Blog - Carla Coulson
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Paris, carla coulson, photography, published work, Louisa Deasey, Black and white photography, travel photography, photographer, photographers life

Carla Coulson talks Paris, memoir, and creativity

I am so honoured to be interviewed on writer Louisa Deasey’s blog, chatting about all things books.

Here’s a short preview of what we talked about:


I fell in love with Carla Coulson’s photography via her second book, Paris Tango. She has such an energetic style of capturing movement in her shots, which is probably why international magazines such as Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue have been commissioning her work since she up and left Sydney for Europe, over a decade ago.

It’s hard to imagine that someone like Carla once doubted her creative abilities. But twelve years ago, Carla had never picked up a camera, nor had a picture – or her words – published…

Tell us how your first book, Italian Joy, come about?

I had just left my life in Sydney and was starting over in Europe. I’d finished my photography studies in Florence. I was fascinated with Italian life and kept photographing the same things over and over – things like love, family, food, and the way Italians lived.

I’d had my first photography spreads published in Marie Claire, so i had made some great connections through that editorial work. The original idea was for me to work with a writer to make social comments about my photos of Italy, but my editor (Julie Gibbs at Penguin) asked me how I ended up in Italy, sensing a story behind it.

What was the most surprising aspect of writing that memoir?

As I was getting into the lift when I signed my book contract, my lovely editor asked me if I’d read A Thousand Days in Venice?

I said yes, and she just made a quick comment about the honesty of the author. No big speech or pep talk – she just left me with those words.

When I went back to Florence I it was cold, dark and wintry and I thought no-one would read the book anyway so I decided to be honest.

In my own little bubble I also felt disconnected to the idea that anyone would ever read it, so this freed me up to be honest.

There’s something very empowering about telling your story, and it’s helped me understand myself better. I poured my heart and soul into that book.

You’ve now published six books! (which is amazing, by the way) – why is Italian Joy your favourite?

It was a simple book, but it marked such a joyous time in my life, being freed from a lifetime of how I thought I “should” live and finding this beautiful simple life that excited me, connected me to myself and others and led me to feel fulfilled.

When it was published, I heard from so many others that read the book and felt the same way, and Italian Joy connected them both to me and to themselves. This was one of the greatest gifts I received from this book, the connections it brought me.

What Italian Joy has shown me is that we are full of infinite possibilities. I picked up a camera at age 35 and became a photographer, I learned to write much later too, so now I believe with time and practice I can enjoy art, or music or some other creative outlet where as previously I told myself I wasn’t talented. I know we are ALL TALENTED and creativity is innate in all of us.

Can you give any tips to those embarking on their first memoir – from your experience of writing Italian Joy?

I had no intention of becoming a writer, but when the opportunity arose I was so deeply connected to wanting this new life as a photographer, I chose to take the leap and try. So I did a writing course that helped me get the words down on paper and I found a voice I never knew I had!

I discovered that I love writing and that I had A LOT to say, that each and everyone of us has a story, and that our story, no matter how insignificant it may feel, has the power to inspire others and change lives.

I will be forever grateful to have found a voice, and to Julie Gibbs for asking me to share my story.


You can read the rest of the interview on her blog HERE.

Related post: Why Your Photos and Story Count

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Wanna Be This Girl On The Streets Of Paris?

Dear Lovers Of Paris and Photography,

I am happy to announce I have opened up 3 spaces for my all-time favourite portrait session in Paris for June, July and September where you get to be the rockstar.

This isn’t any regular portrait session, it’s you caught in your own cinematic Paris film!


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Slip into the noir of Paris like a movie-star on set, un-observed in quiet moments in cool bars, shot through the window unobserved. It’s for lovers of Paris and photography that want something a little more rock-n-roll, you caught in a whir of blur and the only thing in focus is your beautiful face.

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Celebrate being fabulously single at 30 or 40, celebrate you and motherhood and coming out the other side of the toddler stage and finding yourself again. Celebrate being in love or getting divorced but most of all celebrate YOU, YOU, YOU.  You are fabulous just as you are today, not SOMEDAY and I love nothing better than celebrating you in Paris in the coolest way possible and creating images that will become part of your story and your families story.

If you would like to make some magic with me click HERE to read more.

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Why We All Need More Greek Kefi

Dear Folks,

Whether you are a photographer, creative or lover of life todays post is about joy.

One of my favourite things to do in life is to get on a plane to Greece because no matter how busy my year has been I know in my heart that I will put back what has been taken out of my creative well this year when I touch down on Greek soil. 

For me the magic starts at the Athens airport and Greek folk if you are reading this I am sure you will know what I mean.

The nervous system seems to know its home! 

It rolls over, it purrs, it knows it’s going to lie on a beach and become so hypnotized with good food, soft breezes, gentle joy and Kefi it kicks in immediately. 

Kefi, like so many words in different languages never translates as the Greeks know it. It’s about joy, passion, living in the moment, togetherness, music and dance and more. 

The above photos were taking of my husband on the last day of one of many of our Greek holidays. 

