are individually stamped and signed by Harry.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

The straps come in boxes which are individually stamped and signed by Harry. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

What did he fix

Comedian George Carlin once complained that it was impossible for something to be “New and Improved.”  He said it had to be one or the other…well in this case the idea is not exactly new…camera straps have been around as long as cameras, but it is certainly improved.  There were four major design faults that Harry wanted to improve:

Harry designed a cleaner connection to the body of the camera by eliminating the dog ears.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Harry designed a cleaner connection to the body of the camera by eliminating the dog ears. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Dog Ears: In order to keep rings on a strap from scratching the camera, many companies use little flaps of leather called Dog Ears.  Over time the thin pieces of leather tend to fold over, sometimes the rip and look, untidy as Harry put it.  His goal was to eliminate the dog ears so there were no extra pieces on the strap and the rings would not scratch the camera.  His solution is a tapered piece of leather, hand stitched through the strap.  It creates a solid connection that will not fail over time.

The thickness of the strap eliminates the need for a shoulder strap.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

The thickness of the strap eliminates the need for a shoulder strap. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Shoulder Strap: The idea of a shoulder strap is nice, but the delivery leaves something to be desired.  Thin straps need a pad in order to wear comfortably over your shoulder.  Harry wanted to make a strap that was comfortable to wear over the shoulder without a pad.  By selecting a heavy water buffalo, the strap wears well with no additional padding.  By eliminating the strap, it can be easily wrapped around your wrist while you shoot.

Some of his early customers said, “But what if I want a shoulder pad?”  

He said, “Try it for two weeks, if you want one, I will make it.”

No one has come back for a shoulder pad.

Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Split Rings: Selecting a split ring for a strap is not as easy as “getting the best one out there.”  Very strong, heavy duty split rings require pliers to open.  There is a balance between a good metal properties and too difficult to use with your fingers.  Harry feels confident that his selection of stainless steel split rings strike a happy balance.  (Ask photographer Brigit Krippner, whose silk strap recently gave way at the ring and sent it crashing to the sidewalk in Brooklyn.  Leica’s look cool with wear, but not with a huge chunk missing from the body and a rangefinder mechanism that now needs servicing)

By offering the strap in custom lengths it will always fit you perfectly.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

By offering the strap in custom lengths it will always fit you perfectly. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Water Buffalo Leather:  When Harry first explained the leather, he made special emphasis that it was water buffalo leather.    There are other options like Shell Cordovan or cow leather, but he did not feel it was right for a camera strap. Those leathers are soft and pliable, which works well for dress shoes and fine leather goods.  They also have a soft underside that can feel like molting toilet paper over time.

Harry has experience also making leather watch straps for Panerai and other brands, and he said that water buffalo is too tough for a watch strap, but it does not stretch nearly as much as other leathers and found that it held up best over time.

Custom Lengths:  We all come in different sizes which is why the straps can be cut to custom lengths.  For me, I like a strap to be short because I normally wrap it around my wrist.  When I need to put it across my chest, I like the strap to sit high, just under my arm.  But my strap length would not work for everyone.  Harry is sensitive to this and will cut it to any length you would like.

On location in Kyoto at a private temple and master plasterers.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

On location in Kyoto at a private temple and master plasterers. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

From Sardegana to Kyoto

Harry asked me if I would try two of his straps and write a review.  I was on my way to Sardegna and four months later, I would be coming back from Japan.  The travels seemed like the perfect opportunity to see how well the B-Strap would do in my regular shooting conditions.  The strap went to the coastal towns of Sardegna, bell makers workshops in Japan and about 12,000 miles in between.  The strap became softer with use and worked so well, I almost forgot it was a new item.  The whereabouts of the other strap will be revealed in another article. Let’s say for now, that it has a proud new owner based in Luxembourg because I like to share with my follow photographers.

The wrist wrap as I normally carry the camera.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

The wrist wrap as I normally carry the camera. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

Who is this strap designed for

When picking any product, its helpful to understand who it is designed for because the perfect maternity dress is not going to do you any good, if you need a tuxedo.  The B Strap is for a photographer who enjoys the classics over fads, prefers to tell the bartender which gin to use in a G&T, and likes to pay a little more to avoid the hassles of a crowd while traveling.  This is the discerning client that Harry had in mind while he built this strap.

