LoneBackpacker Illustrates World Travels
Posted on 8.1.12
Story and Photos by TIM W. JACKSON
Adam Malis has definitely embodied that axiom about working to live rather than living to work. A former Wall Street stockbroker and medical supplies salesman, among other things, Adam’s vocations have paved the way for his avocation, which means he has worked as a means to save money for traveling.
Adopting the moniker the LoneBackpacker during the days of his heavy travel schedule, Adam has now opened a gallery in Waynesville showcasing his adventures around the globe. Along with wife, Natalie, the two operate LoneBackpacker Gallery of World Photography at 94 Depot Street.
His travels began in 1994 when he decided to spend a couple months seeing Europe. That trip turned into a six-month journey in which he visited more than 30 countries. From Andorra to Wales, he has now traveled to all seven continents and to more than 100 countries.
Opened in the spring of 2012, Adam jokes that he attracts customers with an adventurous spirit—not necessarily because of the subject matter of his gallery but because they are a few blocks off Main Street. “Maybe if you’re on your way to Frog Level, you’ll stop by,” he says.
Adam is part of the Downtown Waynesville Association and the Waynesville Gallery Association and hopes that those organizations and a nice crowd in town for Folkmoot (folkmoot.com) will help bring his gallery to the public’s attention.
Once inside, you’ll find dozens of Adam’s framed prints on the wall. Each has a description and some have a QR code that you can scan with your smart phone to see a video that accompanies the photo. “It makes it more interactive,” Adam says. “And it allows you to take something with you. You can always click on that video again later and have a little memory of the gallery.”
The current prints displayed are mostly a collection of Adam’s favorites from his digital era, which began in 2003. Everything on the walls is for sale, and he adds that customers can look through his portfolio books and choose prints from there, too. He says that he will swap out prints on the walls to replace those that aren’t selling as well or for more timely subject matter.
“If a particular country is in the news, then I might add some prints from that country,” he says. “And for Folkmoot, I’ve been to ten of the featured Folkmoot countries so I have prints from those places that we’ll be selling at the gallery and in a booth at the festival.”
The prints that Adam offers illustrate that you don’t have to use professional equipment or be a professional photographer to capture breath-taking images. The three point-and-shoot cameras that Adam used on his journeys are also displayed in the gallery. Adam says that his current venture is his first foray into actually selling his photos and “being a professional.”
In opening his new establishment, Adam says that one of his goals is to show people the rest of the world. “Most of the towns around here have a gallery that spotlights local nature or other local sites or landmarks,” he says. “There aren’t many places in Western North Carolina, though, where you can see the rest of the world—photos from all seven continents—in one visit.”
As for his current travels, Adam says that with two young children his visits to Third World countries are on hiatus until they get older. The family instead sets up a central base, such as in Amsterdam, and then takes lots of day trips.
“That enables us to have kind of a routine and familiar surroundings,” he says. “It also allows me to try different shots with varied lighting and at different times of the day.”
So while Adam’s methods may be changing, his love of travel and avid photography are not. The LoneBackpacker’s collection will continue to grow.
LoneBackpacker Gallery of World Photography is located at 94 Depot Street in Waynesville. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Wednesday and Sunday. For more information call 828.550.8105 or visit LBPgallery.com.