Many travelers zip through Naples on their way to Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast, or think of it as just a point of arrival or departure for exploring the area. But that means you’re missing a remarkable place, full of history and energy and an Italian allure all its own. I could get lost in the images of photographer Carla Coulson. When I found out recently about her photography workshop in Naples, I couldn’t resist sharing about it here. Her photos capture that impossible to pin down allure of Naples – intensely beautiful, gritty, vibrant, diverse. I asked Carla to share more about this city she loves and about her Naples photography workshop. May this encourage you to explore Naples as well on your next visit to the Amalfi Coast!
What first brought you to Naples and when did you know you were smitten?
I was in Lecce way back in 2001 in front of one of its beautiful baroque churches and all of a sudden I was encircled by a group of Neapolitan women. Somehow I ended up lunching with them and they were so proud and enthusiastic about their city I ended up taking the train a couple of days later to Naples. I stayed in the heart of Spaccanapoli in a funny old Pensione and walked out into the streets and couldn’t believe my eyes, in less than an hour I was smitten with the place. It was like street theatre on every corner.
You’ve described Naples as “raw, emotional, fast, voluptuous, confronting and generous.” Is is that blend of characteristics that draws you back?
I feel like you could draw a circle around Naples and it could be its own country. In ways it’s very Italian but in other ways it’s a whole new world, like Asia had a train crash with Italy! Each time I arrive in Naples I have the same feeling of awe as the first time I visited, there are so many contrasts and so much that still exists that has already disappeared from other parts of Italy. There markets and shops are overflowing with products, the architecture is grand and regal but with that “Cuban” faded patina and whole families glide around the streets of Vespas. I was warned each time I travelled to be careful but the Neapolitans were always so generous.
What emotions do you enjoy capturing in your photographs of Naples?
I love to capture their passion for life, love, faith, family and music. Neapolitans are very easy and open with their emotions and it makes it a joy to take photos in Naples.
Why did you choose Naples for your photography workshop?
I wanted to offer a unique opportunity to travel somewhere that maybe a lot of people hadn’t been and where there is a rich daily life that is inspiring to photograph. It would have been easy to go to a place like Venice but Naples makes my heart beat harder and I have always followed my heart. I think the people coming on the workshop will have the time of their life and start a life long love affair with this special place.
What is the one thing you wish every traveler knew about Naples?
There is so much to learn from Neapolitans, they have a great sense of humour, l’art d’arrangarsi (the art of getting by) which makes them extraordinarily creative when the chips are down but the one great life lesson we all could learn from Neapolitans is to live for the day. I have never seen a population take these words and truly live them. I have been told over and over again in Naples “that tomorrow can wait.” I think this is a beautiful way to live as you get the most out of today without the anxiety of thinking about the future.
If you’d love to take your photography to a new level and discover Naples at the same time, then you’ll want to check out the Intrepid – Naples Unedited photography workshop with Carla Coulson. There aren’t many spots left, so don’t miss your chance!