The box which will arrive at your home.  Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

The box which will arrive at your home. Harry Benz B Strap © Adam Marelli

As an added touch, Harry put is art direction background to use for the design of the box.  Each box is hand stamped and filled out by Harry himself.  If you would like to check out the B Strap and some of Harry’s other strap offerings, you can visit him here, http://www.harrybenz.com

And you can read additional reviews on:

http://lavidaleica.com/content/harry-benz-camera-straps

http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2014/10/jch-product-review-urushi-camera-straps/

http://stinnphotography.ca/blog/essays/2014/10/harry-benz-the-b-extended-strap/

Best-Adam Marelli

 

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Venice, through the eyes of a Writer, Mirsada Hadzic http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/venice-through-the-eyes-of-a-writer-mirsada-hadzic/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/venice-through-the-eyes-of-a-writer-mirsada-hadzic/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:10:40 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6639 [more...]]]> Venice, through the eyes of a Writer

–Mirsada Hadzic

Until you meet again…

 

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Adam’s Note

How can an experience be summarized in a single medium?  Whether it is the typewriter of Ernest Hemingway or the camera of Robert Capa…the feel of a city like Venice is difficult to capture in one medium.   No one has done it “best.”  Writers and photographers constantly look to each other for inspiration, even if they are not willing to admit it.  Why don’t they admit it?  Because inside of every image or every sentence lies a strength and a weakness.  There are some mediums that work better than others, but the balance of writing and photography is a scale that tips back and forth everyday.

Today, we will shift gears slightly and follow a writer’s of Venice.  Over the last two years, I have followed the musing of Mirsada Hadzic on Facebook and Instagram.   Through her words and small shots of Venice, she captures a sense of the city that is undeniable.  Aside from the regular heavy hitters of literature that have worked their way through Venice, I enjoy the delicate way that Mirsada responds to the city on a level that shows her ability to feel out the details and get a sense of place that many photographers struggle to achieve.  Hopefully this detour into the “World of Words” guides us one step closer to the moments that make a trip feel so intense.  Because there is nothing more reassuring than reading the words of a perfect stranger who is saying exactly what you feel.  Join me in welcoming the very shy and wonderfully talented Mirsada as she gives us a glimpse of her private love affair with Venice.  

–Adam Marelli

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Until you meet again

It’s like the poet once said:“Only the images have long memory. Words tend to change their order.” All my attempts to write about Venice were futile. Images spoke louder. But when it comes to love, you need them both. Words and images. Falling in love with Venice changed my life. It changed me on the molecular level. Mixed my blood with sea water and my bones with stone and wood. Filled my eyes with liquid light. Something waited for me there. It summoned me. Hidden in a secret Morse code of words. Disguised in books. Present in a taste of wine. It’s impossible to explain love.

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

That is not question of reason, but of heart. And the heart is a stubborn and quiet when you need it to speak it’s mind. Still, it has one capital weakness, and that’s beauty. Beauty of a darkening sky, silver water, silent walls, secret gardens…Venice is a mystery. No matter how close you get it doesn’t reveal anything…at first. But, than, slowly, you find it’s traces in a winter sky, on the bottom of a wine glass, in a verse of a poem…rhymes of an hour. And then you want to see it again. You missed something that first time, and now you’ll listen more carefully, walk slowely, talk quitely and it won’t slip away. But it does. It’s in her nature to allure and seduce…but to remain a closed book. It’s almost impossible not to come back.

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

We were never strangers, Venice and I. I guess I’ve been there before. With Corto Maltese, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Marco Polo. I learned from them. How to listen, where to look, how to drink…They just couldn’t teach me not to miss it once I leave. And all the time I spent there all I wanted to do is to keep the streets empty for myself. I wanted to see it’s beauty without witnesses. I thought of Corto Maltese who travelled the world but always kept coming back to Venice. His sadness walked the streets by my side. Beautiful sadness. It remained in the corner of my eye. Never quite visible, but present. I saw it’s glimpse on the smooth black surface of gondola passing by under the stone bridge. One blink of an eye and it’s gone. Gondola on it’s way to sleep. But not the sadness. She remains awake.

