Adam Marelli Photo http://www.adammarelliphoto.com Now Boarding Leica Air . . . Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:33:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Warm Weather Workshop: How to talk to Strangers http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/warm-weather-workshop-how-to-talk-to-strangers/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/warm-weather-workshop-how-to-talk-to-strangers/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:18:37 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6998 [more...]]]> How to talk to Strangers Workshop

Adam Marelli x Leica Miami

MARCH 6-8, 2015

 

Adam Marelli x Leica Store Miami "How to talk to Strangers Workshop" © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Leica Store Miami “How to talk to Strangers Workshop” © Adam Marelli

The Myths

There are as many different ways to photograph strangers as there are ways to pick up a date.  But the “Smash and Grab” approach of some street photographers is about as successful as clubbing your date and bringing them back to your cave.  Not to mention the fact that jamming a camera in someones face leads to pictures that all look the same.  And if the goal is to produce “Deer in Headlights” portraits, then I wish you the best of luck.

How to talk to strangers workshop. Varanasi, India © Adam Marelli

How to talk to strangers workshop. Varanasi, India © Adam Marelli

But if you don’t want to harass your way to a set of pictures, then I’d like a share a number of techniques for photographing anywhere in the world, with confidence.  It does not matter what language you speak, who you shoot for, or if your photography is just for fun, there are a number of useful approaches I use to make pictures at home and around the globe.

How to talk to strangers workshop. Kanyakumari, India © Adam Marelli

How to talk to strangers workshop. Kanyakumari, India © Adam Marelli

These approaches are not only easy to do, but they have converted themselves into commissions, international collaborations, and invitations to photograph inside of places that say “No Photography Allowed.”  Join me next month in Miami to learn “How to talk to Strangers” and how you can gain access to worlds that are closed off to everyone else.  In the end you will have more fun shooting, create unique bodies of work, and make friends in the most unlikely places.

How to talk to strangers workshop. Haridwar, India © Adam Marelli

How to talk to strangers workshop. Haridwar, India © Adam Marelli

Workshop Description

Do you wish you could walk up to anyone on the street and take an intimate portrait – one that connects on a human level? Do you look at photographs and wonder how the photographer was able to get so close and comfortable with the subject?

How to talk to strangers workshop. Chiang Mai Monks © Adam Marelli

How to talk to strangers workshop. Chiang Mai Monks © Adam Marelli

And does the craze of street photographers sneaking up on people or jamming cameras in their faces seem like complete nonsense? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

How to talk to strangers workshop. Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli

How to talk to strangers workshop. Matera, Italy © Adam Marelli

Whether it’s street photography or environmental portraiture, there is an art to photographing strangers. Join artist, photographer and explorer Adam Marelli as he shares stories from his travels around the globe and teaches you techniques that will allow you to take pictures anywhere in the world with confidence and style. He believes that when you take a genuine interest in a perfect stranger, they are often happy to welcome into their world, even if its only for 1/500th of a second.

2 How to talk to strangers workshop.  Kyoto, Japan © Adam Marelli 1 How to talk to Strangers Workshop. Keijiro Miyanishi, Japan © Adam Marelli 6 How to talk to strangers workshop. Chiang Mai, Thailand © Adam Marelli 3 How to talk to strangers workshop. Maizuru, Japan © Adam Marelli

SIGN UP

More details and sign up through Leica Miami (Please click the link to join)

“How to talk to strangers workshop” Adam Marelli x Leica Store Miami

See you in Miami,

–AM

 

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Photographer at Large: Rammy Narula http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/photographer-at-large-rammy-narula/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/photographer-at-large-rammy-narula/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:30:48 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6982 [more...]]]> Photographer at Large: Rammy Narula

“Finding Balance”

BANGKOK/THAILAND

 

Finding Balance, Chiang Mai/Thailand @ Rammy Narula

Finding Balance, Chiang Mai/Thailand @ Rammy Narula

Adam’s Note

Rammy and I met a few years ago in Bangkok.  At the time, he was going through a rough patch personally.  Photography was more than a creative outlet, it was his release from life.  What struck me about Rammy, was his willingness to work and his self reflection.   Many photographers are content making a bunch of snaps without really examining, why they take pictures.  Not Rammy.  After a year of taking images, his pictures were selected by National Geographic and he was already making a name for himself within the Thai photography community.  But he wanted to broaden his skill set and find a deeper meaning in his work.  This introspection is admirable.  Socrates would have respected Rammy for his willingness to live an examined life.  It was for this reason that Rammy was invited to be a contributing writer for the site because I believe that everyone has the ability to find their creative voice.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Finding Balance

by RAMMY NARULA

When I was invited, by Adam Marelli, to write about my experiences on life and with photography I felt humbled. It was a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come with photography, how it’s helped me to evolve, and to be able to share that experience in what I have learnt gave me a great thrill. I got down to writing my thoughts out and couldn’t wait to put them together in what has become this short blog. The first of many on the subject, I hope.

Let me start by saying I recently went a few months without taking any pictures. It probably sounds like a total opposite of what you would expect to hear from a photographer, but I believe the lack of balance in my life, born out of my obsession with photography, was at the root of this development. Read on and hopefully you will understand why.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

When my life and mental health were at their lowest, it was my brother who suggested that perhaps photography could be a healing mechanism I needed to take me away from my troubles and find a better balance. My brother, a camera fanatic among other things, handed me a camera. It could not have worked out better. I transformed from a guy with no passion and no focus into one obsessed with developing a new found talent. I would spend hours a day on the street and wanted to travel and explore other cities. I made a list of places I wanted to visit to take photos and created travel plans that covered spans of 6-12 months at a time. Whenever I could travel, I did. I would pack two cameras, a lot of batteries, chargers, SD cards, and sometimes a tripod with me and my camera became a part of me, almost a third eye if you will.

