Save The Date – Italian Joy Limited Edition Prints

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SAVE THE DATE – The cover image of Italian Joy will be available in my print shop Wednesday 11th March 2015 at 8am Paris time, 6pm Sydney Time and 2am New York time.. Naples Vespa 2003 Limited Edition image print of 30 signed and numbered, silver gelatin hand print 30 x 40cm on fibre based paper by master printer Toros.

Italian Joy (the book) holds a huge chunk of my heart. Those years living in Italy were the most special years of my life, so full of learning, adventure, happiness, fear, finding photography, love and living my truth.

There was so much to learn and take in. I was fresh, eager and in love with everything Italian and filled with joy for the simple life I was living. When I look back it was the purest emotion I could ask to live and feel. I was doing what I loved, in a place I loved with no compromises.

The photos I took in those years are some of my dearest, they are part of me and my journey, they are filled with the emotions and joy that I felt taking them and the love I have for photography.

Over the years many people have asked to purchase an image from Italian Joy but I never had the time or courage to delve into my archives and organise it. There was a little hesitation on my part too, it all felt so personal.

But this winter I promised it was time to share my babies with loved ones. I know many of you have had a great connection with Italian Joy, hundreds of you have written to me kindly sharing your stories about being inspired to make changes to your life, go on your own Italian adventures and others wrote that it made them feel simply less alone.

fine art travel photography, fine art photography italy, italian joy, vespa naples, joy, emotions, silver gelatin print, black and white photography, toros I wanted something special for the cover image of Italian Joy, an image shot in Naples in 2003. I wanted a silver gelatin print onto fibre based archival paper printed by Master Printer Toros who has printed for Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Josef Koudelka and recently David Lynch. So I headed to his darkroom like the old days and watched him at work, testing the contrast of the image numerous times, before printing the first full image.

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The print process takes time, he prints multiples of the same image with different contrasts, dodging and burning special parts of the images till we agree on our favourite. hand retouch silver gelatin photo, carla coulson, italian joy limited edition prints, italy, vespa naples, joy, emotions, change your life, toros, When the images have been printed, dried and flattened he hand retouches away any dust spots.

david lynch, mep paris, toroslab, black and white photography, silver gelatin,

My spirited friend Toros with an image he recently printed for David Lynch for his exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

So dear friends SAVE THE DATE, the cover image of Italian Joy will be available as a 30 x 40cm silver gelatin print in my print shop Wednesday 11th March 2015 at 8am Paris time, 6pm Sydney Time and 2am New York time (sorry guys but you will probably be still out partying). Set your alarms because it is a limited edition of 30 prints worldwide, signed and numbered till sold out..

If you would like a dedication on the back of the print to a friend or for yourself there is a ‘add an note’ section prior to putting in your payment details.

‘You may have the universe if I may have Italy.’ Giuseppe Verdi

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An Auto-Immune Update

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Thanks to everyone who has written to me and asked me to keep them posted on my progress treating my 3 auto-immune conditions naturally.

I have been wanting to share my latest results from December with you but raced off to Australia to teach a workshop and soak up the sun.

I have continued to eat the way I explained in this post here and live the same way but a couple of habits have crept back in like coffee. I love coffee and it’s been a hard one for me to let go of.

For the first 8 months I didn’t let a drop pass my lips but prior to Christmas and in Australia I was back to having a good coffee 3 or 4 times a week and in Oz almost everyday.

I also started to re-introduce grains such as rice and sarrasin (buckwheat) but in all honesty I feel better without them.

So here’s the score card from December..

Alopecia Areata – Gone, gone, gone.. All 3 bald spots have re-grown and I have a fabulous ‘horn’ sticking straight out of my head where the regrowth is so strong it just grows vertically. Francesco thinks I will soon ‘be growing hair on my back’..

Thyroid Values/Graves Disease – These values were ‘kicked to the kerb’, as my American friend loves to say back in August. All three thryoid values were back in range and have remained there and I have no symptoms at all. You can see the results here and how they changed from my first blood test.

