Adam Marelli Workshops
2016 Global Schedule to be announced in October
Every photographer wants to take better
pictures. We want to distill the chaos
of daily life into a single, powerful frame.
If you want to open your lens to a new
view of the world, then join me on a
bespoke program in the lessons of
design made specifically for
Updates for 2016
For next year’s workshop schedule, we will be announcing the dates and locations in October of 2015. Your favorite spots like Matera and Venice will be back and there will be a few new options for us to explore together…stay tuned!
When I opened the doors of my studio to fellow photographers, I expected to teach people how to improve their images. It was not a hope or a maybe, but a mandatory commitment I made and continue to make to everyone who studies with me. You WILL improve the way you see, the way you take pictures, and the way you understand Art & Design. Why do I believe this?
I believe there are certain aspects of being a photographer that can and cannot be taught. Master artists develop a sixth sense after years of training that only comes with maturity. But everything short of that last 1% is based on a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding that is passed down from one generation to the next.
As an artist, it is my personal passion to share the knowledge that was given to me over the years. By combining my training as a sculptor, builder, draftsman, and photographer, these workshops will open up a level of understanding for you that is simply not taught in any other workshop in the world. Believe me, if someone was teaching it, I would have taken that course myself.
2015 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
FLORENCE, ITALY May 8, 9, & 10 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 day workshop 1,900 usd COMPLETE
MATERA, ITALY May 15, 16, & 17, 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 day workshop 1,900 usd COMPLETE
BERLIN, GERMANY June 11, 12, 13, & 14, 2015 (Thursday – Sunday)
With Leica Store Miami: SIGN UP HERE
4 Day Workshop 2,450 usd COMPLETE
LONDON, ENGLAND June 19, 20, & 21, 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 Day Workshop 1,900 usd COMPLETE
New York City, USA July 25, 2015 (Saturday)
Theme: SHOOTING A SERIES: How to build a series for awards and exhibitions
1 day workshop 495 usd COMPLETE
VENICE, ITALY September 25, 26, & 27, 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 Day Workshop 1,900 usd SOLD OUT, open space is now filled.
KYOTO, JAPAN November 6, 7, & 8, 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 Day Workshop 1,900 usd SOLD OUT
N E W: KYOTO, JAPAN November 13, 14, & 15, 2015 (Friday – Sunday)
3 Day Workshop 1,900 usd 1 space left…and its got your name on it
New York City, USA November 14, 2015 (Saturday)
Theme: YOUR WORLD: Discover how to find beauty in everyday things
1 day workshop 495 usd
APPLY NOW: firstname.lastname@example.org
DON’T SEE YOUR CITY
If you would like to arrange a workshop in your part of the world, email us at email@example.com and we can make an arrangement. (4 person minimum)
Workshops come in all shapes and sizes, from lecture halls to solo tours. My workshops are scaled to feel like the perfect dinner party. There’s just enough variety to keep things interesting, but not so many people that we feel weighed down. This allows me to spend time with everyone because I truly enjoy teaching. A classroom with a bunch of numbed out college students, being overcharged for their educations was never an interest of mine. I want to work with photographers who take time out of their daily lives to develop their craft with a camera. These workshops are designed for us to work individually on your skills, aspirations, and your ability to See more clearly than ever before.
The reason the workshops are so unique is because they provide a shortcut to years of artistic study. We have all heard photographers say, “I could not draw, so I decided to become a photographer.” That is a guaranteed admission that they do not know anything about how to design a picture. Cartier-Bresson said it best when he revealed that taking pictures is “Recognition of an order.” I enjoy photography so much because of my training as a draftsman. But you do not have to spend ten years studying as a draftsman. The camera takes care of reproduction, but it needs an intelligent eye to guide it to success. Understanding the Principles of Design used by the great master artists will:
- Improve your ability to see beyond anything you have encountered before.
- Open your eyes to the vast resources that lie in master artworks around the world (you think the Sistine Chapel was interesting before? Just wait till you take Introduction to Design)
- Teach you that once you understand the Principle of Design you will NEVER run out of material.
Re-Inventing the Critique
Who wants to sit in a room and have a bunch of strangers tell them about their pictures?…No one. I understand this. Between university, teaching, and professional work I have been a part of critiques and panel discussions that convinced me, there is a BETTER WAY TO CRITIQUE. These workshops take a completely new approach to giving critiques. I won’t reveal all the secrets (there are snoops on the Internet who would love to know what I’m doing), but here is a loose description.
