Adam Marelli Photo http://www.adammarelliphoto.com Now Boarding Leica Air . . . Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:04:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Berlin Photo Workshop: Leica Store Miami + Adam Marelli http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/berlin-photo-workshop-leica-store-miami-adam-marelli/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/berlin-photo-workshop-leica-store-miami-adam-marelli/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:58:20 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7439 [more...]]]> Berlin Photo Workshop with Leica Store Miami and Adam Marelli

Berlin Photo Workshop with Leica Store Miami and Adam Marelli

Berlin Photo Workshop

Leica Store Miami + Adam Marelli

U P D A T E

After our successful workshops in Prague and Florence, Leica Store MiamiAdam Marelli Workshops wanted to keep the European adventures rolling. This summer we will be heading to Germany’s capital city of Berlin.

Berlin is a laid back city with a friendly population that is home to world-class art, music and culture. Past and present come together in this diverse city, resulting in a bohemian vibe that makes Berlin a magnet for creativity, making it the perfect location to hone your photography skills. Whether we are chasing down a game of baci ball along the river or shooting a model on location, Berlin is a brilliant backdrop offering a range of settings from classical architecture to the grittier relics of the post-war years.

In this four day workshop we will explore the city as backdrop, a muse and your own personal photographic studio. Together, we will discover the connection between photography, art and the vibrant culture of Berlin. You will learn how to apply this holistic approach to your personal vision anywhere in the world.

Kreuzberg, Berlin © Adam Marelli

Fun along the canals in Kreuzberg, Berlin © Adam Marelli

Berlin 5 © Adam Marelli

Photographers aren’t the only ones who fondle their equipment.  © Adam Marelli

What’s included

  • Four days of guided shooting around our favorite locations in Berlin
  • A private shoot in a local artisan’s studio
  • A session with professional models with one-on-one instruction on environmental portraiture
  • Composition and lighting presentations by Adam Marelli that have been featured on B&H Photo Series, Petapixel, Art Photo Feature, and the Leica Blog
  • Technical workflow instruction for Adobe Lightroom from Leica expert David Farkas, who has 25 years experience in professional digital imaging and printing
  • Large selection of Leica cameras and lenses to use for the duration of workshop, including M (Typ 240), M Monochrom and legendary lenses like the 50mm Noctilux and the 50mm APO-Summicron
Last year we dropped into a graphic designer and photographers studio in Berlin © Adam Marelli

Last year we dropped into a graphic designer and photographers studio in Berlin © Adam Marelli

Adam’s Approach

Adam’s approach to photo instruction is very different from the usual photo workshop. His foundation as a painter, sculptor and craftsman add tremendously to his photography experience and his ability to teach classical composition and lighting techniques. In the one-on-one critique sessions, Adam is direct, honest and extremely constructive (and sometimes downright hilarious), getting participants to reach a new level of self-awareness in their photography. By the end of the workshop, you’ll find yourself hearing his critiques in your head as you frame prospective images. As a result, in just four days you’ll approach composition and image making from a new perspective and find yourself able to easily identify your strongest photos, while avoiding past mistakes.

Of course, you might also find yourself learning more than you ever thought possible about art and artists, as Adam has been known to bring to bear his encyclopedic knowledge of art history when discussing photography. We might even find ourselves taking a short break from photography, visiting a museum or gallery where Adam will walk us through some of the pieces. This is not your typical photo workshop.

For more information and to register, click here. If you have any questions, please contact us at
(305) 921-4433 or info@leicastoremiami.com

T E S T I M O N I A L 

First, I just want to say how much I enjoyed meeting you and Stacy and spending time with you in Berlin.  It was a fun, challenging, intellectually stimulating, and eye opening weekend.  I purposely waited a few days to respond to your email because I was waiting for the buzz to subside — I knew it couldn’t last — so I could think clearly about my impressions of the workshop and the lessons I learned there.

You’re right that I did give it my all, because I wanted to practice the lessons and be able to get direct feedback from you.  You are an excellent teacher and mentor and I was very impressed by your insight and judgement, your amazing abitlity to instantly recall images that demonstrate your points and bring them up on the computer, and the substance and clarity with which you answered our questions!  You’re the real deal, Adam.

You’re also right in that I anticipated hearing the design concepts you teach in your videos and writings, but looking back over the weekend, it makes sense to first develop us and help us bring ourselves into our photography.  To concentrate on the design aspects first, before you know what you want to shoot, would lead to a frustrating experience.  That was clearly the most significant take away for me — the process of going from not knowing what to shoot, to having an idea I could work, to getting your artistic and technical feedback on my first images.  This processed changed my relationship to photography.  It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like an artist. 

It was without a doubt the most transformational photography instruction I’ve ever had and it could never have come from an article, book, blog, or YouTube video.  Your workshop provided that invaluable experience!

I enjoyed the pace and rhythm of the workshop, too.  You’re very disciplined and focused, but you guided us in a relaxed manner and allowed the workshop to flow naturally without imposing a strict structure to it.  It was very well done.

Finally, I was impressed with the people you attract to your workshops.  It was so refreshing to get out of my own orbit and meet such accomplished people with interesting backgrounds and stories. Our lunches and dinners together were a highlight for me.  Please feel free to share my email with them as I’d like to keep in touch with everyone.   And please feel free to use/edit my comments for use as a testimonial.
Thanks again Adam!  It was a real pleasure.”

Sincerely,
–Greg Burke, Berlin 2014

Enjoy, relax, and shoot up a storm in Berlin © Adam Marelli

Shoot till you drop in Berlin © Adam Marelli

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Matera Photography Workshop SOLD OUT http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/matera-photography-workshop-sold-out/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/matera-photography-workshop-sold-out/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:37:44 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7431 [more...]]]> Matera Photography Workshop

May 15 – 18, 2015
S O L D  O U T

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

The winter has finally lifted in New York.  It seemed like the snow might never stop.  And with the change in weather means that travel season is upon us.  It is time to step out of the winter routine, dust off the camera, and shake off all of the excuses as to why you have not shot enough pictures in the last five months.  Fortunately, springtime means we can swap our wool for linen and hit the road.  This year will be the last year the workshop schedule looks the way it does.  2016 is going to be shaken up a bit and 2017 will see a handful of new locations.  So if you were thinking about coming to a workshop in any of the cities on the 2015 calendar, you might want to drop us a line.  Because they might not be happen again for a while.