It also helped me make an impression on a woman I was dating at the time. She was very much into photography and the fact that she thought she was a better photographer gave me even more motivation.  I’m happy to report that she’s now my wife and I owe much of it to my interest in photography. Life felt different in a good way and all the little elements started falling into place. I had my first small exhibition last year and followed that up with a bigger event in which I sold prints – a personal milestone and a proud moment.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

On the back of those accomplishments I planned and thought of what else I could do to build on this platform. I wanted to do more as quickly as I could.

Things were looking pretty good until one day a sensation hit me like a brick. The feeling that I had become too preoccupied with photography. You see, all of the above happened in such a short span of time that my health, family relationships, work, almost all of the things that ironically drove me into photography in the first place, began to suffer because I was not giving them enough time.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

I caught myself one day in early September thinking, “Hey! this wasn’t why I started taking pictures!” I wanted it to lead me out of a hole, not right into another one where my obsession could take over.

At that moment my passion for photography felt like it had come full circle. Like hitting a low right after hitting a high. I lost some of my thirst to take pictures, stopped traveling, and shifted my concentration back to the things I felt were affected while thinking hard about how I would like to come out the other side. I wanted to reshape my life once more, set some new goals, and bring photography back when there would better stability all around – something I had envisioned I would do when I began on this journey but then seemingly went off the rails. Before I knew it, a few months had lapsed and my camera was collecting dust.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Lucky for me that break didn’t last too long and a few weeks ago I finally picked up my camera again. I felt more relaxed. I believe the time off had allowed me to reflect and develop a renewed sense of determination to be involved with photography in a way that everything else that is important to me can grow with it.

I can’t say I have the perfect formula so I won’t expand on the details of how I plan to make this sustainable, but I will say I think life is ultimately about finding that balance that gives you a peace of mind. When something starts to hurt, you have to recognize a change may be needed.

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Photographer at Large © Rammy Narula

Admittedly there is still strong ambition to achieve tangible results in producing more complete bodies of work and I will have to tread carefully to avoid the same trap, but I’d like to think it will all be worth it. I’ve begun working on plans for the next year, keeping the overall lifestyle balance I now demand of myself in focus, and building up confidence that I am now walking on more stable ground.

Here’s to hoping this is not the last time I am asked to write about life and photography because I will surely have more to say on this subject and how it works out for me over time; giving me an additional channel with which to express myself and share my experiences along with my photographs.

Cheers!

-Rammy Narula

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Top Instructor on Udemy | Adam Marelli http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/top-instructor-on-udemy-adam-marelli/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/top-instructor-on-udemy-adam-marelli/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:30:05 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6964 [more...]]]> Top Instructor for 2014 on Udemy | Adam Marelli

Why learning is part of the process

A ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

 

All three episodes of "A Room for Improvement"

All three episodes of “A Room for Improvement”

Top Instructor

Over the holidays, one of my friends sent me a congratulations.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Had I won the lottery and forgotten to check the ticket?  Not quite, but he said that I received the “Top Instructor Award” for my Udemy courses.  Curious to see if he was pulling my leg, I followed the link and confirmed it was true.  The students who enrolled for the “A Room for Improvement” had the highest engagement rate of any course.  Which means, more students completed my courses than any other program.  With over 22,000 courses, offered by 12,000 different instructors, it was a nice surprise that the program won an award.

A comment thread sample from "A Room for Improvement."  What a relief to actually hear photographers discussing their images and not their gear or getting in some FB argument.

A comment thread sample from “A Room for Improvement.” What a relief to actually hear photographers discussing their images and not their gear or getting in some FB argument.

Comment threads unlike anything on the net

The real credit for the award goes to the photographers who have enrolled in the program.  As of today there are over 600 photographers in the program.  And unlike any place in the internet, the courses offer discussion groups where you can find positive, critical conversation, and suggestions on how to improve your submitted images.

Forget about collecting likes on Facebook, where can you go to have a group of like minded, equally educated peers discuss the merits of your work, not how much they like it or how badly they would like to touch your camera gear?

Adam Marelli Udemy Top Instructor Award 2014

Adam Marelli Udemy Top Instructor Award 2014

Lessons in Humility

While some people have commented that I am a “natural teacher,” the process has felt more like riding a horse blindfolded.  Its exhilarating, but feels anything but safe or predictable.  A major lesson I learned in the last four years of running workshops, seminars, and now online classes is that people learn differently.  The challenge humbled my approach to photography, teaching, and to being, in general.

Learn the lessons of great master artists like Rapael, translated specifically for photographers.

Learn the lessons of great master artists like Rapael, translated specifically for photographers.

People learn differently

Sounds obvious enough right?  And as long as I was not teaching, it never mattered.  Most of my teachers were firm, hard people who did not take any bullshit.  They would tell me very frankly, to cut the crap, stop being a pussy, remind me that it was shit, and that if I paid enough attention I would eventually get it.  And, in most cases I did.  It was not an easy road, but it worked.

The challenge as I switch roles from an artist to a teacher, was that I can not teach the way that I was learned.  It was too rough.  Hard lessons are learned quickly.  They save time, smash any ego you had going in, and are designed to strengthen you by breaking you down and building you up again.  Between my educations in university, construction, zen monasteries, and drawing classes…you know which one was the roughest?  Drawing classes, by far.

Sometimes we need to make a few changes to understand what is happening below the surface of an image.

Sometimes we need to make a few changes to understand what is happening below the surface of an image.

Learn what switching a color image to black and white can reveal.

Learn what switching a color image to black and white can reveal.

My goal, as a teacher is to simplify the diverse education I went through, format it in a way that is easy to follow, and deliver it without all of the rough edges.  It is a work in progress, but it feels like it is headed in the right direction.

Learn how to spot scenes before they happen.

Learn how to spot scenes before they happen.

 

And learn how to be ready when the subject arrives.

And learn how to be ready when the subject arrives.

The Next Episodes

Over the holidays, there was a hiatus from filming.  My videographer came back from India with a parasite and I was under the weather, without a voice.  Not exactly the best condition to deliver a video course.  We postponed shooting, but will be back on schedule starting in February with the next episodes of A Room for Improvement.  Until then, make sure you finish the assignments from episodes No 1, No 2, and No 3.

In the upcoming episodes there will be some changes we hope will improve the delivery and experience of the courses.  There will be more images, easily downloadable PDFs of all the artists and my pictures in each episode, and a few more bonuses along the way.  In the end you will all learn to see like artists.

All three episodes of "A Room for Improvement"

All three episodes of “A Room for Improvement”

If you have not joined the series, here are the links below:

No 01 A Room for Improvement: The Art of Seeing

No 02 A Room for Improvement: The Art of Figure to Ground

No 03 A Room for Improvement: The Art of Finding Light

See you there!

Best-Adam

 

 

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Photographer at Large: Dirk Heyman, Power of Quiet http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/photographer-at-large-dirk-heyman-power-of-quiet/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/photographer-at-large-dirk-heyman-power-of-quiet/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:39:34 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6944 [more...]]]> Photographer at Large: Dirk Heyman

The Power of Quiet 

 

Jacques Wirtz Garden 8 © Dirk Heyman

Jacques Wirtz Garden 8 © Dirk Heyman

Adam’s Note

Three years ago, on a stormy workshop in Zurich I met photographer Dirk Heyman.  The weather gods were not in our favor as the temperature went from 72F/23C to snow overnight.  The evening before the workshop, Dirk and I went for dinner at Restaurant Volkhaus, a swanky place just outside of central Zurich.  Over a bottle of wine we discovered a number of shared interests in painting, architecture, classical music and watches.  We each had our own take on things, but the overlaps were a start of a three year conversation that has taken us across Europe and now Japan.

When we started working together, Dirk was grappling with a question that many people have, “What is this street photography and am I really interested in it?”  My assurance to Dirk was that street photography should not the focus.  Rather he should dive into his own interests without worrying about what the internet trends or exhibitions were saying is cool.

Over the next three years, Dirk and I worked together to carve out projects he could shoot between work.  He went from walking around his home town, taking pictures by the lake to shooting a number of commissioned projects, personal projects, and building his own website.  The sum total has been immensely rewarding for both of us.  For Dirk, he found a way to explore the things he loved with a camera.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding as a teacher, than helping someone discover their own artistic voice.

Most recently Dirk shot a project about the world renowned landscape architect and gardener Jacques Wirtz in Belgium.  The series is not complete, but he wanted a share a few preview images from the series which I believe are a perfect reflection of his own sensibilities.  The moment that your interest sync up with your subject, the results are undeniable.  Please join me in welcoming Dirk to the site and Im looking forward to shooting with him again this fall in Venice.

 -AM

Kyoto Garden © Adam Marelli

Kyoto Garden © Dirk Heyman

 

The Beauty of Structure

DIRK HEYMAN

While we were in Kyoto with Adam (Marelli), he asked me and the other workshop participants, what we liked about the photos we submitted before the workshop and why? He then drilled deeper on the what & why during the the week we spent together exploring the city.

My initial reply to his question was, I liked the painters J.M. Turner (the light), the early Flemish painters (Jan Van Eyck “Portrait of a Man in a Turban” and  “The Arnolfini Wedding”), Dirk (Dieric) Bouts (Last Supper, Lamentation)), but also modern art like Kees Van Dongen (Fauvism). And always the question came: why, what is in it that appeals to you? When he reviewed work of contemporary photographers and his own projects (“Invisible City” Matera/Italy) with the group and asked for our reaction (and again the “why”), it all suddenly clicked: I like “quiet structure” (for lack of a better word).

The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyke

The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyke

Woman in a Black Hat by Kees Van Dongen

Woman in a Black Hat by Kees Van Dongen

It was one of those moments where something you instinctively knew but could not put your finger on, suddenly stares in your face.

Knowing what makes your heart skip a beat, seems essential to develop my “language” as a photographer: words that allow the proper construction of sentences which then form a story (or a poem) and this in endless combinations. This is journey and luckily so. I refrain from the word “MY vision”, because I think that quiet structure to me is more about capturing the sense & spirit of a place or a person, than putting my own stamp on it. For example when I shoot a house, I will try to take pictures from the environment around it as well. Both interact and form part of the story. The same with gardens, they interact with the house or building, with the people: the users, the gardeners: what is their interest in the garden, what specifically appeals.