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

Venice © Mirsada Hadzic

And story of bridges…their impossible beauty. The way they take you deeper and deeper, across the streets covered with stone. And you wonder how it’s even possible that it’s still there. Against the laws of physics. Drowned world. Prisoner of water, but still a mistress. Equal to the sun. Made of illusions, dreams, sea water, stone, wood, words, lace…and like all beautiful things it can’t be defined. Once you walk into a secret, you can’t ever escape it’s magic. Lullaby of chandeliers behind iron gates and silver windows. Quiet lives of strangers. Nocturnal beauty of a moment of surrender. And you know you’ll wait. Untill you meet again.

–Mirsada Hadzic

If you would like to follow more of Mirsada’s moments in Venice, find here Instagram feed here:
http://instagram.com/buba_erdeljan269 

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Kyoto Genius Table with Adam Marelli hosted by Leica Kyoto http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/kyoto-genius-table-with-adam-marelli-hosted-by-leica-kyoto/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/11/kyoto-genius-table-with-adam-marelli-hosted-by-leica-kyoto/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:15:50 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6630 [more...]]]> Kyoto Genius Table featuring Adam Marelli

Go-On x Kyoto City x Kyoto University

Hosted by Leica Kyoto

 

Kyoto Genius Table © Adam Marelli

Kyoto Genius Table © Adam Marelli

Genius Table

Collaborations are one of Kyoto’s strengths.  Their promotion of like minded artists and creatives from around the city is at the heart of Kyoto’s outward expansion.  At the front of this movement you will find the Go-On group (which means Big 5)  Nowadays you can find the craftsmen of the Go-On group featured at international exhibitions from London’s Victoria Albert Museum to Venice’s Biennale.  The craftsmen behind Go-On have blurred the lines between traditional craft and art as their cutting edge collaborations are carving out a new space in the creative worlds.  And they understand that the best way to expand their programs is to join forces with international artists who share similar philosophies.

As a welcome to Kyoto, Go-On’s Ryo Kagami, invited me to be a featured guest at the Kyoto Genius Table.  The Genius Table, which he designed for Kyoto City and Kyoto University, opens a dialogue between visiting creatives and the extensive network of professionals working in Kyoto.  I was honored to have earned an invitation with the work I am exhibiting at Leica Kyoto (opening Friday October 31, 2014.)

Leica Kyoto's unexpected interior © Adam Marelli

Leica Kyoto’s unexpected interior © Adam Marelli

A Love of Quality

Located on the second floor of Leica Kyoto, we were welcomed to a light dinner and an informal discussion where we could forget about titles, ranks, and accomplishments and discuss the role of artistic collaboration as equals.  This is the “genius” of the Genius Table.

The faculty from Kyoto University wanted to better understand why Japanese craftsmen were a feature of my work and how my professional backgrounds in art, construction, and to a lesser extent Zen led to the development of the series.

We talked through the start of the project in all of its forms.  “Traces of a Lost Ceremony” has over fifty people involved in the production.  Until last year, when we took a formal inventory of all the moving parts, I would have guessed about twenty people made the project possible.  But after a thorough inventory, it was apparent that the project was much bigger than I expected.

While I was given fare warning by a number of people back in the US that “doing things in Japan” can be difficult, I found that when it comes to collaboration, maybe in contrast to setting up a business, everyone was amazingly helpful.  There were many steps that happened behind the scenes and only reached me after all of the kinks were ironed out.  It is a process I would love to see repeated in other locations, but I am not sure that is possible.  It might be uniquely Japanese.

Leica Kyoto Exhibition Announcement

Leica Kyoto Exhibition Announcement

The Student View

Present at the table were two students who are close to graduation.  They will head from Kyoto to Tokyo for work at the end of the Spring.  The migration to Tokyo for work is not uncommon, but the city of Kyoto would like to see that change.  With the resurgence in popularity of Japanese crafts, at home and abroad, artisinal houses are in need of business resources like accounting, marketing, and strategy.

The conversation took a detour, as we talked about the challenges that artisinal production faces in Japan and abroad.  It is something I have seen at Bellerby Globe in London, at Tramontin e Figli in Venice, and Merz b. Schwanen in Berlin.  High quality production is not enough for a workshop to survive.

