Karoline's Work and Words About Working With Me in Norway

My lovely Norwegian clients were teenage sisters.  Their eye for composition and their ability to understand what I was showing them about photography, impressed me. 

They wrote of working with me and made me adore them even more :-)

Working with Di has been incredibly fun! At first, I thought it was going to be challenging learning everything in English, but it was surprisingly easy.

She is a really great teacher, and a really great person. I will definitely start taking a lot more pictures now that I know how to do it properly.

It has been an amazing experience that I will never forget!

Rebecca's Work and Words About Working With Me in Norway

You know us teens; we're bad at giving things a chance before deciding whether it's fun or boring, and I honestly thought it would be boring. But no, it was incredibly fun!

And not only was Di a good teacher, she is also one of those people who is easy to kind of connect with. And for me, that is very important. She taught us a lot more than just photography.

It was a great experience and I definitely have been inspired to photograph more.

Norway ... Just So Much.

I'm not even sure how to tell my stories from these days spent in Norway.

The days have been intense, the company superb, the food a delight, the weather ... all that I needed it to be.  I've met lovely people and smiled often. 

Today, after a session with some exquisite horses, Ren took me on a boatride out into the fiords here.   No words but here I am, doing the 'selfie' thing while out there on the boat.

In Norway Today ...

I love the amusing things I'm finding here in Stavanger, Norway.  The big red supply ship, with the huge mouth and sharp teeth painted on the bow, parked in the harbour below.  The hairdresser's sign in the photograph at the end of this post.  And the graffiti ...the graffiti here needs a whole  its own post.  It's divine.

And Norwegians speak the most beautiful English.  Ylvis prepared me for the English but oh... it is everywhere in this country I've not known until now.  The interview I'm linking to, switches to English at about 1 minute but these guys were my very first introduction to Norway.

Today though, we were in the most exqusite teahouse I've ever had the privilege of visiting.  Thank you to Selman, for his hospitality and kindess, and his truly good tea.

Rebecca and Karoline were such a pleasure to spend time wandering with, and I'm loving the light and the photography too.

It's like that.

About How It Is To Live About 16,000kms From Home ...

I grew up in a small town called Mosgiel, population something small, a place where people raised their families.  Near a city (Dunedin) but not a city.

I grew up with aunts and uncles living 'away' but close enough to visit sometimes.  I adored my Nana and Grandad (mum's parents) and often begged to go stay with them in their Invercargill house.  3 hours away in those days ... cars got faster, roads improved.  It's not so far in these days. 

My Grandma and Grandad were delightful too but that appreciation of them came later.  When I was small, it was all about Nana.

My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 1998, my Nana (her mother) slipped away before her, with undiagnosed cancer.  Surprising us all. 

These days, so many years later, I still imagine them alive and so I have these conversations with them going on in my head.  Not 'voices'.  I guess I simply talk to the memory of them.  The memories of who they were, the memories of how they would react to things in my life now.

But I 'find' them via my senses too.  There might be a sight Mum would love, or an experience I wish I could share with her, or questions I so want to ask her.  And then I've wondered, in the years since losing her, if Nana ever wanted to travel ... but I never knew to ask.  Who knew I was going to do what I did. 

And, of course, I thought they were forever folk. We never considered that thing called Death while they were alive, there was no, 'this is last time I will see them'.  And then it was complicated by the fact that Mum wasn't even 60 when she died and that she so very much wanted to live.

Fast-forward to Now and I was invited to visit Lake Como.  I went, full of misgivings, knowing the Genova was the place that had captured my soul ... but curious to see what was there at this much-talked-about lake. 

It turns out there was a whole lot of 'home' just waiting for me to discover it.  The lake and the mountains there created a bizarre, and yet beautiful, split in my reality.  It was so very like Queenstown, New Zealand ... and yet, not.  The scent of lake rocks warmed by the sun, cleaned by a massive lake ... so very familiar.  The early morning peace ... 6am lake-lapping, birds calling, and air so clean that it took me back home in the peace of it all.