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

The first stop will be Italy…Florence and Matera.  The first is one of Italy’s longest standing art destinations and the second is an up and coming cultural hub backed by Unesco.  A favorite stop on the Grand Tour, Florence and Rome have battled out the top spot for centuries.  Florence is like a greatest hits album of Italy.  Everything is exquisite.  The food, the wine, the clothing, the art, the architecture…it list goes on.  Standing above the city at San Miniato al Monte, it is hard to believe how many innovative forces came out of such a small town.  Like the Italians say “Nella botte piccola, c’è il vino buono.” (The best wine comes from little bottles)

Mark, from our workshop last year.  Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Mark, from our workshop last year. Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Jan, at the end of a morning shoot last year. Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Jan, at the end of a morning shoot last year. Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

While on the other side of the country Matera is gaining recognition as an unspoiled paradise of Italian-ness.  Matera is a laid back town, virtually free from the bustle of tourism.  The streets in the Sassi are paved in stone and you can wake up to the bells of cows grazing in the Parco Murgia (the national park across the valley.)  There are no flashy shopping districts or fancy restaurants.  It has a casual vibe that feels more like an elegant farmer than a Renaissance-dandy.  It is, without question, one of my favorite cities in the world.  Matera is designed to be felt.  All of the analogies that writers devote to the pleasures of a woman can easily be applied to the city.  They way it smells, how it feels against your skin when you lean against her walls, and the most sensual pleasure of all, watching the colors cascade over every wall in the Sassi as night time settles in.  It is a place to turn off your phone, forget about email, and live like we did years ago.  Look forward to seeing you there.

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Some pre-dinner wine at Sextantio (our hotel of choice) Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Matera Photography Workshop © Adam Marelli

Remaining Workshop Openings

  • Florence/Italy: 1 spot
  • Matera/Italy: SOLD OUT
  • London/England
  • Berlin/Germany
  • Prague/Czech Republic
  • Venice/Italy: SOLD OUT
  • Kyoto/Japan: SOLD OUT
  • N e w  A d d i t i o n: We added a second workshop in Kyoto/Japan Workshop: Sign up now theworkshop@adammarelliphoto.com

Reviewing the treasures from our night shoot over a few glasses of wine at L'Arturo's. © Adam Marelli

Reviewing the treasures from our night shoot over a few glasses of wine at L’Arturo’s. © Adam Marelli

 

 

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Do what you Love: Xyza Cruz Bacani http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/do-what-you-love-xyza-cruz-bacani/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/do-what-you-love-xyza-cruz-bacani/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 16:09:18 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7363 [more...]]]> Do what you Love 

Xyza Cruz Bacani

P U R P O S E  I N  L I F E

 

Do what you love: Xyza Cruz Bacani by Adam Marelli

Do what you love: Xyza Cruz Bacani by Adam Marelli

01

First I would like to congratulate you on the recent scholarship you won with the Magnum Foundation to attend NYU.  Could you tell us a little bit more about what this means to you and how it will impact your photography?

It means a lot because it will be my first (formal) education in photography. There is this tiny voice inside me that sometimes says people don’t take my  photography seriously because I am self taught, and I envy those who have a degree in photography. I still don’t know a lot about photography, especially technical stuff.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

02

In the last few weeks, there have been a number of interviews about your scholarship, most of them with the heading “Domestic worker wins Magnum Scholarship…”  Why do you think people respond so strongly to your previous profession?

Maybe because not all domestic workers like me are given the chance to pursue their dreams. Being a domestic worker is not an easy job. We suffer from human rights abuses and are regarded poorly by society. With my story, somehow it inspires people that no matter what you do, where you from or who you are, your dreams are valid.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

03

Could you tell us a bit about how and why you decided to pick up a camera?

I wanted to be a painter but I don’t have the skill or talent, so when I discovered photography, I was overjoyed because I realized that I can create with it.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

04

What are some of your influences and how have they impacted your photography?

Jonathan Van Smit, Elliot Erwitt, Rick Rocamora, Sim Chi Yin to name a few.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

05

How would you describe your photography?  Not just the genre, but why do you take pictures?

My personal photography is a visual diary of my feelings. My images usually reflect my emotions at that certain time. Photography for me is a need, more than just a want. If I am out shooting, I stop worrying. I am happy and I am free.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

06

From your early pick up by the New York Times to the possibility of self education, it sounds like the Internet played a positive role in your development.  Usually the Internet is blamed for things, but in this case it seems to have brought you a connection to other people that led to success.  Could you talk about how the Internet was a resource for your photography?

I educate myself by watching and reading free stuff from Internet. I learned the basics from one of your video tutorials, Bridging the Gap. It connected me to great people. My closest friends, I met them through the Internet.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

07

The choice to pursue photography is something that many people are afraid to do because they are not sure they can make money.  Did you encounter any resistance when you decided to be a photographer and how were you able to over come it?

When I asked my mom if I could buy a camera, she said, “It’s only for rich people.” I felt rebellious during those times, but I understand her. For people like us, the need to survive is greater than the need to do art. I’m slightly stubborn; when people say I can’t do it, I will do all my best to be able to do it. I like challenges.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

08

While there have been a number of feature stories that look at “Domestic Workers,” you have a opportunity to come at the subject, not as an observer, but as an experienced worker and photographer.  How do you feel that your personal experience sets your work apart from the journalist trying to understand that world from the outside?

I am one of them, so they relate more. The images I took of them are more honest, more real because the intimacy is greater. There are no presumptions, they show me their real self, because they know that I know and experienced what they are going through.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

09

Up until this point, attending a photography program has not been a practical option for you, what are you looking forward to with the prospect of spending all of your time dedicated to developing your craft?

I want to know all the stuff I need to know. I crave for education, I want to learn the business side of photography so I can find ways to support my family while doing what I love.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

10

In other interviews you have said that you would like your photography to help people and that it would be useful to society.  Could you explain why this is important to you?

It gave me a purpose in life. One of the best things about living is when you realize what is your purpose, and I found mine. I want to serve people and the best way I can do that is by using my photography to raise awareness about issues I care about.  Awareness brings change and photography is a powerful tool to plant the seeds of awareness.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

11

What are you most looking forward to when you come to New York to start the program?

I’m looking forward to meeting my co-fellows in the program, the people behind the Magnum Foundation and Susan Meisales. She is my superstar.

© Xyza Cruz Bacani

Portrait of Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani

Thank you Xyza!  We look forward to her arrival in New York City and welcoming her to the next steps in her career.  To see more of her work: http://www.xyzacruzbacani.com 

Do you know someone who took a chance on a dream and is doing what they love?  Drop us a line if you have a story that you would like to see featured…

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Over a cup of tea: Origin Magazine http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/over-a-cup-of-tea-origin-magazine/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/04/over-a-cup-of-tea-origin-magazine/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 20:33:52 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7341 [more...]]]> Over a cup of Tea

Origin of Lost Ceremony

J  A  P  A  N

Ippodo has grown ceremonial green tea, called matcha, for over three hundred years. © Adam Marelli

Ippodo has grown ceremonial green tea, called matcha, for over three hundred years. © Adam Marelli

Adam’s Note:

When I returned from the first round of shooting Lost Ceremony in Japan, I wrote and illustrated an article for Origin Magazine that has not yet been shared online.  After three years, three exhibitions, and an upcoming book project, it is great to look back at where it all started.     