Unlike the last thousand years of production, artisans are beginning to understand that in order for them to succeed, they need to focus on what they do best, which is make work.  All of the other parts, they can bring in more business oriented people to train in house.  This way, they can avoid the restructuring that comes with venture capital investment.

Newspaper article in Kyoto

Newspaper article in Kyoto

The Road Ahead

The future of Japanese craftsmen is unknown.  Like an animal species that made it off the endangered list, things are looking bright, but they are not entirely in the clear.  The global markets of Europe, Asia, and the Americas are promising, but there are many steps between here and complete success.

That being said, the road is no less certain for the artist.  We are all in the same boat.  In a fast paced world, focused on technology and the next best thing, the value of art and design objects will always appeal to a smaller audience.  The work we produce will never go head to head with a smart phone, but on the flip side, it will last a lot longer.  Throughout history, the objects that survive the pipeline of civilization are those pieces which concretize a moment in time by fusing the philosophy of an age with materials that will outlast their makers.

I’d like to thank Ryo Kagami, Kyoto City, Kyoto University, and my friends at Leica Kyoto for putting together such a wonderful discussion.  I look forward to watching it develop in the coming years.

Up next coverage of the exhibition and pictures from the opening party.

Exhibition Opening: Tomada Tomizo, Tsukamoto Kazushige, Tsuji and Adam Marelli.  © Dirk Heyman

Exhibition Opening: Shunji Kamemura, Tomada Tomizo, Tsukamoto Kazushige, and Adam Marelli. © Dirk Heyman

 

Best-Adam Marelli

 

 

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Leica Blog Interview with Adam Marelli http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/leica-blog-interview-with-adam-marelli/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/leica-blog-interview-with-adam-marelli/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:30:58 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6626 [more...]]]> Leica Blog Interview with Adam Marelli

Leica Meet x Leica Camera

“Invisible City”

"Invisible City" Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli

“Invisible City” Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli

Cultural Photography

Back in April, I was introduced to the Leica Meet photography group.  Founder Olaf Willoughby brings together Leica photographers from Europe and the US to discuss, shoot, and explore the world with a camera.  Whether you are a professional or an enthusiast, Olaf’s aim was to create a place for people to share their experiences and skills with a larger community.

In collaboration with Leica Camera, Olaf created an interview series that looks at the photography projects as they develop.  He invited me to participate and share a single project.  After four months, thousands of miles of travel, and too many emails to count, we finally linked up and put together the interview on my recent project “Invisible City” based in southern Italy.

Read the full interview on the Leica Blog below…and you guys know how social media works, if you like the interview, leave a comment or a few kind words, so Leica knows that you enjoy the material.

http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/meet-the-leica-meet-adam-marelli-invisible-city/ 

I’d like to thank Leica Camera, Olaf Willhouby & Eileen McCarney Muldoon, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, and the city of Matera for their work on this project.

Best-Adam Marelli

 

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Rewind: The Bear in the Canal interview on Leica Camera Blog http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/rewind-the-bear-in-the-canal-interview-on-leica-camera-blog/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/rewind-the-bear-in-the-canal-interview-on-leica-camera-blog/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:37:52 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6600 [more...]]]> Rewind: The Bear in the Canal Interview

Leica Camera Blog

Ipa Award Deeper Perspective

Bear in the Canal: Roberto and Sandro make final touches. © Adam Marelli

Bear in the Canal: Roberto and Sandro make final touches. © Adam Marelli

The Back Story

Everything in this series was shot in a squero (Venetian boatyard) that was started by Roberto Tramontin’s great-grandfather in 1884. My presence was lack luster at best and believe me, I’m not in when it comes to Venice. In fact, I don’t know if anyone who is not born in Venice is ever in. The impact on the images is that I needed to rely on my construction background to understand what I am watching. There was no guided tour. Had I not been involved with custom fabrication for so many years, the work would not make much sense. As a builder there are things that I look for, which are never explained. For example, gondolas are not built from drawings, like houses or cars. They are built using age old templates. The templates would make zero sense if you found it on the floor. It’s kind of like a construction riddle that was half designed to protect the proprietary secrets of the squero and the other half for design simplicity. The Venetian naval historian Gilberto Penzo even notes that the division of the gondola is all on the golden ratio, once again unifying the work of the art with the craftsmen. Everyone is speaking the same design language at the core.