But another 'experience' was the food.  That first night Helen and I ate on the lakeside balcony of Ristorante Helvetia, in Lezzeno, and oh how we dined.  We ate every course, unusual for us but we were celebrating the end of a first fantastic workshop back in Genova.

For me, the course of the evening was this incredible piece of pork, with cheese and ... other stuff. It took me back to those times, when I was safe in the kitchen of Nana, eating meals that comforted me at some deep soul level, even while she denied she could cook.

I wish I could share my journey with these women who formed me.  I feel that they watch over me since dying, and I hope that they do because I miss them.  My sister will come here one day and we'll travel for sure, toasting those women we loved as we wander.  Those women who made us the creatures we are today.

But anyway, all of that just so I could post this photograph of a dinner that I hope to repeat sometime soon.

Our Clients Wrote of Our Workshop

What can I write ...

I feel so extraordinarily grateful to the three women Helen and I invited on our A New Way of Seeing workshop, in Genoa, Italy.

Since then Lisa, Leah, and Laura have written of working with us in ways that have filled my wee kiwi soul to overflowing.

Leah, from Help. I Live With My Italian Mother In Law, wrote of her experience with us in an English magazine

Laura, from Ciao Amalfi, wrote up her experience with us over on her blog. 

Today, I'm just in from reading Lisa's account of her time with us over on her blog.  That would be Lisa, from Renovating Italy ... the Lisa who had me laughing so hard that I could barely stay standing out there on Via Porta Soprana.  She has a talent for laughter but the weekend was full of laughter, of stories and photography too.

I borrowed one of Lisa's photographs from her post about it all.  I love this particular image, taken by Silvana, wife of Pino.  Pino is the man nestled in-between Lisa, myself, and Helen ... late on that laughter-filled evening in Genova.

Silvana and Pino own the very best pizzeria in the world and I adore them.  Their pizzas too. And so it seemed entirely appropriate to be photographed together.  Silvana, after a hot and exhausting evening, decided she would be the photographer ... and no begging her to join us would change her mind. 

I have to admit, I'm looking a little rumpled at this point in the day.  We were almost home after that first workshopping day.

I would work with any of these women in a heartbeat.  They were magnificent.  All of them. 

Huge grazie mille's to Laura and Lisa, Leah and Helen. 

It was a most magnificent weekend!

Zucchini Blossoms and So Much More ...

I have been waiting for my writing voice to return ... waiting for my desire to process photographs endlessly ... waiting for my creativity to reappear.

Tonight, perhaps it has begun to arrive.

It was the oddest kind of day.  A 15 minute photo-shoot turned into 8 hours of, sometimes, epic journey that began as I leapt from my train, fearing the doors might close on me but knowing I must leap because Mr Crazy Dog was barking up a storm out on mainstreet, and Miss 10 appeared to be the innocent cause.  Or so I was told over the phone.

Crisis averted, I finally caught up with Simon and Paola, over in Brussels, photographed their renovations and talked ..a lot  :-)  Well, perhaps all that talking was me.  Paola is the friend who so generously allows me to use her apartment in Genova.  I wanted to catch her up on stories from Genova ... this is my excuse for all the talking.

8 hours after leaving home, I returned.  Falling asleep on the train between Brussels and Antwerp but waking in time to get off at the right station.

Tonight, 10.30pm,  I began to download a treasure trove of photographs.  A portrait session I did at Lake Como, with my delightful business partner, Helen

And during the downloading I discovered the image below, taken during a lunch with Andrea, from IC Bellagio.  Thank you to Andrea for the lunch and for the conversation.  It was a lovely way to say goodbye to this country I've come to love.

So many more stories to follow in the days and weeks ahead although ... I'm packing for Norway.  I have a photography workshop there soon.  Not only that, it's summer too.  My little cup runneth over.

Magnificent Days ...

We are on Day 2 of this first A New Way of Seeing photography workshop and all I can say is that feels like both an extraordinary privilege to meet and work with these women but it is a huge amount fun too.