Outside of Kyoto lie the tea estates of Uji where some of the finest green teas are grown in Japan. © Adam Marelli

Outside Kyoto lie the tea estates of Uji where some of the finest green teas in Japan are grown. © Adam Marelli

“Tradition is dead in Japan,” Mariko whispers over a steaming bowl of ramen.  For the kimono maker, this is not a protest or resignation. It is simple fact.  For her, a woman who came of age in the 1980s, old Japan was lost after the war and will never return.  This puts her boyfriend, Eric Chevalier, in an interesting position.  He left his native France to live and work in Sakai City, where he is the apprentice and heir apparent to the Sasuke dynasty of metal workers. If he takes hold of the reins, Chevalier would be the 6th master at Sasuke and the first of European blood.  Chevalier’s master, Yasuhiro Hirakawa–a 62-year old officially designated a living national treasure by the Japanese government–says that Chevalier has what it takes to carry on the old traditions.

The highest grade tea leaves are steamed dry and ground into a fine powder, which will packed and sold to tea masters and enthusiasts. © Adam Marelli

The highest grade tea leaves are steamed dry and ground into a fine powder, which will packed and sold to tea masters and enthusiasts. © Adam Marelli

Industries like knife making and tea farming have been self-contained for over 1,000 years.  Ever since Japan opened its doors to the world, people have marvelled at the quiet refinements of its master-craftsmen. Their abilities are legendary, but not innate. Each Japanese apprentice must be guided by his or her master. In this way, a delicate thread runs through each dynasty.  It only takes one apathetic generation and the thread comes loose, condemning centuries of knowledge to oblivion.  

Kaikodo focused their efforts on the design of one tea caddy for over one hundred and fifty years. Fifth generation owner, Seiji Yaagi, still hand solders the canisters at his studio in Kyoto, while his son Takahiro handles the final assembly. © Adam Marelli

Kaikodo focused their efforts on the design of one tea caddy for over one hundred and fifty years. Fifth generation owner, Seiji Yagi, still hand solders the canisters at his studio in Kyoto, while his son Takahiro handles the final assembly. © Adam Marelli

Over bottomless cups of tea, masters and apprentices share their stories and reflections.  Breathing the same air and working side-by-side for at least ten years, they share more than just techniques. Following this lengthy and ancient education, the apprentice will remain under the guidance of the master until the elder craftsman retires, at which point the former student will take full advantage of the master’s counsel. When the master dies, his tea cup is placed on the ancestral altar and the one-time apprentice will stand alone.

Yasuhiro Hirakawa, the fifth generation national treasure, hand fits a knife at his studio in Sakai City. © Adam Marelli

Yasuhiro Hirakawa, the fifth generation national treasure, hand fits a knife at his studio in Sakai City. © Adam Marelli

The work of a craftsman is not glamorous, but there are advantages to the skills acquired across the centuries. Momotaro Jeans Katsu Watanabe’s family have over 150 years of fabric-making experience, all of which had been sustained by the insular Japanese market. Yet global opportunities have presented themselves to Momotaro. The recent explosion of high-end denim, with some pairs of jeans selling for $2,000, now represents 20% of Katsu’s business.  The four generations that preceded Katsu have given the Momotaro dynasty the know-how and machinery to produce a range of attractive options from ready made-jeans to hand-dyed indigo jeans woven on an antique wooden loom.  Master Uchida, Katsu’s head technician, lovingly tunes the old looms as if they were a concert piano.  Once he strikes the right chord, the fabric will build into a pristine sheet of raw denim, with its distinctive red and white selvedge. His apprentice stands by as Shigeru Uchida recalls his formative years.  “We could not ask questions…only watch, until the machine worked.”

Shushinkan Sake Brewery was established in 1751, but its modern facilities were constructed after an earthquake in recent years. © Adam Marelli

Shushinkan Sake Brewery was established in 1751, but its modern facilities were constructed after an earthquake in recent years. © Adam Marelli

A watchful eye like Uchida’s had always been an apprentice’s best tool, since it was forbidden to ask questions. In that way, the only path to knowledge was careful observation. Master-craftsmanship is the story of Japan, and in many ways reflects the way that Japanese society sees itself. Bamboo craftsman Miki-san explains that we cannot see the history of bamboo without the history of Japan.  Miki-san, generously inviting his guests to tea in his great-grandfather’s anteroom, shares his philosophy of the world through the metaphor–most familiar to him–of a bamboo lattice:

The sake is tasted by a master brewer at every stage of production to control the quality of the final product. © Adam Marelli

The sake is tasted by a master brewer at every stage of production to control the quality of the final product. © Adam Marelli

“Society is connected at the roots, our ancestors roots.  These are unseen.  From the forest floor, bamboo grows up and looks like we do on the streets of Kyoto.  But when it hit the sky, the shoots support each other, so intertwined that the canopy is as green as this tea.”

Miki-san selects premium bamboo from a forrest outside of Kyoto which will become the sacred fences of temple. © Adam Marelli

Miki-san selects premium bamboo from a forrest outside of Kyoto which will become the sacred fences of temples. © Adam Marelli

On that afternoon Miki-san points out a bamboo flower in his garden, a blossom which scientists say only emerge once every 100 years. Somewhere between mystery and miracle, the tea with Miki-san provides a sobering moment of clarity.

Zen monk Taka Kawami rakes the gardens of his family temple, Shunkoin located inside of the Myoshinji Temple complex. © Adam Marelli

Zen monk Taka Kawami rakes the gardens of his family temple, Shunkoin, located inside of the Myoshinji Temple complex. © Adam Marelli

The tea estates of the Uji region lie forty-five minutes by train from Kyoto. Famed throughout Japan as the provider of ceremonial tea, Uji’s Ippodo produces one of the finest powdered matcha teas in Japan.  Not all tea drinkers find themselves on tatami mats drinking matcha in traditional ceremonies, though: Ryozo Koyama–in charge of Ippodo’s daily operations–says he takes tea with his wife at a table just like everyone else.  Traditions in Japan can be surprisingly elastic.  Standing in front of the steaming machines which dry out the leaves, Ryozo explains that “Technology can be useful, but only if it serves the tea. The final product cannot be of any lesser quality because of production.”  Yet in the fields and warehouses, generations of father and son and husband and wife still pick, dry, and grind the teas.

