Hello, my name is Alina!

I am a photographer, and the daughter of a photographer. I was born and raised in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - with a dream to get out a see the world, capture it, and experience it. I made it out when I was 15, I went to study to the US and live with a host family. Now, many years later I live and work as a photographer in London, UK. But my big dream is still yet to come true - to study with Steve McCurry in a life changing workshop in Rome in June 2024. Here is my story!

In June 2024, my greatest dream is coming true - I am attending a 6 day workshop with the legendary photographer Steve McCurry in Rome

The portrait of Sharbat Gula, of "The Afgan Girl" by Steve McCurry is one of the most recognizable images in the world.

As a little girl, growing up in Turkmenistan, only few hundred kilometers from Afghanistan, seeing this image, made me wonder whether people knew of my country and inspired me to want to get out and see the world. Growing up as a photographer’s daughter - Steve McCurry was a familiar name - my dad showed me his work in odd photography magazines that ended up on the inside of our closed country. I saw the colors, the outside world that called me, the piercing eyes of the girl looking at me from the NG cover - and telling me that anything is possible.

Fast forward 20 years - I am sitting in my flat in London, writing this, still in disbelief - that I have paid the deposit and am going to Rome in just a few months to not only meet Steve, but work and learn from him for the whole week! 

This is a chance that any photographer gets once in a lifetime. Not only because of the tremendous cost but also because of the opportunity—being freelancers, we don’t choose when to take up which work - the workshops are volatile and they don’t always repeat each year; there are only 12 spots per workshop and waitlists are long; so managing to get a space is nearly equivalent to a miracle!

I can express to you how much this means to me, my dad, who has always admired Steve McCurry and his work. It feels like taking a workshop with Da Vinci or Van Gogh - the honor and responsibility are immense. I want to learn all I can so I can pass on the experience I accumulate to other photographers and of course, my clients. I want to grow and become someone who can further inspire others. 

This is my greatest goal in life, to constantly improve and study, be able to connect with people on the deeper, more profound level. To tell their stories and understand them. The world is so wide and we have so little time to take it all in. I don’t intend to wait anymore; every day I take small steps to make my work more meaningful and accessible. 

This is why this opportunity means everything to me. And this is why I need your help, as I can’t do this alone. 

I need to raise the funds to be able to afford the workshop and the trip to Rome. I have already paid the non-refundable deposit to reserve my spot.

Below, I would like to provide photoshoots at a discounted price as well as share my knowledge and experience with other photographers. 

I believe that every gift and opportunity must be shared, therefore, I am designing a series of special workshops with photographers to go over my experience in Rome, the prism of what I saw differently through my lens, the things that I found most useful and interesting - everything that I adopted as a photographer - both in the process of learning, photographing, and editing. Please note this won’t be a retelling of the Rome Workshop with Steve McCurry, but rather a workshop with me on specifics of my practice that changed as a result of the workshop, my vision and my understanding of photographing people and working with them, incorporating the 20+ years of my experience of art and photography, and of course, working with people. 

Fundraising Goal for Steve McCurry Workshop in Rome 2024:

 Goal - £4,000 before March 2024

Buy Prints or Choose your Lot below and donate here along with the Lot number, your name and email

If you have any questions please email to hello@alinapullenphoto.com

Lot 1: Online Photoshoot from anywhere in the World: £150

An opportunity to get portraits of family, yourself, your child, or a baby remotely online with only your phone, a special app, and myself on the other end of the phone. Do not underestimate the power of your phone camera and your surroundings; numerous pictures that I took online have been published by Vogue online. There are 5 slots available at this price to raise funds for the workshop. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email from me to book the shoot.

Lot 2: Photoshoot in London: £250

Individual, family, baby, or couple shoots in London at the central location of your choice, lasting up to 45 minutes. There are 5 slots available at this price to raise funds for the workshop. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email from me to book the shoot.

Lot 3: Guide for Photographers on Wedding Posses + Bonus Must Shots for a Wedding Portfolio: £55

If you want to create a stunning portfolio for wedding photography and feel confident working with couples - this guide is everything you need to get there! Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email with the PDF file.

Lot 4: Guide for Photographers: 10 Techniques for a Captivating Photograph: £55

Have you noticed things that make your eyes linger on a particular photo? Was it light, composition, colour? Certainly - we know that the Holy Trinity of photography (light, composition, colour) is what makes a good photograph, but there is more to it. If you want to up your photography game, take this condensed knowledge and apply today - you don't need any fancy equipment for it, even a phone will do. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email with the PDF file.

Lot 5: Street Photography General Guide + Bonus on how to talk to strangers: £55

In summer 2022, I took to the streets of Peckham to photograph women for the project I called Women of Peckham. I loved asking for portraits and talking to them, even though the adrenaline of having to leave my comfort zone was pumping in my ears! I will create a guide based on what I learned then and also during the Steve McCurry workshop to share the interesting highlights with you. Please note that this item will be available after the workshop in July 2024, so I can incorporate my new knowledge after the workshop in Rome. You need to buy it now, before December 2023, to get it in July 2024. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email with the PDF file.

Lot 6: Developing Your Business Vision: Interactive Guide, £55

If you want to provide a service or sell products, you need to understand a simple truth: everything you are doing as a microbusiness is coming from you. There are thousands of photographers, designers, and make-up artists out there, but there is only one of you. It is hard to compete in a saturated market if what you are selling is a product or service that a person can get anywhere else. What you need to sell is something no one else can—you. YOUR vision. Your unique combination of skills. YOUR values. Your quirks and peculiarities.

I have developed this guide over the past year, incorporating the knowledge from my International Business and Marketing degree, along with several courses on personal branding, mentorships in sales, and creative business development. If you follow the steps in this guide and put them into action, you will no doubt create a personal brand for your business that will take it far. The guide is made up of three modules:

  • Your Strength and Superpowers
  • Your Values, Beliefs, and Passions
  • Your Unique Qualities, Experiences and Skills

Each module walks you through a series of questions you answer and tasks that, in the end, can be used to set goals, shape your business and your images, and even copy and paste on your website and social media posts and stories—so your clients understand your purpose, your expertise, and your ethos and stay for life.

This guide is built upon business coaching techniques, business and marketing exercises, and my experience both in international business and project management, as well as photography. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation email with the PDF file.

Lot 7: Personal Consultation and a review of your portfolio by me AFTER I have studied with Steve McCurry, £250

I will give you a personal consultation about your goals in photography, review your portfolio, and provide supportive feedback on how to move your art and business forward. We will discuss any issues you have and where you would like to end up in several years. We will set goals and determine what steps you need to take to achieve them. I will use coaching and goal-setting techniques to help you on your way, as well as all my knowledge and my lifetime worth of experience. I will also apply the knowledge I acquired at the Steve McCurry workshop to give you fresh and relevant feedback and gentle guidance. There are 5 slots available for personal consultation; please note that this will take place at the end of June 2024 or in July 2024 after the workshop so I can incorporate my new knowledge. Donate confirming your email address and name - you will receive a confirmation of booking.

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