I almost fell over due to laughing so hard last night.  Lisa, the Australian, was responsible.  Trans-Tasman relations are at all time high.  Meanwhile I have a few million photographs to download and so many stories to tell but really lacking the time to do.  We're off to Lake Como tomorrow ... stories should follow.

Day One of the weekend workshop ended on a restaurant balcony located at the edge of the Ligurian Sea, out at Boccadasse, eating exquisite food and well, yes ... laughing often.

We are a small united nations, with the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and America involved. 

Now ... for Day Two.

A New Way of Seeing ...

The new website has launched ...

And we are on Twitter and Facebook.  Places are selling.  It's so exciting.

The newsletter is still coming, I had to wait for my fabulous graphic designer and the marketing guru to ride to the rescue, in terms of logo design and site building. 

More to follow on them in the weeks ahead, as they are superbSpeedy, efficient, inspired, talented ...

Come wandering in Genoa, Italy. 

Today ...

Today is all about creating ... text for the workshop descriptions, and more text for the Newsletter I'll be sending out soon. 

Then I want to process Federico's photographs from those days in Genova.  And I have a range of interviews almost ready to publish.  And some more to transcribe.

But that photography workshop last Sunday ... it's still making me smile.  Ellen sent this photograph she took of Anna.

That Photography Workshop for Women Last Sunday ...

I led a photography workshop for women on Sunday and all I can tell you is that I absolutely loved it.

My intention was to introduce this small group of women to their cameras ...  so that they understood how to use their cameras off Auto, how to work with light and take the best possible photographs.

But I need to mention how much fun it is to bring women together.  It's always so powerful somehow.  There's a different kind of energy that flies between us all.  There are the conversations over lunch, and the curiousity about each others lives, the sharing ...

I know that part of the pleasure I get from putting these workshops together is simply about the people I get spend time with.  Remarkable souls.

Photography Workshops for Women.

I am running a photography workshop in April however do let me know if you have a small group of friends or want to work with me one-on-one, and we can work out another date that suits you.

Sunday 6 April, 2014.

We will begin at 10am and work through until 5pm.

(Lunch, with non-alcoholic drinks, included in workshop fee.)

Cost: includes lunch, drinks, an A3 notebook, and a copy of my 38-page e-book, titled Photography Made Beautifully SimpleUsually 65 euro.

I'll send you instructions on how to reach the venue beforehand.

Note: there are just 4 places, allowing for different cameras and giving me the time to work with each person.

The details: I'm launching a series of one-day photography workshops for women who want to take better photographs for their business blogs and/or personal blogs.

Women who don't have the flash camera or time to learn all there is to learn about photography.  Women who do have the flash camera and want to know how to use it.

Together, small groups of us, will spend a few hours out in the city and park here in Antwerp, then head back to work on editing our images.

These will be an ongoing series of workshops.  If you don't get everything you wanted to know in that first workshop, then come back ... and we'll hang out together and have a good time while we work on the rest.

I will help you with basic things like light, camera shake, and how to photograph people.  We can work on how to tell the story of you, your family, or your business.

And how to create photographs you're happy to put out there in public.

I will also introduce you to a very basic but effective editing programme.

Contact me if you are interested, want to book a place, have questions, or requests about topics you're struggling with.

You will receive a free copy of my photography e-book, Photography Made Beautifully Simple, when you sign-up to work with me.  It's a book that introduces you to your camera and its functions in small, easy-to-manage pieces and it would be superb if you are familiar with it before our workshop.

I'll be holding the workshops in Antwerp, in Belgium.  If you need info about trains, parking and etc, don't hesitate to ask for more information.

Teaching Miss 9 To Take Photographs ...

I spent a few hours teaching Miss 9 about photography yesterday.  Just a slow introduction to the most basic ways of using an SLR.  We talked of composition, light and exposure.  We did a lot on focus.

And eventually, as per the story that follows, we went to photograph the  giraffes.  Once there I shared my passion for reflections. 

She took it on board but I love what she did.  So different to mine but that is the beauty of photography.  No one ever sees and captures the same thing.  It's always about your own individual way of seeing.

We ran this image through PicMonkey this morning, added a frame and cropped it a little.  The light and colour, the composition except for a small crop, it's all hers. It's how she saw ...

And I love it.

From Piedmont ...

The Beautiful Truth workshop in Piedmont was intense ... I'm only beginning to unpack everything that happened and to go through the images we all took there.

Intense in that way it is when like-minded women gather together.  As always, I met some truly superb people who made me laugh so hard sometimes ... other times, well I'll post a photograph of Sara, Sandy and Julie trying on shoes at the Market in Acqui Terme - cameras dangling over their shoulders.

But no, that made me smile too.  They were delicious and we're all still in touch.  In fact, Julie and Sara arrive at my place tomorrow, flying in from a quick trip to Portugal . 

In the image that follows ... Sara made us pause while she captured herself, Diana, and I in reflection while taking aperitivo in Acqui Terme.

I Am Here, Really.

I realise it has been a while since I've posted.

I've been so empty of words.

My cousin is staying.  I adore my cousin, she's family, and I've been trying to make the most of her being here before she heads off to the Southern Hemisphere.

But before she leaves ... there will be Verona, Trieste, Lake Blad, maybe Senj, Budapest, and Vienna if there's time.  Julie wanted to go wandering and it seemed like a very good idea.

There's a party coming up at our place, with 3 favourite friends staying over at the weekend.  And there's an attendance at a Gregorian Chant performance in a couple of days.  And the new Red Star Line Museum invited me in for a sneak preview this weekend.

I've been busy with ticking off my 'to-do' list.  Catching up on long overdue emails.  And I need to talk beer with these guys.  To write a blog post for the Loving Genova people ... because I do love Genova, just in case you had missed that fact about me.

I have sent previous photography workshop photographs to the lovely baker in Genova, and an English menu off to my favourite pizzeria in the world.  Photographs to the lovely Giulia, the results of asking if I might photograph her and her puppy while doing the aperitivo thing in Acqui Terme.

In-between times, I had the most incredible luck.  I found a novel set in one of the places I lived in New Zealand.  I've been reading that on the trams, in my bed, anyplace there's is space for a book.  I wrote home to Manapouri and Te Anau, asking old friends if the book was as good as it seemed, only to discover that people I knew, or their family, were used as character inspiration for the writer.

I loved the book.  I loved being home in New Zealand for the duration of the read.

Gert returns from Genova tomorrow.  He's had a week out of the madness and chaos of here,.  Actually he has been tormenting me a little, talking of temperatures I could barely imagine back here in Belgium, where autumn has arrived and I'm wearing boots and my polar fleece ... that is after weeks of glorious Italian sunshine and warmth.

I'm deep-cleaning the house, making sure all is ready for everyone and the weekend ahead.  Stories may follow ...

I wonder if I sensed something about the road ahead of me after the workshop.  I seem wary.  This photograph, taken by Sandy during the workshop in Acqui Terme ... is me, responding with that discomfort that comes when I realise I am the 'subject' rather than the photographer.

An 'ohmygoodness' moment I think.

There are so many reasons ...

There are so many reasons that Italy has slipped into my heart but one of the biggest is surely the people I have met here over the years.

The people of Piedmont have simply added to that particular experience of Italy.  There was the intensity, the laughter, and the pure joy of spending those hours working with Carla in her restaurant kitchen on Monday ... then the kindness and patience of the people in Acqui Terme's Market with those foreign photographers yesterday.  Last night it was all about the generosity of the people who led us through an exquisite multi-course dinner. 

There is a saturation that occurs, for me, here.  A saturation that is not just of a physical nature but there is a very real sensation of my soul being filled ... or whatever 'organ' it is that stores joy.  It fills and overflows and simply sparkles so many times in day when I'm here.

Sure there is the beautiful landscape, the visible histories, the wine, the food, and the language but there are also the people. 