Rev. Taka takes a moment between raking the stones of the rock garden to discuss his feeling that all practices need to be adaptable if they expect to survive multiple generations. © Adam Marelli

Rev. Taka takes a moment between raking the stones of the rock garden to discuss his feeling that all practices need to be adaptable if they expect to survive multiple generations. © Adam Marelli

Each tea estate in Uji will yield three harvests a year.  The very best leaves are fed into granite plates and then ground into a fine powder.  As a result, a fragrant electric green tea dust coats the grinding rooms. Once the matcha is processed it is quickly sealed and sent off for sale.  Ryozo does not have an ideal client.  He says, “It does not matter what clothes you wear or if you have a tea room. If you want to study the history of tea you can, but usually this is a small percentage of people. “

Yasuhiro takes lunch everyday with his apprentice and assistant.  In contrast to tradition Yasuhiro welcomes questions from the younger generation. © Adam Marelli

Yasuhiro takes lunch everyday with his apprentice and assistant. In contrast to tradition Yasuhiro welcomes questions from the younger generation. © Adam Marelli

Regardless of customer, no detail is overlooked when it comes to traditional teas. Inside the studio of Kaikado, Takahiro Yaagi maintains a close relationship with his friends and clients at Ippodo. The two dynasties form an interlocking Zen riddle, because without the other, their products are of no use.  For over 160 years, Yaagi’s family developed an air-tight case for tea that doesn’t rely on the aid of mechanical fasteners or rubber gaskets.  They are only able to produce sixty cases a week, with a four-month waiting list.  In spite of more general economic conditions, there is always a market for highly-specialized goods of outstanding quality. From tea to knives, Japan continues to set itself apart from imitators that can’t maintain the right combination between heritage, patience, and skill.

While he is capable of making swords, knives, and blades, Yasuhiro enjoys the unique challenge of bonsai scissors. © Adam Marelli

While he is capable of making swords, knives, and blades, Yasuhiro enjoys the unique challenge of bonsai scissors. © Adam Marelli

On a pleasant fall morning, Zen monk Takafumi Kawakami fixed the rock garden.  The wind shook orange leaves off of the trees, which gently fell onto the concentric rings of the rocks below. Kawakami needed to clear the garden before the temple opened at nine o’clock.  He laughed that mastery never looks as impressive in person, and powers up an electric leaf blower to help him with the task. Once the rocks are once again in order we share another cup of tea before meditation begins.  In a temple fourteen generations old, it becomes clear that Mariko the kimono maker’s claims are partially true.  Old Japan is changing.  Even the Zen monastery is adapting to its new life of cell phones and power tools.  But still Kawakami smiles.  The principles of tradition remain, waiting patiently for discovery inside a cup of tea.

The top of the tea bush is trimmed in October for the final harvest of the year. © Adam Marelli

The top of the tea bush is trimmed in October for the final harvest of the year. © Adam Marelli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Join me at Adorama this Friday http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/join-me-at-adorama-this-friday/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/join-me-at-adorama-this-friday/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:32:23 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7332 [more...]]]>

Photo Brigade Podcast with Adam Marelli

S P O N S O R E D  B Y  A D O R A M A

Photo Brigade Podcast with Adam Marelli

Photo Brigade Podcast with Adam Marelli

Event Description

Join Robert Caplin and photographer  Adam Marelli for a LIVE video podcast recording at Adorama’s In-Store Event Space in NYC! They’ll be talking about his career as an artist, photographer, speaker, and workshop instructor.

TIME: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Address: Adorama is located at 42 West 18th Street, NYC.

We’re just a short walk from Union Square or the 6th Avenue – 14th Street subway station.

This event is open to the public to attend both in person at Adorama locally in NYC or online at thephotobrigade.com/LIVE. Anyone attending the podcast in person will be able to take advantage of a special 10% discount on many items throughout the store (certain restrictions apply).

To read Adam Marelli’s feature articles on Photo Brigade check out the below:

How to find a model © Adam Marelli

How to find a model © Adam Marelli

How to find your next project © Adam Marelli 5 Things I learned in Japan © Adam Marelli In my bag © Adam Marelli

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San Miniato Al Monte: Unfinished business http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/san-miniato-al-monte-unfinished-business/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/san-miniato-al-monte-unfinished-business/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:18:40 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7308 [more...]]]> Unfinished business in Florence

S A N  M I N I A T O  A L  M O N T E

 

The evening light was so strange...I left the image untouched to give sense of what it looked. © Adam Marelli

The evening light was so strange…I left the image untouched to give sense of what it looked. © Adam Marelli

Perched high above Brunelleschi’s dome, is the abbey of San Miniato al Monte.  It offers one of the most heroic views of Florence and is perfectly situated for evening shoots.  It faces the sunset and provides a bird’s eye view of the city below.

San Miniato al Monte is a complex of buildings that traces its roots to Roman times.  As the story goes, Roman emperor Decius sentenced Minias, an Armenian, to death for being Christian.  Minas was ordered to death by panther...a rather odd form of execution.  But the panther did not eat Minias.  Instead of pardoning him for his miraculous survival, the emperor decided to behead him.  Afterwards, the Armenian is said to have carried his own head across the Arno River and set it down where the abbey lies today.

Anyone who can pick up his own head, along with his pride, after that ordeal and walk across the river deserves a memorial.  Whether it is a tale of religious myth or hyperbolic fact, the small mountain became a pilgrimage spot and accidental photographer’s haven over Florence.

Interior of San Miniato al Monte © Adam Marelli

Interior of San Miniato al Monte © Adam Marelli

Museum or Church

Wealthy families like the Medici, Pitti, or Strozzi’s are all gone.  Once beneficiaries of great patronage, many churches are now forced to charge entry fees in order to maintain their buildings.  It is an understandable struggle, but it changes the feel of a church from a place of sacred worship to an old amusement park.

Many Italian churches feel more like museums than places of active worship, though San Miniato still operates today.  The monks are famous for their production of honey, liqueurs and herbal tea, which come from their private gardens.  Inside and out, the abbey is a unique opportunity to examine the roots of church architecture with the possibility of photography.

A lone chair in San Miniato al Monte © Adam Marelli

A lone chair in San Miniato al Monte © Adam Marelli

Good manners will shape the future

Due to some poorly mannered photographers, restrictions are growing worldwide on whether or not we can take pictures in public and private spaces.  If photographers could collectively behave, be unobtrusive and display a respectful sense of observation, most places would hardly mind a picture here and there.  But the way many people abuse the generosity of locations like San Miniato seems to lean towards an inevitable future…one where photography will be the new smoking.  BANNED IN PUBLIC.

