Category Archives: Photography Books

How I Photographed The Emotions Of Naples

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Shooting a book from scratch of a city you love is a wonderful project especially when it is as rich photographically as Naples.

Naples is Italy on steriods, everything is on surround sound, emotions are strong as is the driving! Life is rich, markets overflow on the streets and the Neapolitans inhabit their emotions (all of them) like a comfortable shirt.

I wanted Naples A Way Of Love to reflect this richness of emotions.

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Fab author Lisa Clifford and I discussed and researched Naples for months before shooting.

Lisa the true pro that she is got on the batphone straight to the Italian Cultural Association who gave us access to photograph so many special places out of hours and normally out of bounds.

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But for me what I really wanted to capture was the heart and soul of this great town and it’s people.

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On previous trips to Naples during a 12 year period I was astounded by the passion and verve with which the Neapolitans live life.

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They literally throw their bodies into a discussion on the simplest subject, live their lives on the streets for all to see, worry just about enjoying today as tomorrow is another day and revel in spontaneity.

I adored the body language of this guy!

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To capture this as a photographer you need to be part of life. Lisa and I walked the streets of Naples most days from daylight to dusk talking with the locals, drinking coffee with them, entering kitchens and pizzeria’s and watching life unfurl before our eyes.

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I am always looking at body language, trying to capture movement, being as discreet as possible in some moments and let life play out as naturally as possible in others and then provocative when I need to be so the image is full of life.

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I am always looking at life like choreographed music and what it is saying to me? A linked arm, a tender moment, fun, body language and when the moment it is right and all the legs and planets have aligned I snap!

This was the first time I have shot Italy since Italian Joy with total freedom and no agenda. Naples A Way Of Love and it’s photos were taken from the heart, in awe and wonder of this great town and for the pure joy of taking great photos.

Where can you get it?

All good books stores in Australia and New Zealand and if you can’t make it into one you can order it online here




“The crisis is not financial: the crisis is in people’s hearts. We need more love and happiness not money.”  Anna Matuozzo from Naples A Way Of Love 

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Portrait Inspiration – Natural Fashion








Hey have you ever wondered if loving fashion is a weakness?

Well, you just need to look at these spectacular photos of photographer Hans Silvester and the people of the Omo Valley to know that adorning and making ourselves beautiful is a part of the human race. 

I posted these images in 2008 and still love them all these years later. German photographer Hans Silvester spent five years travelling to the Omo Valley to capture these amazing images and they are celebrated in his book Natural Fashion: Tribal decoration from Africa.

Copyright of Hans Silvester from Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa.

Better than some of the fashion on the runways of Paris, the people of the Omo Valley celebrate the beauty of their natural surroundings by adorning themselves with flowers and seed pods, paint and feathers, grass and branches in a way that would have Jean Paul Gaultier or Karl Lagerfeld running for their sketchpads.  

So next time you are stuck for some amazing clothes and have no budget see what nature is offering.. You probably will be surprised!

Hans Silvester’s other book C’etait Ailleurs still remains one of my favourite books on black and white photography in Europe. This is the guy that road a moped from Paris to Istanbul, what a world he captured on the way. Exquisite..

Makes you want to get on the road.

“There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.” Joseph Addisson

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A Photographer’s Life – Dorothea Lange + Joe McNally

Copyright Dorothea Lange

 “I slid down in the seat and began to weep. I wept for her, for me, but mostly because the siren call of my first big story with a yellow border around it was more powerful than the call of fatherhood.”

Joe McNally, The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters

I bought Joe McNally’s book four years ago whilst I was looking to further my lighting techniques. When the book arrived I quickly flicked through it to see if the light in his images was the kind of light i was expecting it and hoping it would be –  there were many pictures of Joe’s work and without a doubt this guy has done his fair share of ‘photography kilometers’.

That night I curled up in bed and opened the book and read the above quote that referred to Joe leaving in a taxi to go off for his first National Geographic assignment and leaving his daughter and family behind. I had instant tears in my eyes.