The Slave Ship by J.M. Turner

The Slave Ship by J.M. Turner

I sense this is awfully difficult to articulate: it one of those “I know it when I see it”.

I realized in hindsight of course this was what Adam was aiming for: know what you like and why, and then you can seek for it. I would add that it is not only in the visual arts, but in other forms of art or “applied” art too: music*, gardens, architecture, design…

Jacques Wirtz Garden 4 © Dirk Heyman

Jacques Wirtz Garden 4 © Dirk Heyman

While what you like is of course personal, the reasoning of Adam was that you are able to better reflect in your work, what you like; others will see (or sense) this too and they will respond to it. This will make you a better photographer and in my limited experience this is true. When people ask to see some of my work, they usually respond spontaneously to those photos where I sought to capture peacefulness & structure. It can be gardens, landscape, portraits… it does not matter, although gardens have a special place for me!

–Dirk Heyman

* Heinrich Schütz (Musikalische Exequien, Op. 7, SWV 279–281, J.S. Bach (Cello suites BWV 1007 till 1012), Josquin Deprez, Heinrich Isaac, Claudio Monteverdi, Palestrina, Antoine Boësset (masses and motets), Thomas Tallis, Chopin come 1st to my mind.

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The Photographer’s Library: How to start your own http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/the-photographers-library-how-to-start-your-own/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/the-photographers-library-how-to-start-your-own/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 20:33:34 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6925 [more...]]]> The Photographer’s Library

The Photo Book

PHAIDON PRESS

 

The Photography Book by Phaidon Press © Phaidon Press

The Photography Book by Phaidon Press © Phaidon Press

Starting a Photography Library

One of the many joys of being, at home in New York City, is not photography, but reading.  Inspiration comes from many places, but books have been more influential than any other medium.  I have been collecting art and photography books since childhood.  Every photographer, whether novice or master, should cultivate their own library of books.  Part inspiration and the other part reference, books have a lasting impact that smart photographers never under estimate.

William Klein and Nick Knight, photojournalism and fashion side by side. © Phaidon Press

William Klein and Nick Knight, photojournalism and fashion side by side. © Phaidon Press

The internet created the illusion that everything is available online.  This is far cry from the truth.  Archivists are consistently unearthing images that have not seen the light of day for decades.  While there are billions of images online, the number of quality pictures remains very small.  And almost any picture that shows up in a “Newest Camera Review” would be better used as a piece of toilet paper, if we could only figure out how to export the image to its native format, junk.

Part the reason for this is the internet promotes single, sensational images.  But many of the great photographs of the last century do not fit that mold.  They are quiet, underrated pictures just waiting to inspire you, if the only knew how to get in front of your eyes.  There are images you want to see, but are not sure how to search them.

Cristina De Middel in "The Photobook." © Phaidon Press

Cristina De Middel in “The Photobook.” © Phaidon Press

A few years ago I started taking an informal survey with anyone I met.  The question was: “Where do you look at images on a regular basis?”

The answers varied from websites, forums, media outlets, and image posting sites, but one answer I rarely got was: “I look at books.”

The book contains a range of aesthetics.  Stephen Shore might not be for everyone, but it is worth knowing as a touchstone for early color art photography.  © Phaidon Press

The book contains a range of aesthetics. Stephen Shore might not be for everyone, but it is worth knowing as a touchstone for early color art photography. © Phaidon Press

When I return from a season of travel, my eyes need a break.  They need a rest from the viewfinder.  One of the things I look forward to, is sitting on the sofa with my hard cover books, slowly flipping pages with some music in the background (and coffee, tea, glass of wine or scotch.)

Vivien Maier became an instant cult classic.  It will be curious to see if her work still holds interest in a decade.  © Phaidon Press

Vivien Maier became an instant cult classic. It will be curious to see if her work still holds interest in a decade. © Phaidon Press

Novels and newspapers might be in danger of extinction, but good quality photography books will always have an audience.  But where do you start?

A great approach to building a library is to find a book that contains a compilation of images spanning the last century which covers multiple styles and genres.  This way it becomes easier to understand how the medium evolved over time and how different people have pushed the boundaries along the way.

Photographer and film maker Alex Prager shows us that we don't all need a single job title.  © Phaidon Press

Photographer and film maker Alex Prager shows us that we don’t all need a single job title. © Phaidon Press

Phaidon Press created “The Photo Book” as a publication that has no end.  Every few years, it is updated, revised, and tailored once again to include a few new faces and make the entire history of photography digestible in a book that comfortably fits on your lap.  Their aim is not to create a Bible in any way, rather it is more like an ever evolving strand of DNA, that unravels only to create deeper interest.

The book is laid out alphabetically which creates some interesting pairings.  Certainly work you would be unlikely see next to each other.  © Phaidon Press

The book is laid out alphabetically which creates some interesting pairings. Certainly work you would be unlikely see next to each other. © Phaidon Press

The photographers inside of the book come from all aspects of the photojournalism, art, fashion, and exploration worlds.  There is bound to be at least fifty photographers you absolutely love, but had never heard of before.

The Photography Book, 2nd Edition.  © Phaidon Press

The Photography Book, 2nd Edition. © Phaidon Press

With these new names you can head back to the internet, amazon or better yet your favorite books story for a copy of their books.  This is the beauty of books…the discovery.  Locked between those two covers exists a multitude of worlds that will stay with you for a lifetime.  And whether you are looking for a break from the glowing screen or want a little something to do with that new bottle of Sagratino, a well made photo book will give you hours of pleasure and never needs charging.