Hopefully this does not happen because San Miniato is a fascinating place to explore and one I look forward to re-visiting in May.  Florence has no shortage of famous churches.  In the middle of the city, Santa Maria del Fiori is the most popular.  It draws crowds like the Rolling Stones were playing there everyday.  In fact, it’s so popular it is hardly bearable.  A few blocks away you will find the Basilica of Santa Croce…where Michelangelo is buried.  The crowds here are steady, but not as chaotic as Santa Maria del Fiori.

The time of day matter...stay out late is my only advice.  Santa Marie del Fiore day and night © Adam Marelli

The time of day matters…stay out late is my only advice. Santa Marie del Fiore day and night © Adam Marelli

Headed in the other direction you will find Santa Maria Novella.  Unlike their brethren on the mountain top, the monks are known for producing herbal remedies, soaps, and perfumes.  So whether you are on a quest to pay homage to Michelangelo or buy some artisanal soap, Florence has a church for everyone.

Miniato Maria is one of the younger members of the order.  © Adam Marelli

Miniato Maria is one of the younger members of the order. © Adam Marelli

My Approach

When I return this year, my aim is to pick up where I left off.  Many photographers are content visiting a spot once…we can call it the “Bucket List Mentality.”  It may allow someone to check off a lot of boxes, but I’ve found it leads to a superficial understanding of a place and even shallower pictures.  My approach is to visit a location and see if it’s worth a second trip.  Only then do the pictures start to flow.  I’ve always found photography to be a fast medium.  Sometimes the pictures outrun my sense of a place.

As a result, I like to take pictures and then let them sink in for a while.  I keep prints up in the studio or images on my desktop so that I can live with them.  As I view them everyday, they begin to change.  Sometimes the things that excited me wear off, while other times there are aspects of the pictures that were invisible at first.  Only after a few months does the picture fully reveal itself.  When and if that happens, I decide to go back.

Adam Marelli Workshops Florence Italy 2015

Adam Marelli Workshops Florence Italy 2015

This year the first stop will be Florence.  We will visit San Miniato with the workshop and say hi again to a young monk I met last year named Miniato Maria.  It will be exciting to see a familiar face and have an insider’s view of the abbey as he shows us around.  If you would like to join us, there is one space left in the workshop (email us here theworkshop@adammarelliphoto.com)

Florence is just the first spot I will return to in 2015…but I’m curious to hear which locations you would go back to for more shooting.  Let us know what’s on your list so we can compare notes.

 

 

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Finding Your Craft http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/finding-your-craft/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/finding-your-craft/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:54:03 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7289 [more...]]]> Finding Your Craft

T H E  Z E N  D I A G R A M

SXSW Panel Fear and Creativity Finding Your Craft with Helen Todd, Jey Van-Sharp, Jim Hopkinson, and Adam Marelli © ggorin

SXSW Panel Fear and Creativity Finding Your Craft with Helen Todd, Jey Van-Sharp, Jim Hopkinson, and Adam Marelli © ggorin

The Magic Chemistry

Last week, I was part of a panel that discussed how we found our craft at SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin Texas.  SXSW draws over 30,000 attendees from every part of the economy.  Throughout the week, panelists range from venture capitalists to astronauts, to programmers and in my case, the occasional artist.  Everyday is filled with more keynotes, panels and mentoring sessions than anyone could possibly absorb.  And while I was a touch nervous that we were scheduled to speak at 11am Sunday morning, the house was full and there was a thirty minute line to get in.  Step one…fill the house.  Step two…deliver entertaining stories that are relevant and useful to the audience.

SXSW Fear and Creativity full house © Jey Van Sharp

SXSW Fear and Creativity full house © Jey Van Sharp

With the current economy on steadier feet than it was in 2009 when I opened my studio, it seemed like a good time to explore the distinction between what we do versus how we define ourselves.  Very often our jobs become our identities, whether we would like them to or not.   During the panel, I joked that in NYC, the second question most people ask you is, “So, what do you do?”  Call it force of habit, bad manners or social convention, but our jobs often carry a defining quality.  But is this reasonable?  Is our world view really defined by what we do to pay the bills?

Our goal was to distinguish your craft from your job.  And while it won’t be possible to recap the entire talk, I wanted to share a story which might resonate with you.  In the puzzle that exists for all of us, we identified three main concepts that will allow you to gain a better understanding of your calling.  If we want to find our true calling, it will take a bit of soul searching.  In my case, two things were clear, I knew what I loved from early on, but I needed to get good at it and I had no understanding of why people would pay for it.  Try this as an experiment…identify:

  • What do you love?

  • What are you good at?

  • What will people pay for?

 

If you happen to be someone who knows their craft and loves their work, feel free to share your story below.  These types of stories never get old and you never know who might find inspiration in your path.

The Zen Diagram for finding your craft

The Zen Diagram for finding your craft

Here is an excerpt from my portion on the talk about how I found my craft:

Figuring out what I loved was the easy part…I loved pictures.

The thing that fascinated me about art was that it was another world, one where reality and perception collide and produce something else.

But there were two main challenges I needed to overcome. I knew what I loved, but  “What was I good at?” and “Why would other people want that?”

First part was straight forward…getting good at making art took patience, work, and time.  What you will notice is that there are no prodigy artists…There is no five year old running around with a paint brush making masterpieces….no Mozarts in art.  The writer Fran Leibowitz said…”in order to be a good artist or writer, you have to actually know something, unlike music or acting…where there have been lots of prodigies.”  And I’ve devoted about 20 years to developing my skills of drawing, painting, photography and sculpture…

Second is a question that many creative people never ask…what do other people want?  Or what does your work fulfill for them?  At first figuring out this one was a bit like driving down a road, blind folded.  I wanted to make a career out of art but I did not know which way to go…partly because I was born in a cultural void, some of you may have heard of it, NJ. While I was there, I never came across any professional artists.

My first break came while I was still in school. I heard architect Frank Gehry give a piece of advice to a class… He said “Get good at something special.  This way when people need that specialty, they will come to you.”  But like any piece of good advice I’ve ever gotten, it’s easy to hear but a journey to really understand.

That journey to understanding is not always comfortable.  After finishing a semester abroad, I went south to visit Frank’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.  I left London, was robbed in Paris, shared a sleeper car with a guy who was making passionate love to himself, all the while I was recovering from food poisoning. I had not held down a full meal in two weeks, and this night was no different.

