canberra Tag

Cookbook for Canberra sisters

Recently I photographed the content of recipes and portraits for a Canberra cookbook soon to be published with Obiter Publishing. Tears, Laughter and Champagne is a book of stories and recipes by the women who survived the Canberra 2003 bushfires, they call themselves the Singed Sisters and they are all married to the Burnt Blokes! Don’t you just love those titles!? I already know one of the Singed Sisters in fact Liz Tilley coached me through my recent TEDx talk in September and when she told me all about her close group of friends called the Singed Sisters and the book they were fundraising for, well, I just had to be part of it.  The families involved rebuild their family homes after the devastation took over most of the suburb of Duffy and many other areas in Canberra.  These women supported one another through the tears, and trauma of that tragic day that hit Canberra so unexpectedly. The community of Canberra banded together to ensure they had clothing, food and a roof over their heads until they could get back on their feet. Now it’s time for the Singed Sisters to give back to the community that helped them so much during this traumatic time. All profits from the book sales go to YMCA to help communities affected by natural disasters. If you are interesting in pledging or even owning a copy of this book due to be released by this Christmas 2017 please hit the link.



TEDxCanberra- Moment of Truth

Well today is the day after. The day after I presented the talk of my life! TEDx stage, me standing on the big red circle in all my glory.

The official dress rehearsal was rubbished, so I panicked until my coach reassured me it means the real thing will be perfect!

This is how the actual day went. I was nervous and excited and very happy to be there. I started with a smile, the microphone didn’t catch my first 6 words but after that I was in full flight. I gestured big, I swore a few too many times, but that was me being very passionate. I showed myself and all I had to offer in that 17 minutes, and gave it my all. The first laugh from the audience was so reassuring, they were paying attention to my every word, then I felt like I owned the stage! But it wasn’t time to relax, I still had to remember the next 15 minutes of my story and lay it on them. I moved my body all over that red circle to express my story, I was over the top in true Italian fashion, arms flying everywhere but I got my message across loud and clear.   The audience had my back the entire time, they laughed with me, they cried, and the applause was huge.  I walked off that stage so sure of myself and confident that all my hard work paid off.

So many strangers approached me throughout the day telling me how much they loved my talk, and they loved the horse portraits. My family and friends and my coaches all were balls of tears throughout my talk, and people that know me best, reported that I was 100%  ME on that stage!

I worked freaking hard to make it flawless, let me tell you about the journey.

I had a fabulous coach allocated to me from TEDx team, the gorgeous Sally Dooley who has also presented a TEDx (SALON) talk this year, a very talented leadership coach she helped me write my talk, she gave me confidence and showed me the way to perform at my best.  I also got myself a coach of  very different kind, a personal coach the adorable Liz Tilley, she helped me on a more spiritual level prepare my mind and body and get into the truth about why horses mean so much to me. Her sessions always made me cry (in a good way) because I was always accessing the truth about my story at the deepest level, but she helped me in many different ways; spiritually and emotionally, to crafting the language I used. Liz allowed me to show myself and bring my most authentic self to the red circle.  I also had personal trainer at my local gym and did lots of yoga to help me challenge my mind and body to feel more powerful as I reached the pinnacle of the TEDx event. I did multiple workshops online that helped me enormously 1. Heroic Public Speaking” (Creative Live) with Michael Port who taught me how to be the most engaging speaker, moving my body, changing my vocal contrast and emotional contrast and so much more, this workshop I would recommend to anyone learning public speaking. The second workshop I studied online was David Nihill 2. “How to be a Funnier Speaker” (Creative Live) David showed me how to craft my speech like a comedic stand up show. How to strategically place the funny bit of the story at the end, for major impact, and that advice worked for me just perfectly!  I also read a book titled “How to tell your story so the world listens.” By Bobette Buster recommended to me by Liz Tilley.

The week before the talk, I drank so much water to lubricate my throat and voice, I ate so much fish I was sick of it, I needed all the help I could get (Omega 3) to help my brain function to the highest capacity and I avoided sugar in the lead up.  I even bought three versions of red lipstick to find the perfect one! Everything became about the preparation to my TEDx, because I wanted to be the best version I could be. I needed to perform and give my audience the best experience I could master. I changed my planned outfit a day before the show freaking out what to wear at the last minute. The preparation took a lot of focus and shits loads of practising and hard work. I took 2 weeks off work to help me prepare in the home stretch, where I had multiple coaching sessions, I exercised and practices so much I was so sick of hearing my own voice, I dreaded opening my mouth for the 100th practice! I rehearsed in the shower, while boxing, while cycling backwards, while driving, listening back to my recored versions. Over and over….

People asked me did I nominate myself to do this? NO way man! I was found, I would never put my hand up to do something so scary! The licensee of TEDx Canberra the fabulous Ingrid Tomanovits found me through my HORSE exhibition at Nishi Gallery last year where she fell in love with JOCK#2 and invited me to give this TEDx Talk.  I felt scared but I immediately said YES, I have this motto “Do it before your ready”. I knew I could figure out how to be LESS scared by the time the actual event came around. I had a good 4 months to prepare.

I also knew that I would be learning a new skill of public speaking and so much personal growth would come from doing something like this.  I was right, I was so right. I learned about my limits (there were none) my obsession, and how focussed I really can be when I want to be the best! My husband kept reminding me not to put so much pressure on myself, and that was very sound advice that I didn’t take because putting pressure on myself helps me work harder and I’m fine with that.

There were times I cried when I felt I couldn’t do this, it was too hard to figure out how to remember everything I needed to say and do.  I had to come so far and I feared I wouldn’t be able to get there. But the truth is I knew that’s not how I truly felt, my gut knew that I would nail it because I would never let myself down and my audience down.

