Would You Let Your Child Have A Career As A Photographer? - Carla Coulson
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Carla Coulson, photographers life, harpers bazaar, photography as a career choice, italian joy, chasing a dream,

Would You Let Your Child Have A Career As A Photographer?

harpers bazaar, published, press, carla coulson, photography, creative coach, italy, chasing a dreamDear Friends,

I love this subject and probably not being a mum I have never had to worry about my child becoming a creative or a photographer but it is something I think about often.

I remember when I announced to the world (well my little world) almost 16 years ago after doing a photography course in Italy that I was going to become a photographer.

I had all sorts of reactions. A dear friend who was a radio announcer made a couple of wise cracks about the sun setting over the water and clichéd photos and with a wave of a hand sort of dismissed the idea (in his mind). In mine, I had that beautiful naivety of not knowing anything about what I was doing and thought I would show him better.

Others told me that I had had my fun and now it was time to get a real job. I am sure it was out of care and visions of poverty in my old age but I was so ‘all in’ there was no way I was taking his advice either.

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But when I told my mother that I want to be a professional photographer, she looked at me with belief and trust and said ‘that sounds lovely dear’. She didn’t ask me for a business plan, she didn’t come up with all the excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it and go live on the other side of the world.

My mum did the most fabulous thing a mum can do for a creative which is to believe I could do it. She had seen me struggle for years in a business I didn’t love, she had seen me single and lonely with one too many heartbreaks to even suggest for a minute a safe alternative in a city office. She had seen me try to cuddle up to my Gucci and Pucci without it working!!!

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I am sure it hurt I was spending a ton of time on the other side of the world but she put what I wanted before what she wanted and what a gift she gave me.

My mum and dad came to stay with me in Florence and walked around the piazzas and hear my endless enthusiasm for this place I loved so dearly. They ate, drank and lived like Italians. They got to see their daughter bursting with happiness when her first article was published in Marie Claire and they almost popped with pride at the same time.

They took my favourite boat ride with me to Da Adolfo on the Amalfi Coast and fell in love with the concept of a beachbed and a restaurant at the the back of the beach. They felt special and lived a beautiful moment and saw the coast I love so much when Sergio the owner let us tag along on a boat ride to Amalfi.


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They have devotedly dashed up to the newsagent every time a magazine has come out with my pics and bought numerous copies of my books for everyone and anyone who needed a present.

My mum and her team of ninja grannies became my biggest fans, moving books around the shelves in Sydney bookstores so they were always up the front and couldn’t help telling anyone that wanted to listen that it was her daughter’s and it would be a REALLY good thing if you bought it.

Although we have shared many years apart we have also shared this amazing journey together. They knew the backstory, they have seen it from the start, brick by brick building this thing, every brick I built was their brick and they have helped me and shared in the joy and reward that I have shared. They welcomed my Italian boyfriend (now husband) into their lives with open arms and without jealousy or fear.


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When ‘we’ started this journey who would have ever known how it was going to pan out. Maybe they could see the fire in my eyes or in my belly, maybe they decided to trust that I was finally on my path and this time I would hit ‘emotional’ and creative gold.

If you are reading this and you are a mum and your child wants to go on a journey of their own that maybe doesn’t fit with your vision for their life, stay open to the magic that you could share together, the love, the support and the joy that you too could bring to your beloved child’s life and the magic that you will help them find in themselves and in the world.

Love you Mum and Dad,  thanks for the belief and trust.



  • peter munro

    Hi Carla as a cousin I think your drive and taste for words combined with awesome images has set you apart in this world of believing in what you can do. Congratulations and big love for the rest of your journey. Peter, Jenny and the rest of the brood at Castle Hill.

