Blog - Carla Coulson
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My Journey To Better Health-Goodbye Auto-Immunes

auto immune, alopecia, thyroid, graves disease, lichen sclerosus

Photo of me by Loc Boyle


Dear Friends,

This has nothing to do with photography but if you are interested in health then you might enjoy reading on.

I have been meaning to share this news with you for a little while and many of you have written to me since I first posted about discovering I had 3 auto-immune conditions in 2014.

I know it probably feels odd to talk about such a personal subject but what I realized is how many people are afflicted with this stuff. Once I wrote my first blogpost it felt like a pandemic. Wonderful peeps shared their stories with me and I realized I wasn’t Robinson Crusoe!

After 3 years on a natural diet, all three auto-immunes have been kicked to the kerb! No thyroid, no alopecia and no lichen sclerosus (and I promise you no-one wants this) and no auto-immune antibodies. If you were in Paris last week and you saw a gal cha cha chaing down Rue du Rivoli, that was me.

auto immune, alopecia, thyroid, graves disease, lichen sclerosus

Photo of me by Loc Boyle (you too would be laughing like a manic if you were trying to balance

on a moving boat on the Amalfi Coast LOL)

Many of you may recall or have read one of my other posts where I posted my thyroid values as the months and years passed, they continued to improve as my body started to heal but almost 14 months ago they started to swing in the opposite direction (yikes). It was everything I had read and almost expected but I had to admit I was a little bit disappointed that this wasn’t finishing quicker.

There were moments where it got really hard and not only was I on a Paleo diet (with very little meat) but then I took it to new and exciting levels and went on a low oxalate diet, which meant green juices for me were like poison. The diet wasn’t the only thing I had to change, I had to change the way I did things. I had to let go of trying to be superwoman and start building breaks, time out and time off into my life and schedule and asking for help when I needed it.

This has been a great challenge for me but the secret sauce in getting well. Your nervous system can’t heal if you are constantly on overdrive and pumping truckloads of cortisol into your body daily.

So for the past 3 years I have been gluten free, I eat industrial quantities of vegetables and fruit, eat little processed foods such as bread, pasta, snacks etc (even gluten free ones). Gave up coffee for a year but started having one or two a day, have the occasional glass of wine and never went back to using any products in the home that are toxic. Oh and I laugh, dance and ride my bike as often as I can.

I have learnt to meditate (a work in progress) and made exercise a non-negotiable!

What this journey has taught me:

1. If you can find a naturopath and a doctor to work together with you it’s the best way forward

2. What works for me mightn’t work for you. All of us are different (that’s the good bit) and our own unique chemistry requires our own unique recipe

3. We are responsible for our health (not a doctor) and we should ask questions and do our own research and find someone we trust to help us improve it.

4. Fun, laughter, joy is the best cure! There was a moment when I was miserable, when I was scared of food. I was frustrated when I would find another bald spot on my head and eating such a reduced diet. One day I realized I wasn’t having any fun, so I booked a massage and made sure I did some fun stuff each week and started taking it a little less seriously.

5. The human body is the most amazing organism on the planet and if we treat it with love and respect, it can respond.

6. Exercise is better than Advil! I always thought the statement about ‘listening to your body’ was a bunch of BS but hey if you are willing to listen to your body, it will tell you everything you need to know. I learnt that walking, biking or doing aerobic exercise would get rid of scratchy ‘acid battery’ knees and it does reduce inflammation.

7. I realized how little I knew about food. About what it does to us and it has been the best 3 years of my life reading, watching and learning about how powerful food is.

8. I thought ‘how unlucky I was’ when I was sitting in the doctor’s office 3 years ago and what I realized instead is ‘how lucky I was’. How lucky I had this little cosmic slap in the face before things really got out of hand. How lucky I was that I could pull up this speeding train wreck that was heading into a deeper darker place.

9. Controlling your breath by slowing it down, calms your nervous system. I realised there are so many situations where I literally stop breathing,  like when I am taking a photo or even when I am working at the computer. I take time out of the day to retrain this habit.

10. Meditation has been a godsend literally! I love to think it does more than one thing and one of the big bonuses is the direct line to the universe.. When you slow your mind down, get our of your head space and into your heart all sorts of amazing stuff comes to you. Great ideas, solutions, inspiration and your desires all happen to me after meditation and now I have the habit of looking skyward and saying thanks..

11. It’s all in your intestine! The way home to good health is repairing your tired, exhausted intestine. Bringing back the right flora to life so it can do its job.

You will find a lot of material about what I did and resources on this post HERE including many of the books I have read and the things I have tried. If you are starting your journey today take heart, there will be dark days but I can promise you there will be such a great sensation of taking care of you,  there will be so many bright, pain free days ahead of you, every cucumber and salad will be worth it.

