Amalfi Reflections

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I love it when the Amalfi Coast takes me by surprise. Sometimes the surprise is just how often that still happens, even after being here for nearly 10 years now. While the typical colors that evoke the Amalfi Coast are the pastel hues of Positano’s houses or the brilliant yellow of the Amalfi lemons or the many shades of blue of the sea from turquoise to cobalt blue. While walking along the port in Amalfi recently, I glanced down into the water and caught these incredible red and white reflections dancing across the water. Somewhat hidden in the center is a white mask that reminded me of something you might find during Carnevale in Venice. The striking and powerful colors felt like they were of another place. Yet the reflection came from something that couldn’t be more traditionally Amalfi Coast – a local fishing boat!

 

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Intrepid Naples with Carla Coulson

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Photograph copyright Carla Coulson

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.

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Photograph copyright Carla Coulson

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.

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Photograph copyright Carla Coulson

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.

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Photograph copyright Carla Coulson

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.

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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!

Amalfi Coast Travel

Don’t Forget to Turn Around

Amalfi Coast Travel

I’m a fairly forward thinking person. I’ve never been one to spend a great deal of time reflecting or get stuck in the past. The truth? I’m a perpetual motion machine perplexed by people who have the time to be bored. (I mean seriously? With so much to learn and read and do?) But sometimes I do listen to that little voice that whispers, “Just turn around.” That’s when I caught this image of Atrani infused with blue. What a moment. It’s so easy to hurry about through life, especially if you’re like me and constantly looking ahead, working on or excited about what comes next. When I take a photo that resonates with me, it’s often because it’s telling me something. This one says, “Don’t forget to turn around.”

Amalfi Coast Travel Atrani Restaurants and Things to Do Moon

Foto Friday | Moonlight in Atrani

Amalfi Coast Travel Atrani Restaurants and Things to Do Moon

No matter what’s going on, there’s always a refuge for me in the beauty of the Amalfi Coast. It’s the kind of beauty that you can throw yourself into completely. It truly is good for the soul. And when you add in a spectacular, nearly full moon and a warm October evening? Oh, what a little moonlight can do! Last night we had a beautiful dinner at Ristorante Le Arcate in Atrani while enjoying the most remarkable moonlight streaming across the sea. This photo doesn’t begin to capture the beauty of the scene. Yet the very fact that I could capture something at all took me right back to another magical night taking photos in Boccadasse, Genova with Di Mackey. The gentle waves became a blur with the long exposure – a blurring of time and distance – but the moonlight shines strong.

Amalfi Coast Moments of Poetry

Foto Friday: Instructions for Living a Life

Amalfi Coast Moments of Poetry

There are so many ways that the poet Mary Oliver has captured beautiful moments of life in her work, but this excerpt from her poem “Sometimes” is perhaps my favorite. It has that slap you in the face simplicity and speaks a truth that really resonates with me. So few people pay attention to what happens in life – from the simple little things that can bring joy to those experiences that can change our lives if we let them.

If you pay attention, it’s easy to be astonished.

If you pay attention, it’s impossible to be bored.

If you pay attention and are astonished, the drive to tell about it is second nature. For some people that comes through writing, photography, art, music or any other form of creativity. Or maybe it’s just telling a good bedtime story to your kids or sharing what happened yesterday on your walk with a friend. These are the things we remember.

So, what do you have to tell?