• October 2, 2013

Abelardo Morell on Capturing Dreams

“Artists, the good ones, tend to re-create the world for us.” —Abelardo Morell

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington from National Geographic’s October 2013 story Visions on Earth.

Abelardo Morell’s love for photography was founded in his uncle’s house in Cuba, pouring through the pages of photographs in National Geographic magazine. “The pictures always felt like they were magically made,” he says. Since immigrating to the United States at age 14, Morell has captured his own form of magic in his camera obscura photographs. Camera obscura pictures are created when light passes through a tiny hole in a specially designed camera, recording an image directly onto light-sensitive material. The image is then photographed. Morell uses this process to cast images of the outside world, such as rolling hills or Old Faithful, onto the walls of rooms or tents. Morell feels that his photos are earned because he is able to achieve something surreal with old-fashioned techniques and effort. He has received numerous awards and grants for his work, including the International Center of Photography 2011 Infinity Award in Art.—Kathryn Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow Abelardo Morell on his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Abelardo Morell
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Kathryn Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM

There are 47 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. etty
    October 31, 2013

    Yeah, share your art with others, so they can capture their dreams.

  2. Claudine
    October 27, 2013

    Magical !

  3. NRK
    October 26, 2013

    wonderful story

  4. Roz cusack
    October 26, 2013

    Beautiful use of photography and texture.

  5. imran haider
    October 26, 2013

    Mr. Morell is true to his word; he has shown me a new way of looking at the world. Beautiful work. best of luck

  6. artist praveen g nair
    October 23, 2013

    this is grate…..

  7. ashmore
    October 20, 2013

    Are you all mad? This is rubbish

  8. margie
    October 17, 2013

    What talent,Great work

  9. Kat McDonald Photography
    October 14, 2013

    Stunning work. Completely transporting…

  10. syed arif ali
    October 14, 2013

    Amazing work! excellent.

  11. Linus Christi
    October 14, 2013

    This is superb…. I will try to do this… Its realy amazing…

  12. Nishant Sharma
    October 14, 2013

    Awesome this channel

  13. Tanyi Zheng
    October 14, 2013

    Great art form!

  14. Sunciti_Sundaram
    October 13, 2013

    I Wish I Am With You And Learn The Technic. Extra Ordinary Indeed

  15. Margaret Bending
    October 13, 2013

    Abelardo Morell, is an Artist with his work he creates something unique and memorable, Thankyou for sharing this beautiful work.

  16. Daniel Gonzalez Romero
    October 13, 2013

    that´s something to recreate inside… congratulations

  17. Manu Cruz
    October 13, 2013

    Gran trabajo de este fotógrafo. Plasma una visión diferente de la realidad, increible. Awesome work

  18. Nancy Garcia Richey
    October 13, 2013

    This is absolutely beautiful. I plan to follow Mr. Morell on his website.

  19. Vasiliy Panchenko
    October 13, 2013

    Salvador Dali in Photography. Congenial innovation in work. Hard job and great experience – the roads
    to true Art…

  20. David Renzetti
    October 13, 2013

    I’m so glad there is still ways to make Photograpy an Arrt out there.

  21. Lydia Scerri
    October 13, 2013

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Kathleen Murphy
    October 13, 2013

    I love your work – it just makes me feel peaceful.

  23. Sonia Sheridan
    October 13, 2013

    Old idea tritely done. Needs fresh outlook. Sorry!

  24. fredrick federico
    October 13, 2013


  25. Mario Roncallo
    October 13, 2013

    Excelent idea…And beautiful works!
    Desde Argentine Republic, greetings,

  26. Rebeca
    October 13, 2013

    Another cuban that triumphs. We are everywhere it seems. Wonderful artist/
    I was fascinated with the pictures of National Geographic as well. It has lasted throughout my whole life/

  27. Roberto A Guzman
    October 10, 2013

    Un trabajo facinate

  28. Malcolm Glass
    October 7, 2013

    Beautiful surreal work. Fabulous interview. So many insights in two minutes!

  29. DR.Mohan Sharma
    October 6, 2013


  30. k.g.parthasarathy
    October 6, 2013

    Fine photos

  31. k.g.parthasarathy
    October 6, 2013

    Your photos and pictures and also the writings are always of high standard

  32. Jaime L Furtado
    October 6, 2013


  33. Farida Yeasmin
    October 6, 2013

    Wonderful & Valuable Picture

  34. Tomascarlos thrift
    October 6, 2013

    Mucho bueno

  35. Dorraine
    October 6, 2013

    An interesting and beautiful way to combine the textures and real life items of the photograph into the picture.

  36. Rae Zimmerman
    October 6, 2013

    I would like to learn more about this photographer as well as camera obscura. The images shown here are as if two layers of imaging are superimposed!

  37. rut
    October 6, 2013

    Wonderful technic in photography! It seems to me that photography is taking over the old art of painting? I love painting, and so admire photography too. It would be a good thing to learn the technics Abelardo Morell uses in photography. Much oblige. I enjoyed them very much. Thanks NG

  38. Balaji Kundalam
    October 6, 2013

    Amazing work!

  39. Pilar Iwankiw
    October 6, 2013

    A wonderful version of combined era’s

  40. Debbie Sequichie-Kerchee
    October 6, 2013

    I love how you use mixed media to create beautiful art!

  41. Judith Hill
    October 6, 2013

    Your work speaks to artists everywhere and leads our minds into other places and times. Thank you.

  42. Mario Alberto Valencia Mendoza
    October 6, 2013

    surrealismo inovador, me gusta.

  43. JG Parsons
    October 6, 2013

    Mr. Morell is true to his word; he has shown me a new way of looking at the world. Beautiful work.

  44. Dave Collins
    October 6, 2013

    Hauntingly beautiful, like an island recalled in a dream. And incidentally, yet another demonstration if the ways immigrants enrich our country. Rather than fighting to keep such creative people away, we should have more programs that will help us to embrace them.

  45. Lucia loper
    October 6, 2013

    beautiful I love the photo to art . This gives me an idea to try .

  46. Gabriell Rosa
    October 3, 2013

    Surreal work, combining old school methods with new school visions.

  47. Andon Andonov
    October 3, 2013

    True art! Congrat!

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