These two books are two of my favourites

The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls
The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush by Andreas Moritz

The past 3 years have been a gift in every sense. I have been pushed way out of my comfort zone, frustrated, desperate, sad, happy and elated.  The experience made me shape up and take a good look at how I was living. It started me on a road to greater places, deeper understanding of why I am here and the real power that lies within each of us and hell it took me sooooo long to to crack that open.

Instead of a meltdown it turned into a spiritual awakening, for which I will be forever grateful for. Not only did I get better health but it cleared the fog and allowed me to see my future and where I wanted to go so much more clearly.

Sending you love and wishes and good health always.

Carla x

PS. For the thyroid folk the first and the last test results

Latest tests 2017            Original Test Values in 2014

TSH – 1.79              <0.005
T4 – 16.7                 20.1
T3 – 4                      5.6
TRAB – 1.5              11.9

My Flower Girls Now Available In Australia

forman picture framing, carla coulson, mimosa, wattle, paris, jeune fille en fleur,

Left: Window Forman Picture Framing, Right: Late For Love copyright Carla Coulson

Dear Friends,

Just when you feel like you know many great people doing cool artistic things in the world, up bobs another fabulous one that surprises you.

This was the way I met Kara at Forman Picture Framing and how we started out recent collaboration. From my end it was one of those Instagram love affair moments when I found her account. I remember scrolling through all her fabulous images and loving her eye, her sensititvity to colours and art and thinking ‘dang, I bet that girl is cool’.

forman picture framing, carla coulson, mimosa, wattle, paris, jeune fille en fleur, delphiniums, fine art print flower, flowers,

Left: I Saw Her Standing There and Right Photo by Forman Picture Framing

As things go on Instagram, we palled up! Yes, it became the mutual admiration club and well we just had to take it one more step and that is my exciting news.

Melbourne and Australian folks…. Drumroll…  the beautiful Kara at Forman Picture Framing is now stocking my Jeune Fille En Fleur fine art prints  so you can order them directly from her, have her frame them like a work of art (whoops they already are) and you get to hang your finished print on your wall without the agony of figuring out the framing on your own.

forman picture framing, carla coulson, mimosa, wattle, paris, jeune fille en fleur, delphiniums, fine art print flower, flowers,


Left: Going Places and Right Photo by Forman Picture Framing

You can check them all out HERE

Huge thanks to the lovely Kara and the folks at Forman Picture framing and for anyone doubting that relationships are real on Instagram, we are proof!

Sending love



How To Tell A Travel Story of Architecture

Puglia, italy, martina franca, baroque architecture, carla coulson, baroque window, photography workshop, travel photography,

Dear Photographers,

I know everyone wants to take better photos and capturing the architecture of a city or place we are travelling to is high on my list.

The architecture of certain places prod me out of bed early in the morning and the town of Martina Franca and surrounding villages left me breathless.

Here is a basic lesson in shooting different types of architecture of a town to tell it’s story.

How To Tell A Travel Story of Architecture

Iconic Masterpieces

Every city (almost) has an iconic piece of architecture (or two) that defines it. Sydney has the Opera House, Paris the Tower Eiffel, Venice the Doges Palace and St Marks Church and Florence the incredible Duomo. Martina Franca has this beautiful baroque church of known as the Basilico di San Martino.

Try and include an iconic masterpiece in your travel story, you can bring your own slant to it by shooting it in the light you like, or a particular time of day or something quirky in the foreground.

How To Tell A Travel Story of Architecture

Humble Exteriors

A well rounded travel story needs many different angles of the city which means showing different areas and architecture. Although Baroque can be majestic in Martina Franca it also can be humble. Every doorway is framed in a baroque masterpiece.

Keep your eyes peeled for architecture that tells a different story to the iconic masterpieces.

How To Tell A Travel Story of Architecture

Get Up High

In most cities there is an important landmark (such as the cathedral in Milan below) where you can get a different vantage point on the city. Can be fun too if there is a lift!

This was taken from a beautiful balcony where I held my first travel photography workshop in Puglia.

How To Tell A Travel Story of Architecture


Interiors are another fabulous way to get in the architecture of a city. Getting inside adds depth to your story and tells a more intimate part of the cities life. The pic was taken in Palazzo Ducale in Martina Franca

photo 6

Architectural Details

I am a huge fan of details in all their form from architectural details to simple striped curtains covering a doorway to a house, a carved face on a corner of a street, washing strung in front of a beautiful buildings.. Don’t overlook details, they often tell the best stories!

I hope you enjoyed this little post about telling the story of a town’s architecture.

Love and light


PS: if you thought these pics were beautiful standing in these streets is even better. One place available for my JUNE STORYTELLING WORKSHOP IN PUGLIA in this very town. Feel free to email me at cause it’s going to be good!

Want To Take Photos Full of Heart Without Figuring It Out On Your Own?

Puglia Workshop

Dear Friends,

I love photography! It has brought me all the joy and reward I have in my life today.

