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.
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.
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. When the images have been printed, dried and flattened he hand retouches away any dust spots.
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 shopWednesday 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
Ps: If Italian Joy made an impact on your life I would love you to share this post. x
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.
Long before you arrive at Masseria Cimino you are struck by the sight of ancient olive trees that resemble sculptures, twisted over hundreds of years with winds, run and the scorching sun.
Ancient Olives Trees Puglia Copyright Carla Coulson
Olive Trees Puglia Copyright Carla Coulson
These ancient olive trees have always been one of my favourite things about Puglia, a reminder of how old this land is and how deeply ingrained the olive tree is in the culture and history.
Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson
I decided to make Masseria Cimino a part of the first Caravan Travel Photography Workshop for a couple of reasons. I loved it’s exquisite make-over, not too flashy and not too rustic, somewhere in between.
And I knew it would make the perfect setting for the photographers to take interior and exterior shots and as a background to shoot food.
The sun beds copyright Carla Coulson
Masseria Cimino is an exquisite palette of white broken only by the local vegetation of cactus trees, olives and rosemary and the soft blue they have chosen for the doors, windows and furniture.
Entrance Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson
There is one original red wall and we all went mad shooting it.
And Masseria Cimino has the coolest uniforms.. beautiful Viviana in her gorgeous uniform.
The Bar Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson
The furniture in the interior of the bar has been constructed of concrete in the simple way they do in the Greek Islands and a clever interior designer has added lovely soft furnishings in white and beige. Cactus leaves hang as decoration in the main room. I learnt later on the trip this was a traditional custom, the Pugliese do this to conserve the fruit that grows on this plant so they can eat it fresh for months to come.
Details of the Cactus leaves Copyright Carla Coulson
I was a little bit excited about the cactus leaves!
Rooms Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson
Although I was teaching and didn’t have a lot of time to shoot it was such a graphic exterior to shoot I couldn’t help but grab a couple of shots on the hop.
Rooms Masseria Copyright Carla Coulson
I adore the textures of traditional stone paving, white walls dotted with blue and a grapevine for shelter. Divine colour palette..
Athalee Brown and a stone wall Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson
Workshop organiser Athalee Brown’s caftan matched the stone wall and cactus and I couldn’t resist a pic..
Masseria Ciminio has respected many traditional ways and incorporated them into the decor, design and food. Tomatoes hang in the dining room, food is served on locally made ceramic plates with beautiful white linen and the menu is ladened with local products.
Tomatoes Hang in the dining room Masseria Cimino copyright Carla Coulson
I hoped you enjoyed a little glimpse into this beautiful space in Puglia. I loved staying here and if you are visiting Puglia you might like it too! You can check out their website here.
“There is a single thread of attitude, a single direction of flow, that joins our present time to its early burgeoning in Mediterranean civilization.” Arthur Erickson
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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