Lichen Sclerosus – This was the trickiest Auto-immune to deal with but I have decided was the easiest way to measure my overall health. When I ate the wrong foods or stressed myself out it hurt like hell. Since early December my dear friend Lichen and I are on the very best of terms. I behave myself and so does he!! All lesions have healed and I have the occasional itchy attack when I eat too many food with oxalates in them.. You can read the details when I discovered what oxalates were back in May here and how I adopted a low oxalate diet.

TSH Antibodies – I started this adventure with TSH anti-bodies measuring 11.9 which I believe indicates the severity of Graves Disease. Over the past months every blood test the anti-bodies continue to drop as my body self heals. My latest test in December dropped again and mumma is getting closer to ‘zippo’. They are now at 3.22 and the antibodies need to be under 1.75 to be home free. This has been the progress..

TSH Antibodies – Dates and Blood Results – Under 1.75 to be in remission

23/12/2014 – 11.9

4/2/2014 – 7.54

22/4/2014 – 6.49

14/8/2014 – 4.86

18/12/2014 – 3.22

Francesco and I decided to do our own form of ‘lent’ this year. For forty days  he would try to give up coffee, wine and ciggies and I would go back to no coffee or grains.

There is another reason too, some of my little lovelies have started their own adventures with auto-immunes (not their choice) and I want to help them make this road easier. So just after Easter I am hoping to have my last blood test and kiss this chapter goodbye.. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime I will leave you with some lovely links especially if you are a mum and you are trying to find some healthy living alternatives for your children.

I love:

The Organic Sisters – Two lovely sisters with children who have had their own health issues and changed their diets. They share wonderful recipes with a simple list of ingredients that work. They also have e-books for lunch boxes and sugar free sweets

Mummamara’s Kitchen – This is a recent discovery through my dear friend Ath. Mara shares great recipes with a focus on family food. Great for kids..

Healy Eats Real -  I discovered Hannah Healy one day on Dr. Google when I was dying for a crunchy biscuit. I found this delicious recipe for Ginger Snap Cookies. I often use chestnut flour instead of the almond and coconut flour.

I Quit Sugar – The lovely Sarah Wilson has made it easy for all of us. There is every cookbook here for kids, adults, cooking in your slow cooker, smoothies and chocolate

Paleo Grubs – has an exhaustive range of meal ideas and you download this dessert E-Book for free

Pete Evans – has developed a ten week program with recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you can’t think of what to do with another root vegetable (aka us poor Northern Europeans in winter) check out his Paleoway

I have gathered all my auto-immune posts together so if you are too struggling with an AI you can read what I have been up to here

Wishing you the very best of good health and I will check back in after Easter.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Mahatma Ghandi

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A Vermeer Inspired Portrait (and a 2 min studio)

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Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

When I landed back in Paris after the big, bright skies and colour of Australia something happened.

Everything about my world had changed. The light, the clothes, the skies, the surroundings, the colour palettes and I felt inspired to reach inside and take advantage of this feeling!

It inspired me to create moody images, beautiful soft portraits photographed with a slow shutter speed on black to replicate how I was feeling.

These photos were shot in a very simple way. I created a ‘2 min studio’ by using a black backdrop that you can see at the end of the post and a shutter speed of 1/15 second..

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2 Min Studio

We taped up a piece of black cloth perpendicular to the window and the light fall off between the cloth and my model did the rest.

If the window had been facing the cloth instead of perpendicular to it we would have had to have been careful with the cloth and what was underneath it as the light from the window would have illuminated the scene more evenly and shown all the defects.

Sending you lots of camera shake!

“My style is definitely schizophrenic; it does change from day to day a lot. It depends on my mood: sometimes I’ll be going through a girly, childlike stage and wear a pretty lace dress with a bow in my hair. Then sometimes I’ll be moody and just wear black.” Amber Le Bon

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A Snapshot of My Week

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All Photos from my Carla Loves Photography Instagram

Wishing you a fabulous weekend full of happiness, peace and good vibes.. This is a little snapshot of my week in Paris (and vicariously in Greece). If you missed my interview with artist Matthew Usmar Lauder on the Greek Island of Lesvos you can catch it here.