Read the full interview here on the Leica Camera Blog: http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/adam-marelli-exploring-the-craftmanship-behind-venetian-boatyards/ 

I presented Roberto with a  collector's set of images for his family's archives.  Adam Marelli and Roberto Tramontin © Monika Houck

I presented Roberto with a collector’s set of images for his family’s archives. Adam Marelli and Roberto Tramontin © Monika Houck

Adam and Roberto 1 © Monika Houck

Adam and Roberto discussing cameras of all things. © Monika Houck

The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal 4 © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli The Bear in the Canal © Adam Marelli

Best-Adam Marelli

 

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2014 Ipa International Photography Award | Adam Marelli http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/2014-ipa-international-photography-award-adam-marelli/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/2014-ipa-international-photography-award-adam-marelli/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:59:19 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6572 [more...]]]> 2014 Ipa Award | Adam Marelli

Invisible City & Bear in the Canal

Matera & Venice, Italy

 

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

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

Introduction

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

2014 Ipa Honorable Mention Announced

2014 Ipa Honorable Mention Announced

Professional Recognition

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

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

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

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

Personal Satisfaction

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

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

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

Not finished, no problem

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

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

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

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

Win, Lose, and Draw

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

Matera Italy 2019 European Cultural Capital

Matera Italy 2019 European Cultural Capital

Matera Workshop Update

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

Drop an email to theworkshop@adammarelliphoto.com to apply for the workshop.

Best-Adam Marelli

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Meet the Maker: Nakashima Woodworker http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/meet-the-maker-nakashima-woodworker/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/meet-the-maker-nakashima-woodworker/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:05:49 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6558 [more...]]]> Meet the Maker

Nakashima Woodworker

OPEN HOUSE

 

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

Nakashima Woodworkers

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

Open House

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

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

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

View some of the images here: http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/philosophy/4

Nakashima Woodworker Open House Invitation

Nakashima Woodworker Open House Invitation

Details

LOCATION: 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938

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

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

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

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

1:00 to 4:30 PM: The Conoid Studio and Show-room will remain open to the public during our regular Open House & Cello concert by Noelle Casella Grant

Free and open to the public

Link to Nakashima Woodworkers: http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com

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

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

Conclusion

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

Best-Adam Marelli

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Finding Inspiration: Sardinia http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/finding-inspiration-sardinia/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/finding-inspiration-sardinia/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:57:21 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6544 [more...]]]> FINDING INSPIRATION

The Photographer’s Dilemma

Sardinia ITALY

 

The only sign that matters.  Sardinia  © Adam Marelli

The only sign that matters. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Making Time

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

The search for inspiration. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

The search for inspiration. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Finding Inspiration

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

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

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

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

Trust your Gut

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

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

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

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

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

The Beach

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

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

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

Tips

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

Perfect ocean therapy. Sardinia © Adam Marelli

Conclusion

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

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

 

Best-Adam Marelli

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A Room for Improvement No 001 Winners http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/a-room-for-improvement-no-001-winners/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/10/a-room-for-improvement-no-001-winners/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:40:38 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6523 [more...]]]> N˚ 001

The Art of Seeing Winners

A Room for Improvement

Adam Marelli x Art Photo Feature

 

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

Winners, Plural

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

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

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

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

The Structure

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

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

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

 

How it works

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

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

Art Photo Feature Facebook Page

Art Photo Feature Facebook Page

How to Enter

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

Subscribe here on my YouTube Page to enter.

Subscribe here on my YouTube Page to enter.

The Prize

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

Collecting your Prize

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

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

Congratulations

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

 

Art Photo Feature

Art Photo Feature

Who is APF

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

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

 

Good luck in the coming competitions!

Best-Adam Marelli 

 

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Leica M60 + 35mm Summilux Release http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/09/leica-m60-35mm-summilux-release/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/09/leica-m60-35mm-summilux-release/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:38:42 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6502 [more...]]]> Leica M60 Release

Life without a screen

GERMANY

 

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

The Digital Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Know your film speed

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

The Look

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

Conclusion

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

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

Best-Adam Marelli 

 

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