In September, I took my first trip to the glorious city of Naples. My beautiful friend Carla Coulson, photographer and creative coach encouraged me to sign up to a photography workshop she was hosting there. The thought of visiting Naples for the first time and taking beautiful photographs excited me.
Photography has been something I’ve been involved in for years. I started at the early age of 18 as a junior art director and later I moved on to become a creative director and then began taking photos and filming for various clients, magazines and for my own personal projects. I loved photographing my second book My Greek Island Home, a documentation of life on the Greek Island of Lesvos.
I have never been very interested in the technical side of photography, working by instinct seems to suit me best which is probably why I waited until the digital age to throw myself into using a camera. My partner Matthew’s encouragement came in the form of my first grown up Cannon camera, the best birthday present ever and one that started me on my photographic journey.
I love to capture beautiful, simple, intimate images and I hope that if I can capture a moment that moves me that image may also be appreciated by someone else.
When I arrived in Naples I fell completely in love with the city. There was a grittiness to this historic city of many layers. The local people I met through the lens of my camera were open and friendly and didn’t mind having their photos taken, they honestly seemed to enjoy it.
Carla’s course was to be an education to me in shutters speeds and f stops, two things that I quite honestly found scary. On the first day, we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves, giving a bit of our personal history. Standing up in front of people and speaking about myself I find completely challenging. It makes me feel like I’m a child again, I become self-conscious, I feel shaky, my stomach churns and I hear my words ringing back at me. I’m a perfectionist and with that comes a whole load of insecurities. By day two I realised that this wonderful course I’d signed myself up for was pushing me into an emotional meltdown. It was nothing to do with Carla or the way she taught it was my past, the uncomfortable years I spent at school where I found it difficult to learn in a conventional way, where I was made to feel stupid and inadequate on many occasions. While I was great at sport and at art when put me in a classroom situation where I was asked questions or given lots of information to remember I floundered. Now every cell in my body was being reminded of primary school.
This was a great realisation and as painful as it was, was what I needed for me to start to try and break these old patterns. Breaking old patterns cannot be done overnight but just by being aware I was taking first step. It took me a few days to find my equilibrium. I learnt new things not just about f stops and shutter speeds but about me. I discovered that only by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations do you grow and learn.
It was a different week to what I had imagined but it was a wonderful week. I am truly grateful to Carla for encouraging me to come along for the ride, she is a great teacher and a great inspiration.
I would like to share with you some of the images from my week in Naples. I would also like to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone in 2017 try something new, be creative, love and never forget to remain true to your unique self. Happy New Year!
A big thank you to the people of Naples.