What honesty and there it was in print for the whole world to see. I had a new admiration for a photographer I didn’t know simply because he had the courage to own up to something so painful and distressing as choosing a magazine assignment over fatherhood. And on that day he chose photography.

I am currently reading Dorothea Lange’s A Life Beyond Limits and for those  of you who don’t know her name you may know her work, she is the photographer who took many of the American depression’s most memorable photos (see above) and she too like Joe McNally was torn betweeen photography and in her case motherhood.

I am finding her story fascinating, a photographer in the 1920’s when women rarely had a career but choosing an artistic path was not encouraged. She decided to be a photographer but was told by her parents to do something she could ‘fall back onto’. Dorothea was smart enough to know even at a young age that all her youthful energy would be eaten up learning something she didn’t care about and adamantly pursued photography.

What a life and what hard decisions she had to make. She married, supported an artist husband, had children, ran a studio, cooked cleaned and provided financial and emotional support for them all. The writer describes Lange in today’s language as a ‘superwoman’, reading her story I was shaking my head knowing how much energy it takes for me to do what I do and asking myself ‘ I don’t know how she did it’.

Lange’s photographic journey leads her to documentary photography in the depression and a new husband. Her love for photography  asks her to make heart breaking decisions about leaving her family months at a time, a little like Joe McNally.

I often wonder how photographers ‘have it all’? I know as the years pass heading to the airport to leave my husband and my darling kitty becomes harder and harder. What if I had a child or children? What decision would I make?

For those of you who interested in photography and the journey of a photographer’s life I think you will find A Life Beyond Limits a fascinating read.

Any photographers out there that are torn?

Love to hear your thoughts.



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Portrait Inspiration – Arthur Elgort

All photos copyright Arthur Elgort

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Paris was exceptional, I am frightened even to say that as I know with a whip of his wand the Parisian weather god will bring on the grey skies and low cloud.

So starting the week with a beautiful day in Paris I thought I would share more beauty in the work of the fabulous Arthur Elgort.

Those of you that follow my blog regularly know by now that I love beauty. I am attracted to photographers who also love beauty and even though I also look at the raw work of The Terry Richardson’s and The Juergen Teller’s  of the photography world I always find myself skipping back to images where a woman’s beauty, emotions and connection are present. It’s a language I love.

So for those of you who have never met the fabulous Arthur Elgort’s work, here is a little Monday morning snack. Arthur is in his 70’s and still shoots for the world’s most fabulous magazines and is the master of the ‘snapshot’, images that feel like they happened naturally.

What an inspiration, I hope I am still making the pics I want to make when I am in my 70’s.

He is also the photographer of Camera Crazy, a fabulous book where he shoots people shooting!

Royal Ballet Bow to Arthur!!


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Richard Avedon – The White Background

 All images copyright Richard Avedon from In The American West

Avedon is a big name in our house right now!

Not only because Richard Avedon has  been one of the photographers I have always and still admire but it is the name of our little kitten. I named him Avedon because I loved the sound of Richard’s name and I am hoping some of his talent will rub off each time I call my kitten.. Kind of a like a million mantra’s a day.

I loved Avedon (the photographers) early fashion work in Paris and adore his portraits on a simple white background. His white background became his trademark. Avedon photographed everybody on it from politicians to actresses, dancers to farmworkers and I particularly adored his series called In The American West.

Avedon spent numerous summers driving around the West of America shooting real people and devoted as he was to capturing great pics he took his famous white background with him.

He placed the background in the shade and captured the workers and locals as they were in that moment on his large format camera. I had the great fortune to see this exhibition at the Jeu de Paume and have since purchased In The American West and adore his powerful portraits of ‘real’ Americans.

I often ponder whether these portraits would have been as strong if he had photographed them in their environment? The black and white combo with the white background allows the subject to speak to you.

What are you thoughts on a simple background? Years ago I was frightened by a white background but now I love it..

Keep it simple



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