I have gone back through so many of my different phases with photography to understand the process of learning so I can be a better teacher.

One of the things that I love to relive is how I started to take photos with conviction, photos that made me stop in my tracks in the darkroom when they appeared, photos that had soul and a lot of heart. The photos that were no longer capturing a scene but were capturing life and a story.

Puglia Workshop

Here’s what I have learnt:

To take photos full of heart you need to master the basics of photography, understand composition, shutter speed and ISO then you need to know who you are!!

Waddya mean I can hear you saying?  You need to dial into who you are as a person, to be awake to life and the moments that touch you, that mean something to you, that you want to capture in all their beauty.

To do this you need to know your values, what you stand for, what excites you, what motivates you and the wonderful thing is to profoundly know this stuff you can’t do it from your lounge-room chair. You have to get out there amongst life and open yourself and your heart. You need to decide to be available to take the next step and channel all those photos that are stilling calling you but you just can’t capture.

Puglia Workshop

Life and situations call and you have to be willing to risk a little of you every day and in every photo and when you risk a little of yourself (and I don’t mean getting beaten up by a gang) the universe rewards you with magic.

Risking something might look like asking a stranger to take their photo, taking a different route in a familiar neighbourhood, booking a holiday to a new destination or doing something you have only dreamed about doing but never done. Risking might be standing in the one place for 30 mins waiting for the perfect moment, it might be telling your husband it’s your time and leave them to prepare breakfast and go for a morning walk.

Puglia Workshop

Teaching manual photography requires patience and time, my true love is teaching something else. It’s teaching the next step, how to see, how to feel, how to take an idea, an image, a story and give it wings.

Puglia Workshop

Last week I flew half way around the world to Hawaii to take my learning to a next step and yes I could have muddled through and figured some of it out on my own but I loved being catapulted to a new level with new learning and in a group. What I have learnt not only from teaching photography but being in a group is that you learn just as much from the group as you do from the teachers.

These photos were taken in beautiful Puglia in Italy that has everyone around the world with their knickers in a knot (my Aunty loved this expression and I thought of her today) where I will be taking a group of photographers to a new level in their photography.

Puglia Workshop

Our Classroom in Martina Franca ready for the photographers

If you feel like risking a little, living a lot and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to take photos you only dared to take, we would love you to join us.

You can watch this video to see a little spirit of my previous Puglia workshop.

Please feel free to contact me at or read all the details HERE.

There will be friendship, learning, delish food and beauty to fill your heart. You can read what the previous workshop had to say HERE. 

It’s the trip of a lifetime.




Carla Coulson In Harper’s Bazaar

harpers bazaar, carla coulson, italian beaches, photographer, photographer life,

Dear Friends,

I was so honoured and chuffed to be featured in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, one of my favourite magazines.

When the gorgeous gang at Harper’s sent me the layout for the article, it looked like a visionboard I made for my life  years ago, the only thing it isn’t a visionboard, they are real photos of me and ones I took and it is my life. Yippee..

I saw the most beautiful article recently written by Arnold Schwarzenegger on all the people who have helped him create the success in his life and I felt like he was reading my mind… so many people have helped me throughout the years including the marvellous folk at Harper’s Bazaar.

Arnie wrote:

 “Every time I give a speech at a business conference, or speak to college students, or do a Reddit AMA, someone says it.

“Governor/Governator/Arnold/Arnie/Schwarzie/Schnitzel (depending on where I am), as a self-made man, what’s your blueprint for success?” Arnie wrote “They’re always shocked when I thank them for the compliment but say, “I am not a self-made man. I got a lot of help.

It is true that I grew up in Austria without plumbing. It is true that I moved to America alone with just a gym bag. And it is true that I worked as a bricklayer and invested in real estate to become a millionaire before I ever swung the sword in Conan the Barbarian.

But it is not true that I am self-made. Like everyone, to get to where I am, I stood on the shoulders of giants. My life was built on a foundation of parents, coaches, and teachers; of kind souls who lent couches or gym back rooms where I could sleep; of mentors who shared wisdom and advice; of idols who motivated me from the pages of magazines (and, as my life grew, from personal interaction).”

I too stood on the shoulder’s of giants. In my case there have been so many sets of helping hands from art directors saying yes to a pitch or commissioning me to do a story, from publishers believing in a book idea or an assistant pointing out something I wasn’t seeing.

From a friend reading a first draft of my book and suggesting slight changes to all the wonderful people who bought it! And just like Arnie I too have mentors, people I look up to, ask for advice and help guide me through this magical thing called life and creativity.

There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thanked the people who have helped me and the people in my community, they are the people who made this happen for me.

So, THANK-YOU TO YOU for reading this, for opening this email and being part of my community and huge thanks to Harper’s Bazaar. Don’t forget to grab the latest issue.

I couldn’t do it without you.