Discover “The Photo Book” by Phaidon Press for yourself.

Enjoy-Adam Marelli 

 

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Art & Fear: Part 3 Michelle Leung http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/art-fear-part-3-michelle-leung/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/art-fear-part-3-michelle-leung/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:18:52 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6915 [more...]]]> Art & Fear

Part 3

MICHELLE LEUNG

Art & Fear, San Giorgio Entrance © Michelle Leung

Art & Fear, San Giorgio Entrance © Michelle Leung

Fears about myself

“…Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do, and what you did. In fact, if art-making did not tell you (the maker) so enormously much about yourself, then making art that matters to you would be impossible.” - Bayles and Orland, ‘Art & Fear’

Perfection in a photography project comes when the idea is still in my mind - before I jauntily throw the loop of my camera strap around my neck, and long before I adjust the settings on my camera. And then I get into the flow of using my camera to make images that I imagine are going to be gallery masterpieces. Click. Click.

But then my world comes to a grinding halt when I look at the images. What on earth went so wrong? How did I overlook the pole growing out of the subject’s nose? What mysterious force has taken over to completely mess up the focus? Why don’t I have a serviceable image after concentrating so hard on what I wanted to achieve? What happened to the light? Where were those magical photo gods?

Art & Fear, San Giorgio illuminated corner © Michelle Leung

Art & Fear, San Giorgio illuminated corner © Michelle Leung

Photography is one of my skills. But if the quality of my photography is so bad, it seems fraudulent if I call myself a photographer. Yet, ”Inept Photographer” is not a position title I have seen on a business card - it wouldn’t market well. Should the quality of my photography define me?

It turns out that photography is a religion without a god. There are photographers who are god-like, but they are not magical. So if there are no magical forces at play, why does my idea of perfection always seem to lie tantalizingly just beyond arm’s reach? Why does photography taunt me? Am I good enough to call myself a photographer?

Art & Fear, San Giorgio Maggiore flash of light © Michelle Leung

Art & Fear, San Giorgio Maggiore flash of light © Michelle Leung

The answer is within me. That’s the answer. This leads me to more questions, and thus my learning continues. My failed photography is not me.

I continue to work on my photography. It’s my priority to maintain my relationship with the art of photography. I’ll ride through the troughs because the highs are higher than the clouds. Managing the fine balance between my art and my fears sustains my vision of photography and motivates me to keep working towards the perfect defining photograph. I commit to making the relationship work. I do.

–Michelle Leung

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A Pilgrimage to San Giorgio in Venice http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/a-pilgrimage-to-san-giorgio-in-venice/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/a-pilgrimage-to-san-giorgio-in-venice/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:54:56 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6901 [more...]]]> A Pilgrimage to San Giorgio 

Venice/ITALY

THE UNPAINTED CEILING

 

San Giorgio Maggiore's Bell Tower © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore’s Bell Tower © Adam Marelli

Across the Canal

A quick vaporetto ride from San Marco lies the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.  It is a world unto itself.  The Giudecca, which separates central Venice from the outer island, is an impenetrable distance for the daily tourist.  While hoards of people descend on the city every day, the islands beyond San Marco, remain out of reach for the hurried tourist.  In turn, they are a delightful retreat for the quieter traveler in search of the “real Venice.”

San Giorgio Maggiore's Roman Bath inspired windows. © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore’s Roman Bath inspired windows. © Adam Marelli

The Silence of a City

Venice is the largest, quietest city in the world.  With the absence of cars, motorcycles, and buses, even the hum of its boats are swallowed up by the canal.  The water that weaves its way through the city, is a force that insures Venice’s sanctity, but will also swallow its buildings if changes are not made in the coming years.  This paradox makes its outer islands even more unique.  The city rewards any effort to leave the well worn steps of San Marco and visit the mysterious islands viewed at sunset by everyone dining al fresco.

San Giorgio Maggiore austere finishes. © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore austere finishes. © Adam Marelli

Andrea Palladio

The most famous northern Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, never fit into the Venetian mold.  His austere Neo-Classical temples and villas never found a foothold in the Venetian Empire.  He only succeeded in building two structures on the outer islands of Venice.

Today Venice’s mixture of Gothic lines and Orientalist details seem out of place in Italy.  But when looked at through the lens of history, Venice was never really an Italian city.  Its towers look east.  It was the capital of a vast maritime empire that stretched to modern day Turkey.  The Venetians never looked to Rome, paid no attention to Naples, and managed for a time to exist as an insular military and trade power separate from the reaches of the Medici in Florence.

Put into an American vernacular, Venice was like Alaska, disconnected from the land mass it ruled.  It was far to the west, almost outside of its own bounds.  So as the empire fell apart and relinquished control over the Mediterranean, the only space it retained was a small collection of islands that are neither European or Asian, but somewhere in between.

The unusual preferences for an aesthetic found nowhere else in Italy makes the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore that much more unique.  Defined by its white facade and stark interior, it calls out to diners every night as the sun sets across its white pilasters.

San Giorgio Maggiore inlaid floor which would eventually inspire M.C. Escher.  © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore inlaid floor which would eventually inspire M.C. Escher. © Adam Marelli

Breathe the stone

There is not a photograph in the world that can replace the sensation of stepping inside of a building.  From the queens chamber in the Great Pyramids to the entry of the Pantheon, every piece of epic architecture has a menu of flavors that cannot be digitized.  During this afternoon on San Giorgio, the sun blasted away at the facade.  The entry to the church is marked by the momentary blindness as the dark wood paneling absorbs the last traces of sunlight.

Inside the wood and stone stand silently as the footsteps of a scampering child ping down the nave.  Palladio’s church is an outlier.  It is not clad in gold and frescos like the Basilica at San Marco.  The stone is bare, with only small decoration added in the floor design.  The walls and ceilings feel like they were destined for greater roles, but the funding dried up.  It is a precursor the trends of Modernism that would take another 400 years to develop.

San Giorgio Maggiore at sunset © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore at sunset © Adam Marelli

All of these barren elements remove distractions for the real hero of the church…the Light.  The fading sun moves with staggering speed across the monochromatic walls.  It wraps and caresses the stone like the fleeting fingers of a teasing lover.  Left in its wake are the faint traces of Palladio’s architectural vocabulary cloaked in the empty darkness of the evening light.

San Giorgio Maggiore looking back at Venice. © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore looking back at Palladio’s other church Il Redentore. © Adam Marelli

Final Bells

An afternoon at San Giorgio is a hidden treasure in plain sight.  For the photographer with patience and a eye for history, they will smile on the inside as they explore this architectural splendor.  Outside of its thick walls, the rest of the city will be showering in their hotels or drinking a spritz at the bar.  But do not worry, the Venetian night will wait for you as the light fades to dark.

San Giorgio Maggiore and a contemporary art installation we affectionally referred to as "Venetian Fries." © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore and a contemporary art installation we affectionally referred to as “Venetian Fries.” © Adam Marelli

The day will close with the sound of the bells in the tower above.  It marks the end of another successful day of exploration and tomorrow you comb through your treasures on the computer.  But for now, lets get a drink.

San Giorgio Maggiore's Vaporetto back to the bar. © Adam Marelli

San Giorgio Maggiore’s Vaporetto back to the bar. © Adam Marelli

Tips for photographers

  • Visit the church in the late afternoon.  Vaporettos leave regularly from the Zattere stop.
  • Take as little equipment as possible.
  • Sit in the church as before the light gets really good.  It will give you a sense of what you want to shoot before the light is perfect.
  • Bring a small bottle of wine.  After the church closes, people gather out front for an informal drink.  The Venetians are trying to pass a law banning wheeled luggage, but they have no problem with public drinking.  A rare moment of legal clarity that other cities would be smart to adopt.

 

Enjoy-Adam Marelli

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Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Bags Specs and Dimensions http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/adam-marelli-x-slow-tools-bags-specs-and-dimensions/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/01/adam-marelli-x-slow-tools-bags-specs-and-dimensions/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:10:42 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6885 [more...]]]> Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Bags Specs and Dimensions

The Details

Welcome to 2015

 

Happy New Year © Adam Marelli

Happy New Year © Adam Marelli

Happy 2015!

We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and New Year.  2014 was a record year here at Adam Marelli Workshops, with a sold out calendar, winning Top Instructor for 2014 on Udemy, and a few IPA Awards.  But in humble recognition of all that happened, yours truly spent the holidays with a cold and no voice.  While I would normally say I “caught a cold,” this year the cold caught me.  It put the kibosh on any grand plans for the last two weeks.  But the plus side of starting off the year under the weather is that there is only one way to go from here: UP!

Small Shoulder Bag.  © Adam Marelli

Small Shoulder Bag. © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Bags

Specifications & Dimensions

Many of you have been patiently waiting for the details of my collaboration with Slow Tools.  This should help the remaining photographers decide if they would like the small, medium, or both bags for their 2015 travels.

Small Shoulder Bag dimensions © Adam Marelli

Small Shoulder Bag dimensions © Adam Marelli

Small Shoulder Bag

The Small Shoulder Bag was designed for the photographer who values just the essentials.  They favor simplicity over features, but do not want to sacrifice style.  And when it is not being used for your cameras, it is the perfect everyday bag for your favorite book or e-reader, a good pen and headphones.  Whether you are digital or analogue, boarding a train or jumping in a car, this bag will be with you every step of the way.

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Small Shoulder Bag with Leica gear.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Small Shoulder Bag with Leica gear. © Adam Marelli

Dimensions

  • Height:  9 in. / 23 cm
  • Width:  11 in. / 28 cm
  • Depth:  4 in. / 10cm
Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Small Shoulder Bag, back view. © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Small Shoulder Bag, back view. © Adam Marelli

Materials

  • Body:  14 oz. Japanese canvas
  • Back Panel:  Burgundy Leather
  • Strap:  Burgundy Leather
  • Hardware:  Brass buckles, brass buttons & copper rivets
Adam Marelli x Slow Tools with camera and books.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools with camera and books. © Adam Marelli

Back Pocket

  • (1) full length back leather panel and pocket (great for maps, tickets, and small books)
Adam Marelli x Slow Tools, two interior pockets for lens.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools, two interior pockets for lens. © Adam Marelli

Main Interior Pockets

  • (2) side by side lens pockets
  • Designed to handle most Leica lenses excluding Noctilux and wide angle Summilux, 21mm and 24mm.
  • -Pocket 1:  4-1/4 in. x 5-1/4 in. wide  (11cm / 13.5 cm)
  • -Pocket 2:  4-1/4 in. x 5-1/4 in. wide  (11cm / 13.5 cm)
Adam Marelli x Slow Tools with 2 Leica cameras, side by side.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools with Leica Monochrom and M6 cameras, side by side. © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools leather strap detail.  © Adam Marelli

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools leather strap detail. © Adam Marelli

ORDER

Medium Shoulder Bag. © Adam Marelli

Medium Shoulder Bag. © Adam Marelli

Medium Shoulder Bag

The Medium Shoulder Bag was made with larger formats in mind.  Whether you carry a Hasselblad or a DLSR, this bag can handle any larger system.  It also comes with a laptop sleeve so you can easily pack up for a flight with your camera, lenses, iPad, and a few other items for the long haul to your destination.