Yesterday the lovely man pictured below arrived at Diana and Micha's, laden down with gifts and toting his own gentle charm.  Needless to say we adored him, both for the fruit and even more after he called us all beautiful women.

For all that is difficult, in Italy in these current days, there is still so much that is beautiful and I am truly grateful to the people who allow me in.

Genova tomorrow, the day when I get to introduce everyone here to that Ligurian city I love so very well.

A Most Beautiful Day ...

I don't know if I have the words to capture half of the beauty that happened todayon our Beautiful Truth Retreat.

I am learning that something extraordinary happens whenever women come together in a small group to talk and learn.  Something so powerfully beautiful that it feels a privilege just to be a part of it.

Yesterday some of us met for the first time.  Today, dare I claim it ... we're friends.  It has been an intense day.  It's only 9.42pm as I write this but I could easily sleep now. 

This morning we gathered for breakfast ... a divine breakfast of fresh fruits, Italian coffee, tea, muesli, and pastries. Freshly-squeezed orange juice too.

Then there was a photography workshop with me ... out by the pool.  It was made up of more than a little laughter and many photographs were taken out there in the blue-sky summer's day that was today.

But then a most extraordinary thing ... we jumped in the car and headed off to Carla's restaurant.  We spent the next few hours learning how to make pasta and bruschetta the old-fashioned way ... no machines.  Carla made us all smile as she opened a bottle of some divine Piedmont white wine and we began with a toast. 

Of course, as the hours unfolded, there was more laughter and so many courses of beautiful food that we almost had to be rolled away from the table.

There was bruschetta, a pesto cream sauce for our handmade pasta. There was this turkey, pot-roasted, in sauce made from its juices, some cream, dried mushrooms and other secret ingredients.  Some of us could have attempted that as the soup course.  The gravy was divine.

And we ended with a bowl of plain gelato ... no flavour, not even vanilla just gelato and I had never tasted anything so good.  And understand, I could have stopped with the bruschetta, I definitely could have stopped after the pasta.  But I ate it all, well most of it, like everyone else.

And like everyone else, I left having absolutely fallen for Carla.  She hugged and kissed us all when we left and, I think I speak for everyone, when I write that we left feeling like the sun had been shining on us ... just us, for those hours spent in her company learning those everyday things that meant so very much to us.

Dinner tonight and we gathered in the kitchen, a selection of beautiful Italian meats and vegetables there in front of us, some red wine ... all of talking, and laughing.  I needed this laughter.  Life so serious so often and to gather with these women who simply astound me ... it is good.

Perhaps the photograph that follows captures a little of fun of it all.  Then again, I said quite a lot ... didn't I, writes this bemused woman, hoping she will be forgiven for raving, again.

There is more, there was the visit the ancient home of an artist, his lovely architect wife, and his film-making son.  But I don't dare try to add that on here.  That story is a whole other post.

The photograph below ... Diana and Carla, serving up the pasta we made. 


And Now ... to Begin

As Diana and I put this 5-day photography and storytelling workshop we never let go of the idea that we wanted to create a beautiful space for the work to unfold in.

And it wasn't simply about the physical space, it was about creating a nurturing space too.  It is this desire that has informed all our decisions made over months.

Yesterday, making last-minute checks, we were pleased with what we have created.  Gift packages that contain not just the physical gifts but a whole lot of thought too. These are the kind of things we would be touched by.

The evenings we eat out are evenings that made us smile as we planned them.  We are eating at some very special places in and around Acqui Terme.  Our menus for meals eaten here at the B&B have been put together with quite some consideration of what is required each day.  And Diana and I will be up early each morning to prepare breakfast. 

Our intention was create a safe and nurturing space for those working with us over the days ahead.  We believe we have achieved that. 

Below is another glimpse ... our tea table set up for those who love tea.

So here I am writing this post from that small desk in front of the window, the one that looks out over the pool set in the heart of the Piedmont countryside.  We are ready to begin ...