Tuesday, August 07, 2012

tim coulson's "the nursery" - a review

On Saturday, in front of nine other amateur photographers, Tim Coulson reminded me about that day last year that I cried down the phone to him. I sobbed happiness because he had made me realise what I had. "But you already had it," he said. "Yes, but you captured it - every little moment of it." 

I cried again on Saturday. Because Tim put this photo up on the projector screen as an example of a family portrait. All he had asked Daniel and I to do was sit on the stairs. But within one shot he photographed a proud man, a deep-in-love new mother and two little ones embraced. My family. Everything. 

Tim Coulson has, within one year, travelled the path from obscurity to success - thousands of photos over hundreds of days. It's been such a privilege to witness his journey and hence it was an absolute honour to attend "The Nursery - a people photography workshop"

I spoke a little bit about what it's like to be photographed by him. Tim wholeheartedly loves people. He admires family. When he steps into your home he treats it as a sacred space and within minutes (three, maximum) he has his camera out. But rarely do you notice it. He remains present and engaged the entire time - the essence of his emotional shooting. Within his photos are everyday moments that rarely get documented; a mother consoling a child, a father leading the way, a newly married couple holding on tight. 

          At "The Nursery" Tim taught his art. He discussed the best way to approach and connect with the subject, encouraged us to 'see' the moments that usually go unnoticed and provided a clear and concise explanation of manual photography (there's really only three things you need to know!)

After an inspiring morning, with cameras ready, he took us to the river where, rather fittingly, dappled afternoon light made for perfect photography conditions. He photographed me, explaining as he shot, and then the nine other attendees took turns photographing me, Che and each other. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you there were yelps of excitement - within hours nine photographers had learnt to shoot manual and were taking stunning photographs - light flares, bokeh, glorious composition...

When the light started to fade we headed back to the Black Shack so we could learn a little bit about organising, culling, editing and filing. From listening to Tim I now know that I definitely take too long to decide whether or not I like a photo. His advice? If you don't like it within five seconds you're never going to like it. Sorted. As for filing - create a system and stick to it. Which is number one on my to-do list. 

There was so much more to The Nursery....I could tell you everything but I'd rather you discover it for yourself. If you attend I promise you an inspiring, informative and heart-warming day. 

If you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer them in the comments section. Tim will be reading your comments too so no doubt he'll join the conversation. He will be travelling to Melbourne in September (there's still a couple of places left) and every state in Australia in the next year to run "The Nursery"....email Kesh at hello @ timcoulson.com to register your interest. 

Familiar faces in my photos? Luisa and Annettte were documenting the day behind-the-scenes style...and the lovely Peta, Belinda, Greer, Kelly and Roberta were there too! I shot on two cameras - my GF1 and Tim's Canon 5D Markii (I'll be upgrading soon!)

Of course, those last three photos up there were taken by Mr Coulson.


72 COMMENTS

  1. ummm i think i'll just read this out next saturday when it's my turn. gulp.

    beautifully said for beautiful Tim.

    xo em

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  2. It was a good day, wasn't it? So lovely to meet you in real life x

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    1. Greer - We loved having you and thank you so much for Roo's knitted beanie. It is the best. Your images are looking amazing.

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  3. I just got goosebumps... And I'm now feeling all emotional. I can't wait for my turn to come in Melvourne. I'm inspired already! xx

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    1. Can't wait to meet you when we head down.

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  4. Hi Jodi, I have registered my interest for Adelaide...fingers crossed! This sounds like an incredible day and you have described it beautifully x

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    1. it sounds like there's a lot of interest coming from Adelaide...and I know Tim and Kesh love the city of churches...

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    2. Can't wait to come to Adelaide. Jane - you're on the list :)

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  5. Jodie, you have a rare capacity to be consumed by your family and expressing it with an eloquence that is so dignified. You are incredibly romantic but never cloying. I love your blog.

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    1. blush. very kind words Claire. thank you x

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  6. Please ask Tim, Kesh and Roo {very politely} to come and visit our divine state of Tasmania {and please come back with your beautiful little family too}! I am so hoping to attend a Nursery session and if not in Tassie, then Melbourne it is :-)

    Jodi, I truly cannot express how much I value every single phrase you weave... it's like music for the soul, but with letters instead of notes.

    xx

    fields-of-sage.blogspot.com

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    1. Just shot you an email, Anna. We love Tassie and plan to run workshops there.

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  7. Jodi I must thank you for letting us photograph you at the nursery, a natural model with poise and dignity.

    I also want to thank you for sharing your family with us in the slideshow that Tim prepared. The stunning and intimate shots combined with the music had me quietly weeping in the corner as I ached for those I love, both here and gone.

    It was a truly divine moment and one that I won't forget.

    Again thank you.

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    1. Colin - I wanna come see you next time I'm up in Burrawang. Thanks so much for bringing so much goodness to The Nursery.