I wanted a photo and had tried to make it happen the day before which ended in a rare fight. I found this amazing motorbike and the guy wouldn’t rent it to us. We drove out to this beautiful simple place on a ugly alternative and then hubs dug his heels in and refused. My sweet Italian wasn’t feeling it. We were leaving the island in a couple of days and I knew this window was closing but my philosophy has NEVER TO DO ANYTHING FOR A  for a photo so I let it go. 

Then later the next day he said ‘come on let’s go take some photos’. We rented the not so attractive bike, headed out to the beautiful spot and I started taking pics of him riding. Then he jumped off the bike and started humming the music to the sirtaki and just like that, on a dirt road, as the sun was setting with him and I dancing and humming we found our Kefi. 

Sometimes I think Kefi is the secret to happiness!

There is a wonderful interview here unfortunately only in French or Greek that describes Kefi

Or you can catch a little bit of it here in this scene with Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek. I adore those words you would love any man to utter to another ‘will you teach me to dance’?

Here’s how I take Kefi home into my daily life: 

  1. Live in the moment – I try and stop living for tomorrow and live in the moment if whatever I am doing is enjoyable and not rush off to the next thing. Just sit, kick back and enjoy. Tomorrow will come but right here and now is amazing.


  1. Relax – I find I get more done and am more creative when I take time out, have weekends and days away from the computer and meditate or relax during the day. Yes, when the sun is shining I take a long lunch break and even lie down during my work day and don’t feel slightly guilty about it because I know when I get up everything will be clearer. 


  1. Music – I make music a part of my life, it changes my mood takes me from lethargic to excited, feeling down to happy and helps me bring what I desire into my life. Yes folks I manifest to music!! 


  1. Dance – Even if it’s only for my husband I try and dance every day! Dance is the thing that connects us to joy and the forgotten wild women inside. 


  1. Share – There are so many ways to share our lives with others. Make a habit of sharing a meal with someone, share a ride home, an after walk or something that works for you. Actively share.


  1. Let Go – If there is one thing that is tough to master it is letting go. Letting go of all the millions of things we think we should do and surrendering to them or delegating them to someone else. Once a day I let go of something. I allow things to be imperfect even if it’s a small thing and I am the only person that knows it,  I just kiss goodbye to perfection and mentally let go. 


So dearest folks, I hope you have enjoyed this little reflection on joy and life and hope you try and bring a little Kefi to your daily routine.


Sending love 

Carla x

Related Post: The Year of Yes

Handsome beach boys this Mother’s Day?

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Dear Ladies and Gents,

I have been holding onto this beautiful beach for a while — it’s named ‘Floating in Polignano a Mare’ and so excited to finally share it with you for Mother’s Day.

Good news ladies, no sand here! It is a delirious celebration of summer, happiness and joy and this print is guaranteed to make you want to dive into it each time you glance its way and call the handsome beach boy to bring another Aperol Spritz quick sticks!!!

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So dear mums, if you would like to spoil yourself this Mother’s Day, not only on this beautiful image but on all images shop wide, we have a little surprise of 15% discount with code LIFETIMESUPPLY

In Australia, the good folks at Forman Picturing Framing frame and deliver Australia wide… Woohoo…

It comes in 3 sizes, 20 x 30 inch, 32 x 48 inch and 36 x 54 inch and is printed onto beautiful Hahnemule paper.

More HERE.

Related Post: Blue Sunday Starts Today

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2 PLACES LEFT – Masseria Potenti Puglia 2018 

Dear Photographers,

One of the things I love about dreaming up and teaching workshops is creating the time out for the participants from their daily life to not only concentrate on their photography and improve it, meet some new members of their tribe but to have the time to reflect on life and what they want.

It’s in this ‘bubble’ away from the cooking and the kids, away from work and daily chores that not only do you get time to concentrate on you and nurture your photography but you get the clarity on how you want to move forward or what you would like to shift or bring into your life. 


I too have had the exact epiphany attending workshops as a participant and loved the experience of sitting in a room and being inspired, nurtured and everything done for me.

This October we plan on making it our best workshop ever where everything and we mean everything is taken care of. 

At the beautiful Masseria Potenti not only are Maria Grazia and Chiara two of the most welcoming hosts but they have created an atmosphere of simplistic beauty that is a wonderful subject and backdrop for our portrait photos and at the same time good for the soul in every sense. We will look after breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will have your own beautiful room and all you need to do is to concentrate on taking the photos you have inside you and have yet dared to take.  


The photography lessons, models, trips to local villages to photograph the locals, the critiquing and inspiring you and pushing your photography to new levels will all be taken care of by us. We plan to create a unique atmosphere of joy and trust where you can learn to be a little more courageous in accessing something deeper within you that will allow you to go beyond those portrait moments when it feels like nothing is happening, to provoke your portrait subject to draw out something more than a pretty portrait and for you not to give up when you still don’t have the shot.

If you love people photos and want to improve yours, if you would love to come away with a beautiful portfolio of interiors and people and want to give yourself the gift of getting closer to life, the details and yourself, there are only TWO PLACES LEFT.

If you have any questions you can email us at or check out the full details here.