Medium Shoulder Bag with dimensions.  © Adam Marelli

Medium Shoulder Bag with dimensions. © Adam Marelli

Dimensions

  • Height:  10 in. / 25.5 cm
  • Width:  14 in. / 35.5 cm
  • Depth:  5-1/2 in. / 14 cm
Medium bag open, with open  top and front pocket.  © Adam Marelli

Medium bag open, with open top and front pocket. © Adam Marelli

Materials

  • Body:  14 oz Japanese canvas
  • Bottom Panel:  Burgundy Leather
  • Strap:  2 in. canvas with felt lined leather shoulder pad
  • Hardware:  Brass buckles, brass buttons & copper rivets
Medium bag, top view.  © Adam Marelli

Medium bag, top view with Leica M6 and Hasselblad 500 c/m. © Adam Marelli

Main Interior Pocket

  • (1) button sleeve for small laptop or iPad
  • (1) button in divider for the main compartment, fully removable
Medium bag, front pocket detail. © Adam Marelli

Medium bag, front pocket detail. © Adam Marelli

Front Pocket

  • Silky brass zippered pocket
  • (2) internal pockets for pens, notebooks, or batteries
  • -Pocket 1:  5 in. wide x 4-1/4 in. tall  (12.5 cm x 11 cm tall)
  • -Pocket 2:  3-3/4 in. wide x 4-1/4 in. tall  (9.5 cm wide x 11 cm tall)
Medium bag, back and strap detail.  © Adam Marelli

Medium bag, back and strap detail. © Adam Marelli

ORDER

Medium bag loaded with camera bodies, books and an iPad.  © Adam Marelli

Medium bag loaded with Leica Monochrom & M6 bodies, Leica Binoculars, book and an iPad. © Adam Marelli

A Global Community of Photographers

When this project started over one year ago, we did not know if it would ever be publicly available.  The hurdles of manufacturing hard goods and coordinating it all internationally is really a profession unto itself, but we are very pleased that this limited release will ship all over the globe.  As we enter the new year, let us raise a glass to forging our own paths in 2015!

Best-Adam Marelli 

 

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Photographer at Large: Fear about Others http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/12/photographer-at-large-fear-about-others/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/12/photographer-at-large-fear-about-others/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 17:01:30 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6861 [more...]]]> Photographer at Large

Michelle Leung

Fear about Others

Art & Fear

 

Belgian Pavillion at Biennale, Venice:Italy Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

Belgian Pavillion at Biennale, Venice:Italy Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

Fear about Others

Starting in the 1980s my first photographs of people were taken from such a distance the subjects were indiscernible from ants…small ants! In recent years I’ve been encouraged to get close, and have been told that I can’t get close enough to my subject. You’re kidding me right?!? Get so close to the subject that they might identify me as a photographer? That’s crazy talk.

Progressively my initial level of discomfort about my close proximity to a photographic subject has eased. The imagined consequence of a subject suddenly identifying me as a photographer hasn’t turned out as horrific as I first expected. Some days I photograph people as symbolic forms rather than as an individual with a personality. Some days I work with shadows, or reflections. Some days I get close. It doesn’t hurt…much.

French Pavillion.  Biennale, Venice:Italy, Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

French Pavillion. Biennale, Venice:Italy, Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

The fear about others extends to critiques of my work. Sharing my personal thoughts as expressed through my photography does not come naturally to me. During my first critique, my heart was pounding audibly, my palms were sweating profusely and the fragility in my knees was akin to the aftermath of a high intensity spin class. There was nothing at all frightening about the critiquer, but when someone is about to pass judgment on something that is so personal, the natural tendency is to view this process as an assessment of my personal qualities - whether I am a good person or bad. To me, it wasn’t just about my photography.

French Pavillion II, Biennale, Venice:Italy Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

French Pavillion II, Biennale, Venice:Italy Art & Fear © Michelle Leung

But it turns out that the critique of others comes from a position of care and concern for my development. The feedback actually helps improve the results. Being able to understand and accept well founded feedback has deepened my understanding of the craft. Who would have imagined back then that such a physiological calamity could be so constructive?! The gradual progress in this regard has ensured that now a piece of me doesn’t want to die when others care enough to provide feedback. The best outcome is that I learn more about my work and as I do, I learn a little more about my vision.

“…what we really gain from the art-making of others is’courage-by-association’. Depth of contact grows as fears are shared — and thereby disarmed — and this comes from embracing art as process, and artists as kindred spirits.” - Bayles and Orland, ‘Art & Fear’.