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  8. Oh I so wish I was in Australia right now to attend this. It looks like heaven. His photography is just amazing and seeing your little family through his eyes is just beautiful.

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    1. Trudy - If you wanted to register your interest, for anywhere in the world, shoot and email to hello@timcoulson.com

      We hope to take the workshops to Europe and the USA next year.

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  9. Beautiful post and photos, all the lovely things you said are just so beautiful and Tim love for his family is just amazing, thanks for sharing, have a lovely day!

    Big hug!

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  10. Gorgeous photography and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. ps. New-ish to your blog and loving it!

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  11. I love vicariously experiencing this through you. I only hope to snag Tim in the states one day! Beautiful photos Jodi!

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    1. Hey Kate - I would love to run a workshop in the States. If you shoot an email to hello@timcoulson.com I can let you know when we make it over there. We are hoping for 2013.

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  12. Well said Jodi! I wish Tim could come to the States and teach me a thing or two about photography. There is so much I still don't know!

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    1. Your blog is really cool and I think we share the same pram :) I'm hoping to be able to run workshops in the States in 2013.

      If you email hello@timcoulson.com I can let you know when we head over.

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  13. Sounds like a fantastic day. As if I had any doubts it wouldn't be! Beautiful pictures and words Jodi, I'm sure you were a wonderful speaker and super inspiring.

    Now. I just have to wait for Mr Coulson to bring The Nursery to another continent.... xx

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    1. You know our home is your home, so you have a UK venue when you make the trip! X

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  14. I'd love to take a plane right now to can attend the Nursery at Melbourne. I hope that someday...
    Beautiful shots Jodi and beautiful words, I always love how you find the most perfect words for express a feeling so clearly.

    x

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    1. Kesh and I are planning to travel to Europe and the USA :) Shoot me an email and I can let you know when we head over. hello@timcoulson.com

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  15. Please write more about photography - it is so inspiring...

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  16. Amazing! He is something SOMETHING that Tim x

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  17. i love the generousity of spirit around all of this- tim is amazingly skillful, and also so giving in his knowledge. the nursery looks wonderful...maybe someday!

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  18. I love how Tim's teaching the craft of photography - it's such a rewarding, wonderful thing to learn and the more you do learn and play the more addicted you get. I've seen your face and your beautiful family over on Tims blog but never found you here! I've had a good play with the GF1 and love the results especially for a little portable camera - I also think the menu and settings are creative and allow amazing results but if you upgrade to a Markii you'll be making the best decision - just know that you will not ever want to put it down!

    Yay to Tim and yay to learning - and new blog discoveries!

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  19. I vote for The Nursery to come to Canberra...Jodi you have advocated it beautifully!

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    1. I would love to come to Canberra. We actually had an attendee on Saturday who made the 3 hours drive to come along!

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    2. I'm actually smack bang in the middle between Melbs and Canberra (driving time), so it's a hike either way for me, but worth it I AM SURE!

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  20. Wow I would love to attend that! He sure is a brilliant artist.

    That is an amazing family portrait of you guys. So beautiful.

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    1. We'd love to come back to NZ. If you send me an email, I'll let you know when we make it over there. hello@timcoulson.com

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  21. Sounds like it was great Jodi! I considered popping my name down for the Melbourne one, but budgets a bit tight at the moment, but I'm very excited one of my beautiful friends Amelia will be going! She can then share her wisdom with me - or i'll just make her take photos of Cooper and Indiana for practice! xx

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  22. Oh it looks and sounds wonderful! I'm trying my very best to be there on Saturday, wish me luck! xx

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    1. I so hope you can make it Gaby. You will LOVE it! x

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  23. Looks like a wonderful time and the photos are gorgeous. Hopefully one day Tim makes the trip out to Brooklyn NY. Just a short flight :)

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    1. Alyce. Not many things would make me happier than running a workshop in Brooklyn. Seriously - shoot me an email and I'll let you know when we are stateside. hello@timcoulson.com

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  24. Tims passionate and generous spirit really shines through in his work - and sharing his knowledge so freely and enthusiastically and is such a humble act. I would have loved to have been there! Perhaps I'll see you guys in Brisbane, Tim! :) x

    And the 5d mark ii is totally on the wish list!

    Beautiful pictures, both Tim's and yours, Jodi! x

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    1. Claire - you will be at one of these. It has to happen.

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  25. Thanks Jodi for sharing your thoughts on the day. It sounds like an amazing experience and I would LOVE to take part. I am too scared to shoot on Manual at the moment, but I would love to learn. Have you ever thought of coming to New Zealand Tim!?

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    1. Viki - We sure have. We shot there last year and would love to come back. Are you North or South Island? Shoot me an email and I'll let you know when we are there. hello@timcoulson.com

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    2. just wanted to add my two cents for the South island - hopefully by the time you come I will have changed over (not completely) from film to digital :-) but for now, it is so wonderful to read all these positive reviews - I love reading about photography from such passionate, graceful people.

