Many people ask me how do I translate an idea into photography reality. So often we have glamorous, cool or moody ideas of what we would like yet our outcome is something else. Anybody seen the Life of Pi client expectations and budget floating around on the net!
Sometimes photos that look so simple are in reality a ‘battle’ to get the outcome you would like and others are gifts to you. This shoot was one of those gifts!
When I am working on a shoot my starting point is a vision.
I liken photography to any goal in life, if you can’t see it, how can you get there?
When I was shooting this story for Harper’s Bazaar of the beautiful Kate Fowler and Justin Hemmes my vision for these photos started long before I picked up the camera.
What Was My Vision?
When I scouted the place I noticed lots of opportunities to shoot from different perspectives
When I stood on the property flashbacks to famous photos, photographers and cool folk started my inspiration process
I allowed my body to help me. Spaces that excited me such as the pool area and the staircase allowed my imagination to run wild and so much of photography is about imagination
Over the years I have looked at hundreds of thousands of images, films and historical references and its in these moments they serve me. They come to me as inspiration
Give yourself permission to photograph the things you love and the way you want
As this was a big shoot my vision started kicking in days before and often an idea would come to me driving, swimming or in the middle of the night. Yes, my shoots keep me awake at night.
So by the day of the shoot I had plenty of ideas of where I could shoot and what I was trying to achieve.
But how do I get a final result that is as good as the image in my head? This is something I will be teaching this October in Puglia on the Heartland – People and Spaces Workshop. How to take a vision and make it happen and not walk away from it when it isn’t working out.
We have ONE PLACE available if you would love to take great people and spaces pics in a place close to heaven. You can read full details HERE.
It is with great ‘mamma pride’ that I present their work. Not only were they twelve of the most fabulous people one could wish to spend 6 days with in Puglia but each one has their own way of looking at the world, their own heart and soul that they put into the pics and what a talented bunch they are..
This is the tip of the iceberg. I hope to share more of their images in the coming months.
If you too would like to take your travel photography skills to new dizzy heights you might like to join my for the 2nd Edition of the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop next June 2015..Registration closes Monday 20th October 2014. All details here.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
Do you feel like you are the last on the list behind your partner, children, work commitments, cats, dogs, shopping, running a household and there is never enough time for you to do the things you love?
Back in the year 2000 before I left my life this is exactly how I felt. I felt like I put everything else before me and doing the things I loved. I was always way down at the bottom of the list. I never stopped and made time for myself and what I loved. It always felt like there was something more pressing or important to do.
Well, one day I did something drastic about it when I could no longer stand the feeling of coming last. I left my life, my job, my apartment, my country and my friends and went off on an adventure to find out what I loved in life. But I am not recommending you do that right now!
I have another solution.
If you would like to walk away from your life for just a week, try something you thought you might be good at or take your photography skills to new levels we’d love you to join us on the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop in beautiful Puglia.
We (me, another talented photographer and my fabulous staff) promise you one thing. You will be at the top of the list for a full 7 days. There will be no washing up, no organising accommodation or restaurants, no booking hotels and transfers, no-one to look after except yourself, your camera and the photos you want to take!
The ‘main event’ the statue of San Antonio di Padova in the streets of Ceglie Messapica copyright Carla Coulson
I love the feeling of arriving in a new place, my ‘photographer’s antenna’ on overdrive at all the wonderful nuances and differences of that town or country. I am endlessly fascinated by the food, the architecture, the scents, feelings and excitement it all inspires.
I have always loved to travel and it was by no accident I passed the first 12 years of my photography career as a travel photographer. I knew in my heart the day I started photography school that was what I wanted to do.
One of my favourite aspects of travel photography is shooting a cultural, sporting, musical, religious or fashion event that is particular to that place.
There are many great reasons why you should shoot an event as part of a travel story. When we are photographing a place we are trying to tell a story of that place, it’s people, it’s culture, they way they live, eat and enjoy life.
An event inspires powerful feelings. As photographers to tell a great travel story means more than a sun setting over the sea, it means showing emotion, belief, joy, happiness, devotion and connection of the people to that place. Lots of these emotions naturally occur at events.
It’s also a great way of using the place as a backdrop whilst something rich is going on.
An event often has deep historical significance, it’s part of a tradition that can go back for centuries and the whole town turns out in their best outfit for it!
Oh and there are fabulous costumes, brass bands, fairy lights and a whole lot more depending on the particular event.
Before I shoot an event, I research it.
Shooting around the event nun arriving at the church copyright Carla Coulson
These are some of the things I take into consideration when I shoot an event:
1. What’s its history, what is the story or legend behind the event?
2. I want to know how the event ‘works’. What time it starts and finishes. This is really important in regards to shooting it as often events are held at sundown or night and this needs to be calculated when planning your equipment and degree of difficulty.
3. Where it is and is there a particular route it follows? I walk the route if this is possible looking at all sorts of vantage points where I could shoot from.
4. I do light tests if an interior venue is to be used..
5. What’s the main event? In these pictures the main event is the men carrying the statue.
6. What’s going on around the event? This often is more interesting than the main event. It could be people arriving, worshipping, selling things, children together playing. All sorts of things happen around the main event and there are many beautiful storytelling moments to be captured.
7. I am constantly looking, scouting around to see what I can find that isn’t the ‘main event’. I have learnt throughout the years that often the best shots around to be found in the streets around the main event, backstage or afterwards when everyone is relaxed.
8. When someone points something out or suggests something I will go and check it out.
9. I have fun.. cause an event feels like a big fabulous party..
All these photos were shot during last years Caravan Travel Photography Workshop in Puglia Italy. If you would like to eat, breath and live travel photography for 7 days next June in beautiful Puglia please click here for more information.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into travel photography.
“As a young boy growing up in rural India, most of what I knew of the world was what I could see around me. But each night, I would look at the Moon – it was impossibly far away, yet it held a special attraction because it allowed me to dream beyond my village and country, and think about the rest of the world and space.” Naveen Jain
Imagine a town that has survived for hundreds of years on making beautiful hand-made ceramics. Add a twist of Southern Italian charm, workshops dug into soft stone to form grottos (grottaglie – that’s where the name comes from) and hundreds of artisans turning clay into pots, jugs, plates, cups, saucers, statues and other works of art – then you would have Grottaglie.
I discovered Grottaglie a couple of summers ago when Francesco and I were at the beach and it became too crowded so we decided to head inland for lunch (no Italian in their right mind would do this in August) but this is one of our tricks to finding something magical and real.
The local stone is called tufo In Italian and is soft enough to be able to dig into. Since Medieval times there have been caves dug around what is now the castle and slowly they were taken over and used as ceramic workshops.
But on any given day you can turn up in Grottaglie and walk the area known as the Quartier dell Ceramiche and go from one workshop to the next and see artisans turning clay, painting, dipping statues in white and creating every imaginable statue possible.
Whilst walking from workshop to workshop with Francesca she told me about Mimmo Vestita who had an incredible Mediterranean garden right in the middle of town and who recently whilst renovating the garden had discovered the floor of a Roman Villa and a byzantine crypt.
Whilst restoring another part of the garden and pulling away broken debris and trees the gardener found a carved column. They called in the archaeological society and together they went on a magical mystery tour and found a true treasure the underground crypt.
Grottaglie’s Mediterranean garden in front of the castle entrance.
If you are in Puglia don’t miss a visit to beautiful Grottaglie. She’s real, she’s artistic, she hasn’t been trussed up for the tourists and there are many wonderful photos to be had.
A giant round of applause to the all the artisans who gave their time and talent to us, who allowed us into their bottega’s to see how they work, create and maintain an ancient tradition. True southern hospitality at it’s most generous. I look forward to showing the participants work soon.
This is a private Mediterranean garden and the best one I have seen to date. Mimmo Vestita, the owner has a ceramics workshop up the road and not long ago unearthed a Byzantine Crypt underneath his garden and the floor of a Roman Villa. He opens the garden to the public for a small fee in August from 6pm to 10pm and regularly has exhibitions of some of his 4000 pieces of antique ceramics. DON’T MISS IT!! Follow on Facebook here.
“Each has his own happiness in his hands, as the artist handles the rude clay he seeks to reshape it into a figure; yet is is the same with this art as with all others: only the capacity for it is innate; art itself must be learned and painstaking”. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity and purpose, download my Free Workbook above.
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