Professional Nomad, visual storyteller, a poet at heart and a beautiful soul… Meet Marianna Jamadi, our favorite travel photographer.
While she is almost always on the move, capturing the world, we were lucky to catch up with Marianna Jamadi in her hometown, Long Beach, over a cup of coffee at Berlin Bistro.
As with many creatives, sometimes it takes few hurdles to overcome until you make the leap to follow what really is calling you. For Marianna, it was travel and photography. After quitting her 9-5 job in NYC, she decided she wants to photograph every member of her family ( and her family is huge, she is half Finnish, Half Indonesian) across the world, so she bought an around the world ticket and took off. Today, she has visited more than 20 countries, found her passion, captured people and places in their most raw and natural moments and became a recognized photographer. Looking at her pictures, you can see beyond the surface; you can feel that second as if you are there, with her, seeing what she sees. When we get serious fernweh, we scroll her Instagram for travel inspiration. But as a native California, Marianna shares some Long Beachlove with us, a town that she discovers every day new. Read on and make sure to follow Marianna on Instagram and her latest project, lb_see.
“I like to collect moments and freeze feelings in order to spark more.”
From Machu Picchu to Norway to Australia, you are traveling the world and capturing it with your camera. How did you get there? What were you doing before?
I have been taking pictures since college, but only truly knew who I wanted to be as a photographer when I traveled the world. I studied business in college and left to NYC to pursue fashion just out of college. While taking on every job to pay my NYC rent, I tried everything all the while still snapping pictures. When I took my long trip, my deep love for world documentation was clear. It was culture, places, and faces that I loved and that is what I have since been pursuing.
Your images are personal, raw, connected to the subject and often accompanied by thoughtful notes. What is the motivation behind your photography? What was the most memorable image you have taken?
I like to take pictures that stir something. My motivation is to create movement. Whether in the photo itself, or whether it’s the movement someone feels when they view my photograph, it’s movement that I’m after.
I will never forget the picture I took in the middle of Mongolia of a nomadic women tending to her harvest basket. She looked up at just the moment my finger hit the trigger.
Any advice for someone who wants to become a photographer? Or maybe travel the world?
There is nothing more important than doing what you love and seeing the world. My only advice is action. Keep shooting, keep planning, keep traveling. Know that doing what you love, or traveling comes with compromises. Know what is most important to you. Experience is the most lucrative currency.
You have lived in New York for seven years, traveled the world for 1,5 years, had quick stops in San Francisco and LA, and now you just got an apartment in Long Beach where you grew up. Why Long Beach? Why now?
I never thought I’d ever be living in Long Beach again. When I returned for family reasons, I found a Long Beach that was different than from what I knew as a kid. There is so much potential here in Long Beach that I wanted to harness all my experience and bring it to Long Beach. It is one of few beach cities around here that have a downtown right on the waterfront. Here I feel like I have the best of both worlds- city and beach.
★Peacock & Co for lovely house plants
★Howl Clubhouse for Yellow 108 Hats
★6th & Detroit for home goods
“If my pictures stir something, anything, then I know I’m on the right track.”
If we have only 12 hours in Long Beach, what should we do … Where do you take out-of-town friends?
I’d start with a coffee at Rose Park then do something active like a bike ride on the bike path on the beach or kayak or stand up paddleboarding at the Bay. Once you worked up an appetite, I’d head over to Berlin Bistro for lunch, take a stroll on the bluffs, and if you are there on a Sunday, head over to MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) where admission is free on Sundays. For a drink at sunset, head over to Cielo at the Sky Room for a view.
Where should we stay in Long Beach?
This is so hard because this is EXACTLY what LB is missing- a cool hotel.
SO I would say, find a cute Airbnb by the beach like this one.
It’s weekend in California….
SATURDAY OR SUNDAY…
I love lazy Sundays. A great day to slowly enjoy a long brunch and a long walk on the beach.
Do you have any weekend traditions…
Brunch, bike ride, and yoga at Purple Yoga.
Sleeping in or raising early…
I have lovely light in my apartment, so it makes it hard to sleep in very late. I’ll usually wake naturally around 8 am and get coffee brewing.
Favorite weekend breakfast…
I love the brunch at Berlin Bistro.
Beach or mountains…
I love both for different reasons. The beach sounds and cooling water always relaxes me in a way I cannot explain, but mountains always ground me. If I am looking for some introspection, I’ll head to the mountains, and if I need to release a deep sigh, I’ll head over to the beach.
I cannot put down the memoir Hold Still by Photographer Sally Mann
Your way to relax…
I live across from the beach, so I always love a walk to bike ride along the beach to calm my mind while releasing some energy.
Best kept California secret…
What do you love most about California?
I love the diversity of California. We are so lucky to have every kind of terrain. I am constantly inspired by the colors, textures, and life in California.
-as told to California Weekend
*Photography by Marianna Jamadi