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An Artist’s Studio On A Greek Island

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

All photos taken on the island of Lesvos copyright Carla Coulson 

I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful Greek Island of Lesvos last year to catch up with friends Matthew Usmar Lauder and Claire Lloyd.

This creative couple left London a couple of years ago to live on a Greek Island…. Just writing those words sends shivers to all sorts of weird places!

I had the luxury to peak into their lives and drool a little!  As a creative I have always dreamed of a beautiful space to work in so when I saw Matthew’s studio I was doing cartwheels.

Matthew has been an artist his whole life and he generously opened his studio to me to take some pics and poke around.  It was such a joyful, beautiful, creative space I wanted to share it with you.

Matthew has also generously shared a little of his life, art and loves for all of us to get inspired in 2015

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

Tell us a little about your background and life as an artist?

I grew up in a hippy artistic family, in fact for the first two years of my life my name was ‘Moonfrog’. I’m so pleased they decided to call me Matthew, otherwise the school playground would’ve been hell. I was encouraged to draw and paint as a child and was taken to radical art shows and 1970’s ‘happenings’. Of course I didn’t know what was happening but I was intensely interested in it all.

I got my BA and MA at art school and ended up becoming a ‘Scenic Artist’ at the Royal National theatre, eventually through hard work, enthusiasm and luck, becoming the head of department and running the place at the age of 24.

I went ‘freelance’ and after 20 years of working in commercial studios and around the world I yearned to have my own studio and be an artist like I always planned. I would find myself painting these huge backdrops and fantasise that the paint and canvas was mine to do with as I pleased…

I was picked up by a very cutting edge contemporary gallery called ‘Mobile Home’, had a one man show and got great reviews. I set up studio in Hackney and went almost everyday for eight years, getting much out of my system that had been backed up, following any idea or tangent I desired. It was beyond cathartic.

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

Were you visually attuned at a young age?

I only ever wanted to draw, I showed little sign of capability in any academic sense and had no interest in school except for art.  Every report card read, ‘easily distracted, could do better’. However I did have to work exceptionally hard to become technically proficient in both draughtsmanship and painting. I knew what I wanted, I saw what excited me and I realised that I had a terrific amount to learn.

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

Any mentors or favourite artists?

The list is endless, many, many, but two stand out…

One week before I was about to take my ‘O level’ art exam I suddenly panicked that I’d never really painted a ‘formal’ painting. My wonderful mother, and terrific painter, walked me round to the local railway station with a canvas and paints and we painted a picture together. In that hour she taught me about paint, tonal value, colour mixing and composition.

A year later, aged 15, I was determined to get my drawing skills up to speed. I turned up at the local ‘adult education centre’ to try ‘life drawing’. I was painfully shy in those days and was truly overwhelmed at the sight of a naked woman. I stood behind my easel my face glowing red with fear and awkwardness, scratching away with a stick of charcoal.

How has living on a Greek Island influenced your art?

Everything seems to play a role in influencing me it seems. The island initially gave me much needed escape from the city of London. It afforded me retrospective objectivity, especially about the commercial art world about which I had become pretty jaded and cynical.

Then it was the island beauty that inspired me. I used to visit southern Spain every year with my mate Marcus to find and paint the wild landscape I had always dreamed of, as the English countryside has always somehow disappointment me.

I’ve always had a fantasy dream job, to be a ‘Magnum’ photographer, like some might like to play the trumpet like Miles Davis, impossible but never the less a lovely thought… (I would also like to play the trumpet like Miles Davis…). Lesvos has encouraged me to peruse my passion for photography, presenting a literally endless amount of inspiration and subject matter.

This is a place to be creative, it is peaceful, beautiful and the television was left in London.

fish artwork, matthew usmar lauder, painting on found object, artist greek island, carla coulson

You are currently painting on found objects is this your preferred medium? 

I freely admit to being a tip-rat and scavenger, it comes, initially, from being quite poor as a child and having to make or find things we or I required.

With art materials it eventually became my choice, painting on an old characterful piece of wood is much more interesting, sometimes, than a sterile rectangle of white canvas.

You have opened a small studio in the heart of your local village, what has this brought to the village?

Most people in the village haven’t the faintest idea just what it is I do in my studio and indeed what my studio is… ( including me at times). Some think it a shop, others a museum to house the spoils of my obsessive digging through the village landfill or dustbins. Locals have actually started bringing me old things to add to my collection – (something I certainly encourage…).

When I first set it up one summer I left the doors open, I knew people were curious and I figured let them get it out of their system… And in they certainly came, one old guy, George, helpfully suggested I add a hand rail for the elderly to climb the steep stars to my painting room.

Later in the winter I had to fit a wood burning stove to keep away the cold and damp. As I was installing it I idly decided to take a head count of passers by who had decided to offer comment, suggestions or just plain watch. There was eight men, three dogs and two big local tomcats, all crammed into what really is a tiny room.

claire lloyd, matthew usmar lauder, lesvos, greek islands, artist studio greek island, blue,

When you and your partner Claire Lloyd moved to Lesvos you turned your hand to creating furniture for your home? Was this a challenge for you or just an extension of being an artist?

A massive challenge I’ll admit… I only suggested I make the first one because some local carpenter had seen us coming, tried his luck and quoted a total fortune. Claire took me at my word.

I had failed even ‘woodwork’ at school, the class being literally a collection pen for hardened thugs and students regarded as ‘remedial’ (myself included).

I simply wasn’t interested at that point, I didn’t have the need or desire for a pine made train or tea tray… or how to make them.

So the first cupboard took me ages, (half a year to be precise). I eventually got a little better as the demand from Claire went into spectacular overdrive.

My woodwork suits the environment in that it could only really be described as ‘rustic’, but I am very happy with our bed and large table that I made, both of which I was utterly convinced I was not capable of completing.

matthew usmar lauder, original oil painting, aegean sea, blue, greece, greek island, artist

Aegean Sea by Matthew Usmar Lauder

What’s the best thing about being an artist?

I think creativity is one of humankind’s greatest achievements, (the other, I  feel, is compassion). I would say we are all creative in one way or another and could all be artists if we applied ourselves. I’m lucky that I have been able to work utilising my own skills and I’m very happy and fortunate that I now have a language in which I feel I can, at best, eloquently express myself and my ideas.

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

You and Claire rescue and re-home cats and dogs.. what has this brought to your life?

Rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing dogs and cats has given me the greatest feeling of having done something worthwhile. I worked as a volunteer at the island’s wildlife sanctuary for a year and a half so I could contribute, but also because I could get to see and perhaps help some of the island’s beautiful animals. There is come catching up to do in many parts of the word regarding the treatment of our fellow creatures.

matthew usmar walkswithdogs, lesvos greece, artist studio greek island, carla coulson, wooden boat, greece, claire lloyd, rescue dogs

All photos taken on the island of Lesvos copyright Carla Coulson 

Tell us 5 great things about living on a Greek Island..

1. Finding a real community and understanding its worth.

2. The beauty and abundance of the landscape and wildlife.

3. My involvement with the wildlife, volunteering at the islands wildlife sanctuary, rescuing and finding homes and love for cats and dogs and trying to positively educate people with a sometimes old fashioned and negative view of their fellow creatures.

4. Being able to wander down the street with an extraordinary hat on and people accepting me or even going so far as to compliment me on my choice…

5. Peace and quiet… the place just makes you relax.

A huge thank-you to Matthew for sharing his beautiful studio and a little of his life with us.

Matthew has a beautiful piece of work available for sale here and you can check out his website and more of his art here.

The lovely Claire (who you want as your best buddy she is so cute) is also an inspiring photographer who wrote My Greek Island Home. There is a lovely interview with Claire here and if you fancy test driving ‘leaving your life ‘ for a Greek Island this gorgeous couple have a guesthouse to rent here.

For more Greek Island inspiration click here.

“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.” Norman Rockwell

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