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    3. email Tim with your details Georgi...he'll keep you updated about his NZ travel plans x

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  26. Hi Jodi, I learnt a couple of things just from reading your post. I can only imagine how much you have learnt at Tims workshop. I would love to do one too. We are on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. I love taking photos...but I am afraid I am of the click and shoot variety...auto all the way. I am scared I will miss the moment if I fiddle with the settings! The kids are growing to quickly and I really need to capture moments better than I have been. So...thankyou for reminding me that this is something I should really try to do. Cassy

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    1. Cassy, I think as a photographer you just have to accept that you're going to miss moments. The most renowned photographers in the world miss moments every time they shoot. I know I would rather one beautiful, quality shot (on manual!) than 10 average ones. I promise you that if you do start to shoot on manual it won't take you long to get the hang of it..and you'll be so empowered when you take a photo that you absolutely love. x

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    2. Hi Cassy - I'm also from Sunshine Coast (Noosa) and also a Cassie (ie though :) I think Tim is planning a workshop up here early in the new year. I'm also terrified of manual! I love that Jodi said it was just three things you need to know....really? Wow! x

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  27. What a beautiful review, Jodi. I have secured my position at The Nursery in September when Tim, Kesh & Roo visit Melbourne. This post has given me tingles of anticipation, I can not wait to learn, play and embrace my camera with more knowledge! x

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  28. Come to Byron bay please Tim!!

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  29. Wonderful review, beautiful shoots, I think Tim should do another Sydney session later on this year because I really really want to go.

    After reading your early post about taking photos, commenting & all I have finally left my camera on manual & I am slightly proud of my photos but they are nothing compared to those ones above, again beautiful.
    x

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  30. i'm so happy i followed greer here. stunning photos, beautiful people, jodi i think you really are as sweet as you are lovely. please think of coming to the west coast of california tim! thank you for sharing your gifts!

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  31. When you venture north Tim please let me know...definitely in !!!
    Love how you put it so simply and beautifully Jodi, looks like it was a wonderful weekend.X

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  32. Beautiful words and photographs Jodi. You and Tim are both so inspiring. I am so excited about attending the nursery in Melbourne, and this has made me even more so. I can't wait! xx

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  33. This post is inspiring in so many ways. I'm so happy I'm able to attend in September. My list of questions is growing, and I can guarantee it will be me yelping with glee when i manage to capture shots like these. Oh those light flares!
    Thanks to you and Tim xo

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  34. I am not at all surprised that you cry when you see Tim's photos of your beautiful family. That man is a magician with a camera! Your posts about photography have been incredibly inspiring and have really encouraged me to have a go. I'm loving what I've learned so far just by playing around. I'm off to email Kesh for Brissie's turn. Mr S. Claus is bringing me a new camera....think I might put in a polite request for the GF1.I'm sure he can fit it in his sleugh!. Wishing you a brilliant and sunshiney week :)

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    1. I highly recommend the GF1 with 20mm 1.7 lens or the Canon 60D with 50mm 1.8 x

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  35. I think Tim's taking over the world! And I feel like I'm missing out on something MASSIVE not attending one of these workshops. Kellie xx

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  36. my goodness, this is absolutely beautiful. i'm only fifteen, and i live in texas, but maybe one day if i happen to be in australia (and when i'm older, of course) i'll sign up for one of these. i've been into photography for a little while now, but i haven't really kickstarted what i want to do with it, which is capture the moments that you'd find yourself tearing up over years and years later in a heavy photo album. i love weddings and styled shoots and things like that, but i think i much prefer the spontaneity side of photography. you know, when your siblings does something extremely funny and you have to get it on video (possibly for blackmail purposes later)? those moments. i think tim does this perfectly, and he's one of my rolemodels.

    i'm so glad you had a fantastic time! it looks like loads and loads and loads of fun. :)

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  37. Amazing!!!!! I love your words and I can relate to every.single.one.of.them. Tim is the best human connector out there and I admire his effortless ability to emotionally engage with every moment in time. Tim has a seamless rhythm to his photography. Mu husband and I identified that the minute we set eyes on his work. His heart knows when your heart sings, cries, sinks in moral anguish or reaches the sky with humility.... and everything in between. What an honour that you were part of 'The Nursery'. Congratulations for accepting the opportunity to speak about Tim and for playing subject to his pupils, you did a great job : )) You are beautiful and your love for your family and appreciation for them in your life is a really beautiful thing too. It is a special experience sharing in Tim's journey, which also so rightly belongs to his family, and a true honour that he opens up the door to his life for us to believe in the beauty of humanity that he does.

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  38. Lovely Lovely photos :) How good is that course! I am so inspired to take a million photos and to someday make people cry down the phone to me with joy at their photos :) You have a lovely blog and a lovely family xx

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