Who I Am
I’m Carla, a travel and music photographer. Although, I grew up in the suburbs I’ve always been a bit of a city girl. When people ask where I’m from, it’s always been a difficult question to answer. I was born in Washington, DC. Soon after we moved to Maryland, literally across the street from DC. I mostly grew up in Rochester, NY and spent my summers in DC with my grandparents. Tired of the long Rochester winters, we moved to Hartford, Connecticut right before I started high school. Little did my parents realize, their love of New York City rubbed off on me. To their surprise (and fear), that’s where I went to college. I lived in NYC for 10 years after college as an aspiring filmmaker or more accurately a starving artist. Finally, I returned to Maryland to regroup with my family.
Currently, I live in a busy suburb. Even the deer can’t escape from the constant traffic rolling through my town. Yet, I still take every opportunity to go into DC. I’m only about 20 minutes from the city limits. At one point, I went to NYC almost every month. The concrete is constantly calling me.
Now when people ask where I’m from, I say I’ve spent half my life in the DMV (local for DC, Maryland, Virginia) and the other half in New York state. I’ve often been asked me if my father was in the military. Since we spent so many years in each place, I never felt like we were constantly on the move. My parents went where the opportunities took them. Looking back, they weren’t afraid to take chances and travel new places. Besides, my grandparents were firmly planted in DC and we were there often. Yet being an only child, it often felt like it was the 3 of us against the world. To me, home has always been wherever my parents were.
Why 50 Cities?
At my former day job at a coffee shop, I started carrying a small notebook in the pocket of my apron. We get in trouble if we were caught on our cell phones but I figured my notebook wouldn’t draw much attention. When it was slow and I got bored, I would pull it out and write in it. Nothing specific, notes, lists or whatever came to mind. I just wanted to feel like I was doing something constructive instead of wasting away in the world of lattes and cappuccinos. I felt like I was plotting my escape in that little notebook. By the way, I’m a tea drinker that doesn’t even like the smell of coffee.
At a lost for anything to write one day, I started a list of cities I wanted to visit. I’d come to realize how much I was fascinated by cites, even the ones I didn’t like that much. At the very least, I couldn’t miss out on London or Rome…or Tokyo…or Dublin… Apparently, I wasn’t so inconspicuous that day because I was drawing the attention of my coworkers. Since many of them were either Ethiopian or Filipino, they insisted I add Manila and Addis Ababa to the list. As I thought of more cities around the world to add, I began to feel a sense of sadness rather than excitement. When I reached 50, I stopped. How was I ever going to travel to all these places? There wasn’t enough time or money.
After I left that job, I became a full time photographer. With all the cities I dreamed of visiting, I decided it was time to go from a photographer that liked to travel to a travel photographer. My dream would become part of my full-time job. I lost the list I started that day but I don’t really need it. So my quest begins to explore the major cities of the world and capture all that is unique about them.