If you are ever considering doing a TEDx talk I would say, “Do it”. Its the most fun and challenging experience and the people that I have met during this process inspire me and it’s a privilege to know them. It was a new family of friends and community. I loved being part of it. The team at TEDx were so supportive and the coaches they provide are wonderful and so talented. I can’t wait to volunteer next year in some way, if they’ll have me. GO CANBERRA!

Thank you to everyone who came to see me, who laughed at my jokes and gave me positive encouragement. I loved it and I hope the image of the horse penis doesn’t haunt you!!

Thank you also the the friends who supported me but could not attend.

P.s I’m scared to watch my performance when it gets published online in a few weeks..ekk!

Thank you to Gavin Blake the awesomely talented visual scribe who created this amazing piece for me! I love it so much!! Chops man!!





















Image By Jules Boag

TEDxCanberra Featuring Grace Costa

Well its nearly time for me to step out onto the BIG RED CIRCLE!! I’m giving a TEDx talk, can you believe it?!?

I was invited to share my story about the creation of HORSE and I’m very excited with the challenge of learning the art of public speaking. I have done many public engagements however nothing as formal as a TEDx talk.

The event will be all day full of fun and 17 speakers and 3 entertainers. Speakers will be sharing their ‘big idea’ relating to their profession, life experience, area of expertise and you are sure to be inspired.

I hope to see you there. I will be notifying everyone once my talk is published on line.

A short interview with TEDx and myself can be viewed on this link

Five Minutes With Grace Costa [Momentum Speaker Profile]


Hey there, you wanna hear some great news? Well the HORSE Shop is coming to an internet near you this month!!  After the success of the HORSE exhibition tour through Canberra, Tamworth and Sydney the work is now available in the comfort of your own home, while you sit in your bed socks with cup of your favorite tea. The current series of HORSE is available in editions of 10 and printed on the finest ILFORD archival cotton rag 320gsm paper stock. All work is printed locally, so while you are supporting Australian artist like me you’re also supporting Australian small business.

I’m currently working on a new series of work to be released in early 2018. This series will be limited release only with exclusive viewing opportunities. A sneak peak will be coming to you this spring. Join my mailing list to keep up to date on all the details.

If you can not wait for the store to open you can order prints directly from me by sending me an email, and i’ll send you the price list for the HORSE series.

5 Reasons You Need A Business Portrait

Business portraits are my main passion in my business. I specially enjoy working with creative entrepreneurs to help them project themselves as the creator in their business. Here I will share with you my top 5 reasons why you need to put a face to your business right now!

  1. Show your potential clients who you are. People like to connect to a face, as well as your written content. Therefore your face is the most powerful icon on your website and your professional portrait should be creating that positive first impression.
  2. Use your new portrait over digital and print media. It will be useful for all profile pictures:  Linked In, Facebook, Website, Instagram, Forum profiles, Twitter- the list goes on! Don’t forget you can have different images for different platforms, and with my specialised sessions I will capture many different looks for you to choose from. Some examples could include: an image of you naturally laughing, a serious but friendly look, a candid shot of you looking away from the camera, even a fun image of you doing something fun if that suits your business essence.
  3. Project a professional appearance.  It makes sense to portray your professionalism with a current and relevant portrait of yourself as the entrepreneur or businessperson and show you have professional standards. After all, you are running a professional business, right?
  4. Take your business seriously. Making a small financial investment in a professional portrait shows that you take your business seriously and are willing to put yourself forward before the client has had the chance to meet you. If your headshot isn’t professional, it doesn’t help people warm to you, it doesn’t inspire confidence in you, it doesn’t help people trust you.
  5. Connect. By including a professional business portrait on your website, social media and everywhere you are represented online, the more likely people are to reach out to ask you about you, your business, your products.

If you would like to book to have your business portraits taken by me please contact me on 0403593548 basic package starts at $550, or drop me a line at to receive my package details for your consideration. 

Introducing New Work to Nishi Gallery

Wow its actually been 4 years since my last exhibition in Canberra (2015 exhibited in Sydney). In that period of time, I’ve featured in many group shows both here and interstate, signed up with a local gallery The Photography Room, was a featured in the National Photographic Portrait Prize (2014) exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and won many photography awards along the way. So I haven’t just been sitting on my butt waiting for the next show to come along!  Late last year actually, the Nishi Gallery, New Acton invited me to have an exhibition of my photography work. I was a little unsure at first as I didn’t have anything really in the pipeline except the beginnings of a concept photographing horses, so this invitation was the perfect reason for me to get a wriggle on and finally make waves on this new series.

It all started with the first image of my fathers horse taken in 2014, I felt the image had potential to be explored, so my father and I produced lots of prototypes to ensure the concept was achievable. Horses have always been a true love of mine. My father being an extremely skilled and passionate horse trainer of over 45 year, may have something to do with where my passion has come from.

I selected from a wide variety of local horses but 15 remain the features of the show. The chosen horses were selected for their character, individuality, form, and colouring. Canberra’s Mt Stromlo’s Yale Columbia Dome became the set for many months of shooting, and I could not have created what I have without the use of that space as well as all my angel assistants: Suzzi, Lee, Hubby, Lucy, Shaun, all the owners, and of course the horses themselves, what a fabulous job they have done to help me achieve my vision.

HORSE is a series of portraits celebrating Grace Costa’s life long love affair with horses, passed down by her father through a sophisticated photographic homage. Costa explores her innate captivation with horses through her lens, photographing unbridled horses in one of Canberra’s most treasured sites. Bringing them out of their natural surroundings. Costa explores the form and character of the horses she has selected for this series. – Nishi Gallery New Acton

HORSE on show from 2nd – 20th November 2016 – LAUNCH PARTY 6-8PM