My Photography 'Gap' Year That Became My Calling - Carla Coulson
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My Photography ‘Gap’ Year That Became My Calling

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Left: Palermo; Right: Ballero market, Palermo | Copyright Carla Coulson

 

Dear Creative Souls,

I am having the best time with a great bunch of women who are saying Yes to themselves in my Yes, Yes, Yes – The Year You Say Yes To Yourself online course.

There are all sorts of marvellous souls bringing what is important to them into their life and it is such a joy to see these different things come to life.

One of the gorgeous ladies coined this phrase for her year of creativity and travel, she calls it her ‘Gap Year’. I loved it instantly, the name often used for teenagers having a break from studies to go out and experience life, let their hair down and have fun. Who says it’s only for teenagers?

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Procession Ischia | Copyright Carla Coulson

I remembered back to my ‘Gap Year’ back in 2000 (although I didn’t call it at the time) that led me to Florence and photography and I thought of all the amazing sensations that year brought me.

Finally, time, peace and ease in my life with a giant dose of adventure, friendship, curiosity, travel, the search for knowledge and feeling of being inspired by every day.

This Gap Year led me to photography and whilst doing a little de-cluttering the other day I opened one of my boxes of photos I printed in my first year of photography school in Florence and it felt like a treasure trove of memories.

I hardly knew what I was doing but I can see the excitement, wonder, joy of travel and trying to capture what I saw on those old prints. Often I ‘failed’ at what I was trying to achieve, going out with a friend at night onto the streets of Florence and trying something a little Helmut Newton-like yet not managing to get the picture in focus or having the shutter speed on the right setting (is there one?) and getting a little too much blur.

But it was these failures that taught me the most about photography, myself and often what I liked! It was this willingness to play, to try, to experiment that brought so much fun, joy and creativity. Some of my failures led me to my style and vision that I still see cropping up in my photos today.

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Left: Jill on the streets of Florence; Right: Jessica in Popi’s bathroom | Copyright Carla Coulson

Photography coaxed me to get on a 24-hour train to Palermo and fossick around a market on my own, it led me to a religious procession on Ischia and walking the streets trying to capture the rich street life.

The photographs I took of my flat-mates in Popi’s bathroom would one day lead me to shoot for Collezioni and Harper’s Bazaar, the shots of markets all over Italy to shooting for Gourmet Traveller and Vogue Entertaining and Living.

Photography is my calling, I do it every day even if it is with an I-phone I am looking, feeling and seeing life in the moment.

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Left: Vespa, Naples; Right: Boulder Kalgoorlie Australia | Copyright Carla Coulson

I really enjoyed this podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert the other day and I think you might too, it’s about the difference between a hobby, job, career and vocation.

So many people think if you love something you ‘have’ to make money from it but I agree wholeheartedly with Liz Gilbert, if you love something as much as I love photography just doing it is your greatest pleasure.

My Gap Year where it was just my camera and me, was one of the greatest years of my life, it was my best friend, my travelling partner, my teacher and my source of joy and inspiration. Some friends you don’t need to make money from!!!

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Collezioni | Copyright Carla Coulson

May we all grant ourselves a Gap Year one day in our lives or at least give yourself permission to do something creative you love for the pure pleasure of it – no pressure, no outcomes just joy.

Love and light,

Carla

P.S. You can join the list for Yes, Yes, Yes next year HERE.

4 Comments
  • I’m a sucker for film grain and blur. I think you Carla made me see a little blur can work well.
    I’ve seen this photo of Jessica pop up a few times over the years. And I gotta say, it is one of my favorite Carla’s.
    Sometimes when I’m tired, and believe there’s nothing left in me, I can still pick up a camera, and capture the moment.

    March 13, 2019 at 10:25 am
  • Sandra

    Love the idea of doing something you love for a year just for the hoy of it nothing else. Thank you for the inspiration

    March 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm