Passionate Traveller

by | Aug 25, 2015

“I packed up my life, took a plane to Florence, to learn Italian.

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Carla Coulson talks about her new found love for travel…

“I packed up my life, took a plane to Florence, to learn Italian. When I walked into a darkroom in Florence it was love at first sight.”

I left my ‘life’ back at the beginning of 2000. I had been unhappy for years with the way things had turned out. I was single and doing a job I didn’t care about and I had just turned 35. My local Thai takeaway awarded me ‘client of the year’ that Christmas and in the moment I knew I had to get out. I packed up my life, took a plane to Florence, to learn Italian. When I walked into a darkroom in Florence it was love at first sight. At the end of the year I had my first travel story published in Marie Claire and spent the past twelve years working for magazines including various lifestyle & travel magazines. Along the way I have published 7 photographic books including Italy Joy, Paris Tango, Chasing a Dream and Naples A Way of Love. I live in Paris with my Italian husband and cat named Avedon.




Many things inspire my work, light, life, emotions and travel. There is nothing like getting off the plane, train or boat in a new destination and having your antenna on full alert at all the nuances and differences. I love this. I also love the work of nature that is light. The most mundane subject with beautiful life creates magic and wherever I can I try to bring an emotional quality to my photos. Life is an incredible inspiration, people going about their daily life can be of extraordinary beauty and this is a big inspiration. Capturing those simple moments.


My favorite city is Naples. As a photographer and traveller I have been to many famous cities but I always felt like I was too late. Paris would have been amazing in the 50’s or Florence after the war but the first time I arrived in Naples I felt like I was right on time. Naples is a rich, chaotic, gritty town and it’s happening right now. It is so inspiring as a photographer, it is everything you imagine of Italy but it is Italy on steroids. I love it.


Italian Joy is a personal book about falling in love with photography, Italy and re-discovering the simple things in life. It’s about walking away from what you are expected to do in life and seeking out what makes your heart skip a beat. I did the unthinkable, I swapped a successful business in Sydney for an old Nikon and a dream to become a photographer and did it all in Florence. Italian Joy has is a celebration of Italy through photography and my personal experiences and what can happen if you take a risk.


The list is long. I would love to go to Cuba. All that architecture, music and emotion would be so fabulous to capture and I would love to explore Lisbon sometime soon. I am attracted to cities with stories, with patina where life is lived on the streets.

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