Adagion Studio Photography
Cengiz Ozelsel is an international wedding photographer working primarily out of Miami and New York City. His objective is to capture the energy, rhythm, and emotion of the moment just the way his clients remember feeling it. As such, his approach to photography takes on a decidedly documentary style, in which he observes, senses, and anticipates. He has lived all over the world and currently resides in Miami with his Jamaican wife, Chantelle, and son, Jordan. It was Chantelle, who first recognized his talent and encouraged him to professionally pursue his passion for photography. I fell in love with his work from a wedding he shot in Cyprus a few years back and have seen his work regularly at destination weddings in all parts of the world.
How did you begin?
Like many kids, I was fascinated with cameras and photography immediately. I loved to use my grandmother’s Minolta film camera and just snap away. It was not until the end of business school and my early NY years that my interest shifted from landscape photography to photojournalism. I found it exciting to capture the atmosphere at parties, restaurants, and weddings. What’s more, friends loved my images and were eager to send around my Ofoto.
links. If you hear it often enough, you eventually start believing you are good… and so I ended up taking a wide range of courses to improve my technical understanding of portraiture, lighting, and documentary. I believe my breakthrough wedding was of a Jewish couple on a New York rooftop—the pictures were a stunning reflection of the raw emotion, love, and energy.
Your greatest inspirations?
I am inspired by a lot of things, including great photographers, fashion, color, ugliness, light, poverty, nature, different cultures, etc. My greatest inspiration when it comes to wedding photography is emotion and the unexpected… how can the unexpected be inspirational you may ask, but it is the moments in anticipation of the moments—and sometimes just the silence of contemplation.
My favorite photographer is Peter Lik. While he is best known for his landscape work, his art has something spiritual about it. It may sound a little commercial, but I love Picasso for his courage and vision to see things in new ways and kind of break with tradition. I admire Guy Hollingworth for his creativity, perfection, and sacrifices to become such an incredible illusionist. Finally, Mia Michaels with her distinct and unmistakable routines which are making dance sexy again.
I spend plenty of time on www.darbaroud.com in preparation for a crazy 250 kilometer race through the Moroccan desert, which I signed up to run in April, 2010. I get my sports updates from www.nba.com and www.sport1.de and my day-to-day news from my iPhone application for the Wall Street Journal.
What do you think makes your work unique?
I bring an honest, reactive (interestingly also an anticipatory), photojournalistic approach to the wedding business, which globally speaking is still largely trapped in traditional, prompted, and staged photography. With that said, I do not mind taking an artistic angle on portraiture sessions, which I market under “Trash the dress session.” The other thing that makes my work stand out is that I spend a lot of time on creating wedding collections that are timeless photo art as opposed to mere assemblages of great images…
Dream project for you would be to do?
Destination weddings are always exciting and colorful. My wish would be to tour West Africa by bike for half a year to capture the ambient beauty and ugliness…there is something particularly attractive about documenting life experiences ingrained on the faces of people whose raison d’être is survival, family, and community. Finally, my favorite individual (project) would be to photograph Shaquille O’Neal.
Dream dinner guest would be?
Shaquille O’Neal, whom I consider the most entertaining athlete ever. I also would love to meet Andre Agassi, for he must be the quintessential sportsman and humanitarian. I love to watch Bill Maher and John Stewart, who would surely make any dinner memorable. Can I name one more athlete—Georges St. Pierre, whom I consider a model mixed martial artist. While we are at it, Bill Clinton for his EQ!!
Anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
Please check out my work under www.adagion.com and www.adagion.com/gallery and feel free to drop by for a mean espresso.