Now, I understand that going to see a museum in an obscure Spanish town is probably not the most sensible way to develop your craft, but when it comes to finding your life’s purpose, you are going to do a few things that won’t make sense at the time…guaranteed.

Adam Marelli's Zen Diagram

Adam Marelli’s Zen Diagram

I returned to NYC and decided that if I wanted to build like a professional, I could get into construction.  And I did, which was a blessing and a curse.  Construction was what Stephen Pressfield calls the “shadow career.”  It looks a lot like your calling, but it’s not.  A shadow career is the practical, safe life that makes all the economic sense in the world, but will never bring you the fulfillment you desire.  Construction was my shadow career.

And what I realized was that I knew how to get into construction, but I did not know how to get out.  Getting out would would mean figuring out a problem that has puzzled everyone…“How do you make a living as an artist?”

A good friend of mine said, “Why don’t you talk to my therapist?” On my first visit she asked why was I there?  I said I did not want to have a nervous breakdown.  She said, “Why do you think that would happen?”

I said, I’m in a relationship with someone that everyone says is great for me though I feel stuck. I’m in a job that most people would love to have and I can’t stand it. I make more money than I’ve ever made and I’m not happy.  What else is there to do but have a nervous breakdown?

After two months of therapy she kicked me out…she said these were philosophical problems and I should speak to philosopher, but they don’t make those any more…so I had to find someone else.

I found a zen monk, two brahmin priests, and a Hopi medicine woman.  If you plan on asking mystical questions, you might as well go to mystical people..and what I learned with all of them was this…Art was only what I produced, being an artist was about exploring how we see and how we sense the world around us…Art was just my preferred medium.

Armed with this realization, I left a ten year relationship, left construction and opened a studio, had a handful of what I call breakdown/breakthroughs, and built a new life where I am doing what I love, can confidently do it well, and because it is something people want, make money doing it.  The thing that still shocks me is that aside from building an international collector and client list, the opportunities that come in everyday are even better than I envisioned.

While lots of it was uncomfortable or scary…that’s normal…in fact it probably means you are on the right path.

SXSW Antics behind the scenes.  Helen Todd shooting Jey Van-Sharp, Stacy Berman, and Adam Marelli.

SXSW Antics behind the scenes. Helen Todd shooting Jey Van-Sharp, Stacy Berman, and Adam Marelli.

Wrap Up
Finding our craft is not just an artistic problem…it is something that all of us are fortunate enough to face.  Once our basic needs of food, shelter, and the threat of death are taken care of, as humans we search for purpose and meaning.  For this reason, I say we are “lucky to have this problem.”  And whether we figured it out a long time ago or are facing it today, the stories are worth sharing.  At minimum, like in my case, they will give you a good laugh.  Yes, I am kind of proud that I am the only person I know who was kicked out of therapy, but best case, the stories are truly helpful to someone else.  What happened on your road to discovery and what have you learned in the process?  Leave a few words of wisdom in the comments below.  It might be the only time in Internet history that the comment thread is actually helpful : )

Read more about the panel on: http://zendiagram.strikingly.com 

 

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Fear & Creativity Panel at SXSW Austin http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/fear-creativity-panel-at-sxsw-austin/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/fear-creativity-panel-at-sxsw-austin/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:04:48 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7261 [more...]]]> Fear & Creativity Panel at SXSW Austin

Finding Your Craft

SUNDAY MARCH 15

Fear and Creativity Finding Your Craft at SXSW with Adam Marelli, Helen Todd, Jim Hopkinson, and Jey Van-Sharp

Fear and Creativity Finding Your Craft at SXSW with Adam Marelli, Helen Todd, Jim Hopkinson, and Jey Van-Sharp

Finding Your Craft

Once a year, I leave the world of the sane and enter the SXSW techno-scape.  SXSW (short for South by South West) is a strange place.  Everything is so connected that after a few hours all I want is an old fashioned pencil and whiskey…served in a glass, not a space age selfie-cup that  automatically links my Facebook profile to the whiskey company’s Instagram, all the while searching Linkedin for a potential collaborator so that no opportunity for “content creation” is lost.

At most conferences you are asked to turn off your phone, here you are expected to keep it on.   There are even mobile charging stations so no one ever misses a tweet.  But honestly, does anyone ever “miss” getting a tweet.    Only at “South-by” (as the cool kids call it) is it expected that you look at your phone during someone’s presentation, where everything is so electronically integrated that you’re amazed people still use toilet paper made from trees.

This year, I am on a panel that will discuss “Fear & Creativity: Finding Your Craft.”  Whether you work at a desk or in a rice paddy, the global economy is constantly changing.  Gone are the days of serfdom, salaried pensions, or single paths to retirement and happiness.

And while most people will change careers a handful of times, how often do the true purposes of our lives come to fruition? In this panel we will explore the underlying fears, mistakes, and strategies that we have each discovered on our respective roads to developing our craft.  If you are in town, join us on:

DATE: Sunday March 15, 2015

TIME: 11:00am-12:00pm

LOCATION: JW Marriot, Salon 2 110 East 2nd Street, Austin Texas

SCHEDULE LINK: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2015/events/event_IAP41443 

See you there!

 

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A Recovering DSLR User: William Bright http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/a-recovering-dslr-user-william-bright/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/a-recovering-dslr-user-william-bright/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:35:23 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7236 [more...]]]> Recovering DSLR USER

William Bright

LEICA M240

 

Donghwasa - Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Donghwasa – Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Hello. My name is William Bright and I’m a recovering DSLR user. For the last twenty years, photography has been a big part of my identity, but recently I began to wonder why it was that I took fewer and fewer photos, despite having some really great equipment. And when did my smartphone become my camera of choice?

And then it hit me: I’d lost control. I had become disconnected with the process. Photography had devolved down to the quick snap. Gone were the days where I would consider exposure, aperture and tone — both photographically *or* emotionally. I was no longer thinking about light. And here I was ignoring my expensive tool with all its sophistication and using it like a point and shoot. It’s no wonder I set it down for my smartphone.

Donghwasa - Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Donghwasa – Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Mine may be one of the last generations to grow up with manual film cameras, a time when there were only so many shots per roll and every shot counted. And while we have replaced silver gelatin with megapixels, and thoughtful consideration with speed, we have also traded knowledge and experience for the endless cycle of shooting by LCD with a complete disregard for how composition, exposure, and light can affect a moment.

Donghwasa - Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Donghwasa – Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Last summer, as the date for my two-week summer trip to South Korea approached, I decided to get a new camera. And not just any camera; I had rigid requirements for what I would call the “ultimate travel camera.”  First and foremost, I wanted a full-frame digital camera with the best glass I could find, and after consulting with several photographers I respect, including our very own Adam Marelli, it was clear to me that the Leica M rangefinder system was the way to go.

Leica M240, Leica 50mm f/2.0 Summicron, Leica 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit, and Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 ZM © William Bright

Leica M240, Leica 50mm f/2.0 Summicron, Leica 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit, and Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 ZM © William Bright

MY KIT:

I selected the latest Leica M-P typ 240. For lenses, I wanted a well rounded kit, so I picked up the 50mm Summilux F1.4, a used 90mm Elmarit F2,8 and a new Zeiss Biogon 21mm F2.8 with viewfinder. Along with a GorillaPod tripod with Ballhead X, a handful of neutral density filters and a cable release, I was armed with a small, light, *and complete* portable system that could fit entirely into a nondescript WWII Gas Mask Bag — much like the A. Marelli x Slow Tools Bag — which I could comfortably (and discreetly) carry.

Other photographer friends of mine, the ones who hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid, balked at the high cost of entry into a Leica system. I can understand that. But my counter argument was simply this: what good is a camera system you never use? I have three other cameras whose primary duty is to collect dust on my bookshelf. My counter argument to the nonbelievers was that I now had a full kit at a fraction of the weight of a competitor’s similar setup. When in the field, that’s important.

Drying Squid. Jeju Island, South Korea.  © William Bright

Drying Squid. Jeju Island, South Korea. © William Bright

MY EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD:

The first thing I discovered about shooting with a Leica is that I felt much more in tune with the camera. It rode closer to my chest, comfortably slung diagonally across my body. It would recede into the back of my mind when walking and talking with a companion, but also remain substantial enough that I never felt like I’d left it behind.

Also, it’s true what they say! No one notices it! With its smaller profile and whisper silent shutter, people barely give it a second glance. Well almost, that is, save for the other photographers that I would encounter in the field. The intrepid souls sporting Nikons or Canons – particularly those with heavy 300-500mm lenses (are you carrying a lens or a transmission?) – would invariably cast envious glances my way.

Old Grandma in Daegu selling clothing. © William Bright

Old Grandma in Daegu selling clothing. © William Bright

German engineering has a reputation for precision, and in this instance it is well-earned. It’s a religion, and the Leica M is their prophet. In my hands it felt substantial without being bulky, with the mechanical switches snapping into place with such surety that you always knew you were set. The same goes for Leica and Zeiss’ lenses: every aperture change was heralded with a solid click, and focusing rings would glide at your finger’s slightest whim yet stay put once you’d found your spot.

Reading the Bible in Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Reading the Bible in Daegu, South Korea. © William Bright

Isn’t rangefinder focusing difficult with that tiny square? What about the lack of autofocus? I’ll address the first question: the answer is a simple NO. One of the reasons Leica has become the top  manufacturer in the world is because of its now legendary rangefinder. With it, I’m able to find a target at my desired distance and focus, even during night scenes, with a minimum of fuss. As for autofocus, I won’t miss arguing with my lens on what *I* would like in focus, especially after I’ve recomposed my shot.  And most of the time I’m shooting with a wide enough depth of field that I can trust the hyperfocal distance scale on the top of my lens to know what will be in focus, so I never miss a shot. I relied on my knowledge of light and its relationship with shutter speeds and aperture, rather than let the camera show me what my results were. There weren’t fifty dots in the viewfinder to consider when focusing, or follow focus, or seven burst modes. It was focus, shutter, and aperture.

Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju South Korea. © William Bright

Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju South Korea. © William Bright

With this setup I feel a symbiotic relationship with my camera; I know my tool and how it works. I’m now able to let go, to focus on my surroundings and find the composition I want to capture. At no point am I detached from my surroundings. Quite the contrary, in fact – I can tell an intimate story about every exposure I’ve taken.

Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju South Korea.  © William Bright

Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju South Korea. © William Bright

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what camera you use, so long as you’re out there capturing and sharing with the world. Find a tool that moves you, that you can control, and that frees you to capture your little moment and help it transcend into something that won’t simply be cropped into a tiny square on Instagram, but rather, something that you can print, mat, and frame behind glass on your wall.

Block Drugs Stores, New York, NY © William Bright

Block Drugs Stores, New York, NY © William Bright

Now, when someone comes to your home and asks about that photo, you’ll have a story to share. And it will come with an extra thousand words. For me, the system that makes this possible is Leica, and now I’m planning trips simply to photograph places I want to see for myself. Some might ask, what good is a camera if you’re not present in the moment? I would ask, what good is a moment if you’re not present at all?

Hades Ascending. The Devil's Churn, Cape Perpetua, Oregon © William Bright

Hades Ascending. The Devil’s Churn, Cape Perpetua, Oregon © William Bright

To see more of William Bright’s Work: https://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebill/ 

–William Bright

 

 

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Do what you Love: OeO Thomas Lykke & Anne-Marie Buemann http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/do-what-you-love-oeo-thomas-lykke-anne-marie-buemann/ http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2015/03/do-what-you-love-oeo-thomas-lykke-anne-marie-buemann/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:58:51 +0000 adam http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/?p=7177 [more...]]]> Do what you Love

OEO Thomas Lykke & Anne-Marie Buemann
BY ADAM MARELLI

 

Do what you Love OeO Thomas Lykke and Anne-Marie Buemann © Anders Hviid

Do what you Love OeO Thomas Lykke and Anne-Marie Buemann © Anders Hviid

01

Recently you finished a new showroom for the family run flooring company, Dinesen.  The space feels more like a home and less like a showroom.  Many people don’t think of floors as anything special because they are always under our feet.  Could you explain how you elevated flooring from simple materials to a complete sensory experience?

 

It is not like we are rainmakers or anything – we just have a desire to make a difference to the people we work with.
When you are in a certain trade you tend to get tunnel vision. You limit yourself to certain opportunities or it can be difficult to create a compelling universe that communicates your inner values and qualities.
Talking about the material – in this case wood, it is all about the context in which you use the material. So back to your question – we found it interesting and challenging to create a complete, full embracing universe using the Plank (floor), and in this case elevating the floor to become a whole universe…subtle, sensory, tactile and emotional – by doing this we have created an experience that on an emotional level communicates the values of a Dinesen floor and why a Dinesen floor is more than a floor you walk on. A Dinesen floor is a statement as a Leica is to the Leica connoisseur.

Dinesen Gallery  © Anders Hviid

Dinesen Gallery © Anders Hviid

02

Working with companies that have been passed from one generation to the next must be fascinating and challenging.  In the past, craftsmen used to rely solely on quality.  If it was “The Best,” someone would buy it.  But today, quality is only one part of a more complex picture of success.  Could you explain the facets of design which allow a tradition to survive?