    July 19, 2017 at 10:24 am
  • Ohhh that was beautiful to read. I have tears. I am a mum of two very young kids but I hope I can help guide them to where they thrive professionally, creatively, emotionally. It meant a great deal when my dad gave me The Photo Book for Christmas one year, I thought he wanted me to be a scientist! I think parents are key to a successful creative life. Thanks Carla xx

    July 19, 2017 at 10:39 am
  • Such a beautiful story Carla – it brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, I would absolutely let my only child become a photographer or follow any other creative career his heart may desire. As someone who shut her own creativity down for way too long because no one in her life believed in the magic you write about here, I completely understand the difference unconditional acceptance (& love) can make. You never know, thanks to that creative hubby of mine, and inspirational people like you in my world I might make that creative leap yet!!!xx

    July 19, 2017 at 10:58 am
  • Pam

    Beautiful story’ you are very lucky to have lovely parents bet your parents say they are the lucky ones hahaa funny l wanted my youngest to be a photographer some time ago l had it all planed he would then teach me hahaa as it is he’s in men’s fashion & lm loving photography!

    July 19, 2017 at 11:10 am
  • I’m in tears – this is so beautiful. xx

    July 19, 2017 at 11:19 am
  • Katrien Verellen

    Thank you so much for these wonderful words. Being a mum of teenagers and having found myself what I really want to do in life only one year ago, I fully understand what it means to be understood and supported. Doing things from the heart gives meaning to life. And I hope my boys will find their passion too, whatever it will be. Glad to have read your inspiring book (words+photos) Italian joy. Grazie mille! Katrien

    July 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm
  • Love this so much Carla. You are magic. X

    July 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm
  • Steph

    What an absolute tribute Carla – your Mum and Dad are no doubt bursting at the seams reading this AND passing it to their circle of friends. And how utterly fortunate you are to have such amazing supportive friends who are also parents. Sxox

    July 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm
  • Saskia

    WoW, what an amazing story you wrote down here. Something to remember, if the day ever comes and one of our daughters tells me she will become a painter, graffiti artist, photographer or any job that brings in uncertainty, highs but surely also lows…
    then I hope I will be as supportive as your parents were. And mainly I hope my daughters will be as happy, inspiring and creative as you! ❤️

    July 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm
  • Bridget

    This writing is MAGIC! How wonderful and fortunate for you to have such encouraging and amazing parents. And friends too!
    Wonderful to read such a lovely post.
    Bridget xx

    July 19, 2017 at 5:09 pm
  • I knew the answer before I even read the question. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    It’s a strange phenomenon, hearing people say ‘that’s a hard industry to get into’, ‘there isn’t much work there’ and ‘why bother’. I mean, really! Any industry worth getting into has it’s challenges. And as for there not being much work, the naysayers must think that music, photos and illustrations just create themselves out of a void.
    Whoops! I started to rant.
    I love the ninja grannies concept. (OMG! That’s a children’s book waiting to be written). It’s important to feel that you have emotional support from the people you love. I know that success comes from hard work, but there are other ingredients too, as you say, belief and trust.
    My girls are in the early years of school so they are exploring different areas of creativity (photography, writing, drawing, game design, crafting, paper architecture). I wait, watch and think of ways that I can further enable their creative exploration. I will always be honest with them about practice, but I will never tell them ‘don’t bother’.

    July 20, 2017 at 1:46 am
  • You made tears come to my eyes. I’m starting my journey a bit later in life than you did. Even at my age, I hope to make my parents proud. With my grandchildren, I plan to use every bit of your advise and cheer them on.

    July 20, 2017 at 3:49 am
  • YEP!
    I have a CHILD who is almost 30 doing THE SAME THING!He is making TABLES………..check out DOGANDPIGFURNTITURE.COM on ETSY!
    YOU HAVE CREATED YOUR SPACE and are sharing THAT with SO MANY!I’m certain being married to THE ITALIAN has HELPED!!!!
    I just had an INSTAGRAM FRIEND tell me in a private message she might be doing a SHOOT with YOU in SEPTEMBER!!!
    I SAID, “GO FOR IT!”
    PS.She was a TOP MODEL BACK IN THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm