Photographing Your First Book
Nothing like a new start, a new week and a New Year that brings so many new projects and hope.
I love hope!
I have been preparing images and a presentation for the upcoming Caravan Travel Photography Workshop in Puglia and going through 12 years of images. This is such a wonderful process in itself, like looking through a visual diary of your life, moments in time, familiar faces and ones you have forgotten.
I like to think I remember every photo but even I found some lovely surprises.
Trawling back through the images from now to the beginning of photography school, through projects such as Naples A Way Of Love, Paris Tango and and all the way to Italian Joy I had a thought that may just help you shoot your first book.
When you are at the beginning of anything you have ‘things’ that money can’t buy – endless oodles of enthusiasm, no expectations, the joy at looking at the world as though you have just seen and ‘felt’ it for the first time and shooting what you love.
The cameras I invested in in the early years were like new toys for me and I couldn’t get enough of them. My underwater camera meant even at the beach I could explore photography from a new angle.
The photos that ended up in Italian Joy were a product of innate curiosity of life, the burning desire to take photos that said or made you feel something, sheer unadulterated happiness and untiring enthusiasm that would have me out in the rain, the wind, the snow… asking fishermen (that I didn’t know) to board their boats and shoot them.. holding my breath and shooting ladies underwater.. treading water whilst kids jumped off the rocks one after the other waiting for that perfect moment ….and stalking lovers in train stations.
The photos I took in those early years are still some of my favourites because they were taken for sheer pleasure and love of photography with no end use in mind. They were photos born of freedom.
And this my dear friends is your advantage when shooting for a ‘probable’ first book.
Some things I notice in my photos looking back:
1. I shot ‘my’ world, the people around me, people who would give me access, my friends, family, Florentines and Popi
2. I was obsessed with movement, I shot vespas over and over again
3. I was also obsessed with religious iconography in Italy and drawn to every tabernacle on a street corner, statues of Madonna’s in churches and religious art (I have thousands of images).
4. I loved the innate elegance of Italians and would stop well-dressed people in the street and ask if I could take a photo (yep I was obsessed).
5. I loved shooting love in all it’s expressions…
6. I shot things that made me laugh (still do)..
7. I shot almost exclusively in the early years in black and white…(and I never felt the pressure to shoot in colour)
All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson Italian Joy
So here are are some tips if you are at the beginning of your photography career and hope one day to shoot/write a book.
1. Shoot what you love and don’t question it.
2. Shoot what is accessible and don’t ask yourself where it will fit?
3. The world needs original books so if you think it isn’t mainstream enough.. Keep shooting you are probably onto something.
4. If you are shooting a well known subject put your spin on it.
5. Take the photos you love and trust your inner ‘photographer’s voice’.
I hope this little insight helps you on your path.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Elliott Erwitt
Please share if It may help someone starting out..