 

It is an interesting question. I think that today the word quality has more layers to it than in the past – there is quality of the material, quality of skill, quality of authenticity, quality of communication, quality of aspiration etc..  Many layers that all have influence on the success of the product.

To highlight a few values – that are crucial for a tradition to survive:

  1. Communication
  2. Aura
  3. Authenticity
  4. Passion
  5. Relevance
  6. Evolution
  7. And it is about creating new, meaningful concepts that build on the legacy, with an inspired eye to the future and with a metropolitan feel to it instead of local – becoming aspirational to people.

As we are talking about craft we should treat it as so. Craft will never be about being a commodity – there are limitations to true craftsmanship in terms of production. So let’s stop thinking about making less expensive products that can be mass produced – that will never work for true crafts – in my personal beliefs it is more interesting to make less, but better and unique.

To quote Mies van der Rohe “Less is More.”

Dinesen Ballroom Dinesen © Anders Hviid

Dinesen Ballroom Dinesen © Anders Hviid

03

As the creative minds responsible for rethinking how a client will define themselves in the coming years, how do you find and select projects?

 

We meet our clients through our personal relations and we are recommended by people and clients via our network.

We get our next jobs through relations and we get picked for our passion, philosophy and different way of thinking, and for the experience we have gathered over the years. On top of this, we also get picked for our sincere interest in wanting to make a difference for the people we work with.

 

Wood sticks in celling and Wall of imperfection at Dinesen. @ Anders Hviid

Wood sticks in celling and Wall of imperfection at Dinesen. @ Anders Hviid

04

It must be very important to garner trust with your clients because most of them have relied on their businesses for generations.  In addition to working with a number of impressive European clients, you have several projects running in Asia.  Cross culturally, this is not always an easy jump.  How do you build trust with clients and what roles do you play for them?

 

I think when you travel you should have an open mind – you are interested, adventurous, curious, and pay respect to the country you visit. I think the key to Japan is to be patient, observant, open minded, passionate; to pay respect to others and to have some modesty.

Foil samples at House of HOSOO for “More Than Textile” concept. @ OEO

Foil samples at House of HOSOO for “More Than Textile” concept. @ OEO

05

Can you tell us a little bit about how Japan Handmade came into existence?  At one point you mentioned that the craftsmen in Kyoto wanted to expand outside of Japan, but there needed to be some changes in their approach.  What did you suggest and how has it evolved?

 

The 6 members of what became Japan Handmade all have a long history – all are very proud companies with long traditions. From the first meeting we had with them – we wanted them to be successful – again communication plays a big role in success on the global market, and also you need to have the right product mix that sits in an international context.

We created the brand collaborative that we named Japan Handmade and we shaped individual product universes for each of the craftsmen that helped evolve their trade – specially targeted at the global scene for art and design lovers. This means we challenged the original brief where the companies just wanted to take their heritage products and bring them to the international market.

Silver leafing for Nishijin textile production. @ OEO

Silver leafing for Nishijin textile production. @ OEO

06

Craftsmen are famous for their fierce competitiveness, secretive natures, and often jealous tempers.  In some cases, it has contributed to entire traditions collapsing.  But with Japan Handmade there is a very diverse group, working together internationally to support each other.  How was this able to happen?

 

First of all, they are all in different trades. Japan Handmade is today like one big happy family. We believe that united, you are stronger. The name Japan Handmade allows this collaboration, as all are equal – the result is much more powerful in communication and storytelling and relevance.

The members of Japan Handmade have become role models for a whole new generation of craftsmen and crafts companies all over Japan. I think that is the biggest achievement of all. They bring hope to the next generation.

Japan Handmade, called GoOn in Japan, has now become a part of the national school books as an example of crafts and tradition evolved to a modern context.

Nakagawa-san's Hand Planes © Oeo

Nakagawa-san’s Hand Planes © Oeo

07

Design and art are often thought of as excesses or luxuries.  But throughout history, all of our oldest relics are the things that civilizations have created.  To the non-believer, could you explain why you feel like design is an essential part of the human experience?

 

I guess that is what makes us humans – not robots and not animals.

Personally, without art, design, poetry etc. I would die. It is what makes me happy, feel alive and at peace. Design is like all other arts; a way of expression and it is a powerful tool of communication.

Kaikado sake cups prototypes designed by OEO Studio. @ OEO

Kaikado sake cup prototypes designed by OEO Studio. @ OEO

08

At the forefront of all of your projects is a hands on feel, where clients and customers interact with design.  What changes for people when they feel like they are part of the process?  And how can design gently shape our lives?

 

The best design comes out of a collaboration between the designer and the maker – we like to create design that communicates on its own. Design has to come naturally and it has to feel natural.

Objects collection in silver and Jindai-sugi wood designed by OEO Studio for Kaikado. @ OEO

Objects collection in silver and Jindai-sugi wood designed by OEO Studio for Kaikado. @ OEOKaikado Set © OeO

 

09

Rodin used to say, “What is made with time, time respects.”  In regards to the disposable lifestyles that emerged in the last fifty years…how do you feel that design can influence the way we make objects, spaces, and environments for the future?

 

The past shows us that good quality lasts – both in terms of material but also in solution. I hope that people will realize that the last 50 years of disposable lifestyle is not the way forward.

Ceramics in the making at the Asahiyaki workshop. Vases designed by OEO Studio. @OEO

Ceramics in the making at the Asahiyaki workshop. Vases designed by OEO Studio. @OEO

10

In the last few years, we have overlapped a bit in Japan.  The Japan Handmade project was just starting when I set out to create “Lost Ceremony.”  When we first met, it was like we already knew each other.  What parallels did you see in our approaches to looking at and working with Japanese craftsmen?

 

I think we came with the same approach, passion and respect – you used the camera – we used the pen.  I believe in synchronicity.

Ki-oke stool in Sawara and Jindai-sugi wood designed by OEO Studio for Nakagawa Mokkougei @OEO

Ki-oke stool in Sawara and Jindai-sugi wood designed by OEO Studio for Nakagawa Mokkougei @OEO

11

What is up next for the OEO team and when is our next drink together?

 

It is on our shelf of dream projects to do a hotel – a full embracing concept from the naming and smallest of details to the embracing experience you want the guest to feel and remember. And as for the drink – New York, Kyoto, Florence or perhaps Copenhagen ;)

To learn more about Oeo visit them at http://www.oeo.dk 

To see more of the Japanese craftsmen visit Japan Handmade: http://japan-handmade.com 

Thank You!

 

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