–Michelle Leung

 

 

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Photographer’s Gift Guide http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/12/photographers-gift-guide/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2014/12/photographers-gift-guide/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:12:11 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=6843 [more...]]]> Photographer’s Gift Guide

What to buy for your favorite photographer

Travel Essentials

 

North Sea Submariner Sweater. A. Marelli Gift Guide

North Sea Submariner Sweater. A. Marelli Gift Guide

1.  North Sea Sweater
$ 150

When winter flexes its muscles, grab the “Submariner” sweater from North Sea.  It’s a 100% wool turtleneck that the Brits invented so they could stay warm while hunting U-Boats.  It balances the historical accuracy with a cut that looks good on its own or under a blazer.  It is my go to sweater for cold weather shooting and long haul flights.

Barena Venezia Tv Formentera Jacket.

Barena Venezia Tv Formentera Jacket.

2.  Barena Venezia Slanegà Tv Jacket (Formentera)
€ 419

A friend of mine turned me on to Barena Venezia recently.  Their jackets are styled after Venetian fishermen.  The style is part workwear and part Italian fashion.  Barena Venezia is a small shop that likes to keep it local.  Their jackets are woven with a little stretch so you can look good without feeling like you are in a straight jacket.  The generous pockets, inside and out, make it a great alternative to the photographer’s vest.

Filson Travel Bag Medium

Filson Travel Bag Medium

3.  Filson Travel Bag -Medium Luggage
$ 325

It looks like Venice might put a ban on wheeled luggage.  Only in Venice, right?!  Well in case they do, you might as well have a good bag to toss into the vaparetto.  Avoid the split zippers and baggage limitations with a soft shelled bag designed to last a century.  As a carry on piece of luggage it carries enough for two weeks on the road and will age better than Maggie Smith (who is doing a pretty fine job herself.)

Field Notes Notebooks.

Field Notes Notebooks.

4.  Field Notes Notebooks (pack of 3)
$ 10

Technology is good, but not perfect.  While online check in, single click purchases, and instant weather updates are welcome advancements, there is still nothing like getting your ideas on paper.  These perfectly sized note books are a must for any photographer because you never know when your next great idea might hit.

Rotring 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Stylus

Rotring 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Stylus

5.  Rotring Mechanical Pencils 800+
€ 70

What does the + mean?  The good folks at Rotring have improved their mechanical pencils to include a stylus that can be used on iPads and tablets.  The weight, build quality and feel of their mechanical pencils will make you want to find an excuse to draw something.  And the black paint finish will brass just like your Leica.  A nice touch.

Leica D Lux 109 Camera.

Leica D Lux 109 Camera.

6.  Leica D-Lux 109
$ 1,195

It is rare that I recommend gear…so take this as you will.  The only camera that I am really interested in right now is the new Leica D-Lux (Type 109).  And while many of you are thinking, “Oh yeah, I’d be interested in it too if Leica gave it to me,” I can tell you…this is not a gift from Leica, but something I plan to buy.  Small enough to fit in a jacket pocket and compatible with an Ikelite underwater housing… I’d like a camera for events and “light underwater” that does not feel like it sacrifices much from my Leica M’s.

A. Marelli Small Camera Bag

A. Marelli Small Camera Bag

A. Marelli Medium Camera Bag.

A. Marelli Medium Camera Bag.

7.  Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Bags
small – $ 225
medium – $ 285

After years of complaining about camera bags, just like everyone else…I decided it was time to do something about the photographer’s dilemma.  Is it possible to have a bag that you actually want to carry which does not look like a camera bag, and will last a really long time?  Now the answer is YES.

This will be a gift for the patient photographer…because they will not be ready until Feb/March of next year…but we are only producing a limited edition of 50 bags in each size.  So it is recommended to pre-order before they are sold out. Email us at theworkshop@adammarelliphoto.com 

Gitzo Traveller 2 Tripod and Ball Head.

Gitzo Traveller 2 Tripod and Ball Head.

8.  Gitzo Traveller Tripod
$ 1,100

For those spectacular night shots that only happen on the road, it’s best to carry a small, light weight tripod.  This way you can capture award winning shots that are just not possible without a steady hold.  Gitzo has become the Patek Philippe of tripods.  Great quality, well designed, and expensive enough that you might have thought you were buying a camera and not just a tripod.  But when it slips into your carry on and you hardly notice the weight, you will thank whoever buys this for you.

Jaeger Lecoutre Geophysic 1958

Jaeger Lecoutre Geophysic 1958

9.  Jaeger LeCoultre Tribute to the Geophysic 1958
$ 9,800

Everyone remembers the first watch they were given.  For most of us, it was a turning point where someone acknowledged, “You are an adult (or you at least have the general outline of one and are bound to fill in the missing pieces over time.)  In honor of this tradition, why not share the same watch that first surfaced at the North Pole in 1958 as the US Navy was stalking the Russians with a young photographer.  Man, woman, child…it hardly matters who is on the receiving end because afterwards they will be a “changed man.”

 

Collector's Prints, from "Traces of a Lost Ceremony" © Adam Marelli

Collector’s Prints, from “Traces of a Lost Ceremony” © Adam Marelli

10.  Make your own Exhibition Prints with Digital Silver Imaging
Save $250 when you buy $ 750 worth of prints

Do you live with someone who is bonkers about photography?  If so, how often do they print their own work?  The best gift that you can give any photographer is the chance to see their work in glorious printed form.  This holiday season my printer, Digital Silver Image, is offering printing deals on their highest quality Silver Gelatin Fiber Prints.  If your “crazy photographer” has not seen their work in exhibition form, they are bound to love you for this one.

Digital Silver Imaging Holiday Discount

Wishing everyone a fantastic holiday season!  

Best-Adam Marelli

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