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Publié le by NmNomador

Be inspired by travel photographer Carla Coulson

Live the dream!

For photographer Carla Coulson, the people are the most important thing about any city – they bring a culture and a place to life. In her mind, the best travel photography is nothing without people. 

Here at Nomador, we’re most inspired and interested by the people too – and of course, experiencing new places, people and culture through the eyes of locals. We’re also excited by inspiring people whose lives have been shaped by travel; through their encounters with other people and cultures all across the world.

It wasn’t until Carla was living in Italy in her thirties that she discovered her passion for photography. Since then, it has changed her life: she now has several successful books and collaborations under her belt, works as a freelance travel and portrait photographer in Paris, and also runs photography courses in France and Italy. 

In following her passion, Carla has been able to discover the world in a whole new way. It’s a lifestyle so many of us dream about, but rarely decide to make a reality. Read on to find out more – we challenge you to not be inspired! ;)

Do you remember the first photo you ever took? Or, the photo that made you decide to get into photography? 

The first photo was when I was in my thirties really - I bought a Nikon camera but I never knew how to use it and I just put it on automatic. I was messing around, and I just started shooting my family. My cousin threw my little niece up in the air, and I took photograph - it was soft focus but there was this sort of real joy on his face. And I remember thinking, ‘Ooh that’s special’. I’m really attracted to movement and motion and I think just right from the beginning it just started naturally. 

Talk us through how you find subjects to photograph.

When I go out and, when I’m doing a book or something, literally, I’m searching for ‘my people’. It’s like you’re a detective. If you want to have a depth in your photos, you need to search and you need to find them. So many of my photographs are hundreds of hours of just walking, sticking my head in the door, going up the hill, going up the wrong street, and then I find something…

Why is it so important to connect with the people in a city in order to know the city itself? 

I like to be connected to people - it’s what I love the most. That’s what makes a culture, the French are the French, the Italians are the Italians, so I connect with the people. I think for me, the people are the big story. Everybody’s got an extraordinary story. 

Through the books that I’ve done on my own and with other people, that’s been the biggest feedback: people obviously love seeing the buildings but they really love seeing the people. I feel like there’s something missing if I have too many photographs without people in them.

Tell us about your most striking or memorable portrait subject.

After I’d been in Italy for a couple of years, I actually went to the Australian outback. I went to Kalgoorlie and saw posts on the door of the post office saying that there was a rodeo. So I went along and convinced my friend to come with me. 

There’s a photo I took of a guy - he looks like Braveheart: he’s on a horse and the horse is totally airborne. He has a sword out, and he’s about to put it through all these rings. I’d been a photographer for two or three years, and it felt like I’d gone a long way to get that photo. But the experience was so rich; just going there and being part of this Australia, that I always knew existed.

How would you describe your approach to photography, and the work you produce as a result?

I do two distinct kinds of photography in the sense that I do portraits that are totally constructed, as well as travel photography. 

For me, the portraits really have a lot of research behind them: they could be inspired by a fashion icon, or something else, and then I build the portraiture around that, with their approval. It’s informed by who the person is, and how I see them. 

But the thing that is in common between that and my travel photography - or all my photography - is I’m always looking for an emotional connection. I guess my approach is emotional - deeply connected to me.

I teach a course where, that’s part of the portraiture course, but part of it is about how to find your style. And the thing I say to people is: trust your morals, trust who you are, everything about you, everything you believe in, whether you like grunge or gritty. Whatever you truly love, what you truly believe in, you can turn that into photos. 

Most photography is just about who you are. You know, Psychologists could analyse a photographer by their photographs without even meeting them. Well I could, I think…

Feeling inspired?

Here at Nomador, we like to help you make your dreams a reality by bringing the world to your doorstep. It all starts by finding your next dream house-sitting opportunity, or finding a trustworthy house-sitter to look after your home while you explore the world. 

Remember: the possibilities are limitless!

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