- Bring images that inspire you. I want to see what motivates you to take pictures. It matters.
- We will compare what you WANT to do with what you are actually doing. This will allow you to see the tools your artistic heroes are using in each image.
- Then, instead of giving you a list of books or names, we will look at images that match your current level of design to give you a step by step approach to reaching your goals. Successful artists are not made over night. But I don’t believe in making things harder than necessary. Just because I have been studying art for two decades, does not mean you need to suffer through it too. These workshops were created to make life easier than normal.
Relax and Enjoy
Before we get too serious, let us remember that we love photography because it brings us pleasure. Sit back, enjoy a glass of Barolo and let’s have a look at your images. Developing a critical eye is part of being a good photographer, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves in the process. The hardships should be in picture taking, but once it’s all over let’s enjoy some good meals together. Wherever we are in the world, we enjoy the best in authentic, local cuisine. My preferences for food, travel, and accommodations are simple…I value locally grown artisanal goods in every shape and form.
“Never is etiquette and good form observed more carefully
than by experienced travelers when they find
themselves in a tight place.”
— Captain Frank Worsley
of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance
10 Things you will NOT find at my workshops
- Gear Heads. We like cameras, but we prefer the pictures they make.
- Big Egos. Image making is a 45,000 year old tradition and has produced some of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known. We proceed humbly.
- Temper Tantrums. We are in it together and even when things go wrong, we remember Captain Worsley’s quote above.
- Camera Bi Partisanship. It does not matter if you use a Phase One, Leica, Hasselblad, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Ebony, Leaf, Alpa, Pentax (am I leaving anyone out?) We will not be debating which platform is better. My only concern is what is good for you.
- Fist Fights during critiques. Unless we all have our cameras out and can practice shooting the scene as it develops. Band-aids will be provided at no extra charge.
- Photo Vests, Camera backpacks, and white gym socks. While we might not be ninjas, we don’t want to scream photographer by the way we look. A stealthy gentleman or gentlewoman is greatly appreciated. And no one in the business of aesthetics should be walking around in pulled up white gym socks.
- Tour Guides. We will sniff out interesting parts of the globe together. Photographers use translators and handlers, guides are for tour buses.
- Elitists. We come from a range of academic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Remember if your nose is in the air it’s very hard to take a good picture.
- The Rule of 3rds. Known to artists as the Rebated Square, I will dispel with all of the childish guidelines of composition that prevent photographers from making better pictures.
- HDR. HDR is an insult to an artist’s sense of value, color, and hue. Its effects on the greater photographic community have been disastrous. These workshops will restore your sense of authority over the subject matter and remove the crutch of technology from photography.
Testimonials from participants
“I have been used to long exposed landscape shots saturated with rich colors and hence, I thought my first visit to Italy would be Cinque Terra known for its vibrant villages by the sea. As I searched through websites on photo workshops on Italy, Adam’s “10 Things you will NOT find at my workshops” caught my attention. I decided to give Florence a try.
The one-on-one session with Adam opened a new perspective for me on photography. While I was focusing on technicality and composition on my photos for critic, Adam asked what I really wanted to shoot and provided guidance me through the works of major artists and photographers. He used Edward Hopper’s works to illustrate how a picture was composed from scratch and how it could apply that to photography. Christina’s world was another piece of art work used to stimulate thoughts on one of my photos submitted for critic. Looking back at my photos I started to be more conscious on what was I trying to tell in my picture.
“I did not really think it was possible. Try this: go to the British Museum, find a staircase with good light (happens to be on the left as you enter the museum) and stay there 2 hours and take pictures and chat with people as they pass bye. If you are with Adam very quickly it becomes a routine; find the light, take pictures.
He has a canny ability to walk you through a scene and make you see the light. Along the way you get tips on adjusting your settings – f-stop, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and such.
“Initially I was looking for a course on photography that could bring me further from the point where I know all the technical stuff to advancing in the realm of knowing how to create a good photograph in terms of composition, colors, contrasts and conveying the right message and feeling to the people that look at my images. During my expeditions on the internet I got familiar with the term visual design and searching for courses on that topic I found Adam’s website and read about his vision on applying classic art principles to photography. I also watched his ‘bridging the gap’ video where he elaborates on the topic. Visual design or visual language struck me as a good next step for me so I decided to enroll in the spring 2014 Matera workshop of Adam. Matera and it’s Sassi is a fantastic place to do the workshop. We had a very inspiring group for this course, a mixture of people from all over the world.
The workshop was a great experience and I learned a lot from it which still benefits my photography. Thanks again Adam for the valuable lessons learned! Matera is the best workshop I have attended so far and worth every penny.
At this point I am ready for a next step. In consultation with Adam and his understanding of my interests and style of photography I decided to enroll for another workshop with him in Venice next year where we will be focusing on creating images like in movies and storytelling.”
–Jan Kooreman, Matera 2014 & Venice 2015
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.”
–Greg Burke, Berlin 2014
“Hi Adam firstly I want to thank you for a quite amazing workshop in Kyoto, it was such a powerful experience it has taken a few weeks distance for me to collect my thoughts, here is my attempt!
Why do we go on a photographic workshop half way across the world? To learn, be challenged, to be stretched, maybe visit a brand new place, meet interesting people, get out of a comfort zone, to see the world with fresh (photographer’s) eyes. Also I hoped to come home changed somehow – to grow and move along my journey as a photographer. I hoped to develop my style, establish a more personal visual handwriting.
Often in life such high expectations are not met, more rarely they are exceeded by a large margin…
We had a great group, open, trusting, supportive, positive, curious, easy to smile and laugh, slow to take offence. And very nervous of course! We were prepared to step outside our comfort zone, keen even despite the ‘perceived’ risk of hurt egos, to hear your views and so experience your objective, studied, calm and artistic dialogue about and around our own photography.
All seemed to understand that you get out of life what you put in and despite the alpha (fe)male component that is an integral part of this type of workshop, our 6 students understood that that when you are part of a group, no individual can control the pace of the days, so being able to balance the desire to push on and take pictures with having a collective experience in a group helps you to get the most out of a workshop. Perhaps having a 50/50 male/female split of students helped here.
Most importantly your positive style and calm leadership set the tone from the start.
The end of day feedback sessions were a memorable part of the week:
Classical painting drawing and sculpture, composition, contemporary photography, crafts, construction, lighting, exposure – the knowledge of the visual arts that you brought into the feedback sessions seemed endless and yet you wear that knowledge lightly and share it freely with enthusiasm and a total lack of pretension. I learned so much and of course came away realizing how much more there is to learn…
And for me discussing “why do we make art” and sharing some life experiences into the small hours was as enjoyable as some of the photographic work we did – lubricated by a Japanese craft beer or two of course!
Perhaps this was not a typical group as I also felt the workshop was more about the art than the gear – in this respect I was fundamentally changed by the workshop – since I got back I have sold almost all my kit and I’m going back to one camera and a couple of lenses. I realized in Kyoto that my gear habit was getting in the way of learning and not improving my work as I’d hoped.
Although Kyoto with its wonderful Temples more than lived up to my expectations I will never forget the special workshops we had and the amazing subjects that you had arranged for us to work with:-
· Nakagawa-san: traditional Japanese artist/woodworker in his workshop
· Takafumi Kawakami, the Zen monk, in his family Temple Shunkoin (read about here)
· Tomatae: the maiko, a trainee geisha.
As a street photographer used to shooting a moving target, I really got a huge amount of learning from working with these fascinating subjects. Framing, composition, lighting and editing my shots – I could see a definite improvement in my work during the week. There is no doubt it’s easier to make a good picture with interesting subject matter!
In summary thanks again to you (and the group) for a really memorable experience. I learned a lot and as with any learning experience I took some steps back to go forward. I was out of my comfort zone at times and feel I got the benefit from that. Unsurprisingly perhaps, I didn’t suddenly develop a unique handwriting but I did start to realize I do make pictures in my own style, an unexpected and really rewarding outcome. I am still processing the week nearly 2 months later, that doesn’t happen very often.
I am really looking forward to joining you in London for another amazing workshop subject – I didn’t even know anyone still produced handmade ‘Globes of the World’, as you said, probably only Brits could do it!”
–Steve Richards, Kyoto Workshop 2013, London Workshop 2014, Matera 2015, London 2015, & Kyoto 2015
“Having attended numerous (19 at last count) photographic workshops I feel I am qualified to judge the caliber of workshops.
I returned two weeks ago from Adam Marelli’s Kyoto Photographic Workshop and I found I needed a little time to recover from the jet lag as well as from the overall effect the workshop had on me. I found myself recalling many of the activities and conversations. Most of all the camaraderie of the participants and the genuine interest Adam took in each of us. There was very little “you should” or “you must” but there Was honest appraisal and positive reenforcement. Adam’s art-based approach to photographs is both encouraging and challenging. As the oldest person in the group I found myself wondering – where has he been all my life!?
My assessment, and hence this testimonial, is to acknowledge his teaching skills, his ability to convey concepts in a clear manner, his skill at putting everyone at ease and his arrangement of a mixture of interesting shooting sites make his workshop an experience you won’t soon forget. And his input something that can sustain you photographically for quite a long time.
I envy two of our participants who are able to attend his next workshop in Chiang Mai. On the other hand, I look forward to my return to the New York Metropolitan area in the spring when I can partake in a series of one to ones with him. Thank you Adam”
–Penny Breen, Kyoto 2013 & NYC 2012 & One on One Program
“As a novice photographer I was a bit nervous about joining Adam’s workshop. However, I had an amazing time and learned a great deal. Adam clearly and patiently explained fundamentals of composition and lighting to me. He spent a great deal of time with every photographer in the workshop, giving detailed feedback. He was always available to answer questions. Adam and Misaki were incredible hosts, organizing a series of interesting shoots— culminating in a shoot with a maiko (geisha in training) at a Kyoto temple. Wow!
As a beginner I especially appreciated Adam’s passion for photography and art— which was encouraging and contagious! I’m looking forward to my next workshop in two months in Thailand! Thanks Adam, I’m hooked!”
–A.J Hoge, Kyoto 2013, Chiang Mai 2014, & One on One Program
“Adam offers participants an increased self-awareness on observation. His approach focuses on a continuity of factors (in this case art and photography.) I found it influential not only as a photographer but also as an architect—perhaps a Renaissance approach. Something that in our contemporary lives is often ignored.”
–Arturo Rojas, Prague 2013
“I decided to join Adam’s workshop in London after seeing how radically my brother’s photography had changed for the better after he had attended a session. Richard used to think it was enough to have ‘something interesting’ in a photo to make it interesting. Cameras themselves were an endless source of fascination for him from a technical point of view.
Adam showed him how and why great images work, how to watch and wait for opportunities rather than chasing them, how to make the camera work for him, rather than imagining that a good camera will somehow take good photos… because it is a good camera.
I’d picked up a camera again after a long spell of detachment. The digital era has brought us overexposure to more unthinking visual material than ever before. For some years, I’d lost my appetite for trying to stand my ground with a camera in a world awash with the pollution.
Deciding to apply the potential of new technology to more mindful ways of seeing has taken considerable effort. Adam’s workshop helped me to make more sense of fine work to which I responded strongly without really knowing why. He fed my imagination for capturing the absurdities of modern life in the places I go within a great tradition. He’s triggered a new consciousness about intuitions. I’m applying what I am learning every time I pick up the camera now. I’m enjoying the afterglow.
Adam wears his expertise lightly and has the knack of making workshop participants comfortable on their journey after nudging them beyond their expectations. I only wish there had been more time to work with him in London.”
–Eva Kaluzynska, London Workshop 2013
“Following a workshop with Adam is like a cold shower. After the initial shudder, it is very refreshing. Adam focuses on improving your composition and moving you from candid “snapshots” to well thought photography. His background in art and architecture clearly are core elements of how he perceives what makes a good photo and what turns them into art. About de-constructing (what works and what does not) and re-constructing.
The workshop is not about shooting techniques or post-processing but about learning to see. So if you look for that, this might not be for you. However if you want to upgrade the level of your photography, are open and willing to be taken out of your comfort zone, in a nice and subtle way, then this is for you. If you like architecture, art, music then having the opportunity to talk with Adam over coffee, a glass of wine, dinner … is an additional bonus.
I will certainly follow another workshop with Adam. He took me right out of my comfort zone and I am working on step-by-step building up my skills, or so I hope. It will take time, but Adam has shown how.”
–Dirk Heyman, Zurich Workshop 2013, Kyoto 2014, & Venice 2015
“The workshop in Prague brought me to a new level of photographic appreciation. Your criticism based on sound artistic concepts and comparison with masters like Cartier-Bresson were particularly enlightening, opening a path to more discerning evaluation on the interaction of light, subject and technique. Street photography and portraiture were exciting discoveries, with challenging new environment and equipment.”
–Carlos Bertoni, Prague Workshop 2013, Berlin 2014, & One on One Program
“Last week I was privileged to spend two days at a Leica Akademie Street Photography Workshop with Adam Marelli. I now look at my photography, a lifetime passion as before and after. The first day we went out on the city streets and to Madison Square and Union Square Parks. We were encouraged to pick 3-5 of our favorite shots to present the following day. Adam spent unhurried time with each of us carefully, methodically and constructively evaluating our shots. He is a classically trained artist with a profound knowledge of art history. He understands that the camera is a recent tool that is part of an unbroken chain with ancient lineage in effectively communicating visual experience. While we looked at the work of iconic photographers, we also studied the work of great painters. When one of the participants asked who we should study to improve our understanding of street photography, Adam replied Caravaggio, Hopper and Mucha. He had us focus on their use of light, background and composition. By the time he was done, my eye had undergone an aesthetic transformation that will stay with me.
On the second day we went to Central Park to shoot. Upon review of my shots, it was hard to believe that I was the same person with a Leica in hand that I was on Day 1. The shots were consistently more dynamic, punchier, and dramatically less cluttered. After hearing the expression “a strong image” for years, I finally truly understood what it meant. I could not be more enthusiastic about working with Adam, and hope to be able to continue my studies with him.”
–Alan B. Abramson, New York Leica Akademie 2013 & Project Development 2014
Adam Marelli’s workshop in Matera, Italy was an experience never to be forgotten .Adam chose a location filled with marvelous photographic opportunities, many restaurants and cafes to experience the delicious local Italian foods and a base that was both luxurious and romantic.
The pace of the five day workshop was relaxed. There was plenty of time to explore the many locations in the old city both alone and with the workshop participants with Adam as the guide.There could have been more emphasis on the design and artistic traditions that Adam is most noted for.
However the critique sessions were valuable and as the workshop unfolded it was clear that a lot of what he imparted would ‘sink in’ in the months to follow. This proved to be the case particularly when I could look at a master’s work and work out how he or she had used their knowledge to construct a photograph. Better still when I achieved something similar myself.
Adam is a man with a great deal of classical art knowledge, but with no ego getting in the way of teaching his particular way of looking at photography as an art form. He has become a friend as I am sure many others who have participated in his workshops around the world have become too.
–Peter MacDonald, Matera Workshop 2013 & One on One Program
Having recently attended your London 2013, 3 day workshop, I wanted to give something back other than just “it was great”, or “excellent”. Hopefully by describing my experience it will give a better insight for anyone who is thinking of attending one of your workshops. My reason for attending was because I knew I needed help to move to a higher level with my work. I knew something was wrong, but did not really understand what it was or more importantly how to fix it. After a years research I decided you looked to be the person with the knowledge and skill set that would hopefully help me. My goals for the workshop were to gain an understanding of design and structure in an image and how to improve my editing/selection of my work.
Firstly, I must say working with you was relaxed, friendly, open, supportive & very constructive. The first days, one – one critique session on the images I brought along (some of my best) was extremely useful. Especially how you pointed out and gained my agreement on what I needed to work on to move to a higher level.
I gained more understanding on design and structure, and what makes a strong image with staying/carrying power from the first exercise you set, and the explanation on why some images worked and others did not, than years of previous looking and reading. Over the 3 days of putting into practice your tips and guidance on what could improve my work, I feel I made a transition from a person who just took photographs to a person who makes images/pictures. You helped me gain Clarity and achieve my course objectives.
For anyone thinking of joining you on a workshop, I would say understand what you want from the workshop and then just do it, Adam will give you all the information, tools and guidance/support you require or ask for. But, do not expect Adam to turn you into a photographer, only you can do that.
Look forward to seeing you soon!