posted on 26th of february, 2014

Here is a short description of my first visit to Venice which took place few years ago in 2011:

Each time I turned the page of my notebook of future photographic projects to where I had written down « Venice », I got excited. I wondered what this city was really like, the city that was named Serenissima, La dominante, The Queen of the Adriatic Sea. Yes, Venice, the city that lives on water, the city where, at times, people wear masks and where the personalities are the gondoliers that win one of the numerous regattas that are organized there.

How should I start the project ? I said to myself that probably the most logical and the most tempting moment to feel the fragrance of this town would be the Carnival. So, in the dead of winter, in February, we all drove 1.000 kilometers before reaching the town of Padua, near the lagoon. We established our headquarters there and then we got to Venice by train or car, every day, prompted by curiosity and ready to taste the charm of the lagoon, each of us in their own way. Of course, I carried the backpack in which I had all my photo gear.

As it usually happens, the first day was filled with spontaneous « first impressions ». The narrow little streets, the omnipresent water, sometimes appearing even on the terraces where we savored our coffee, the absence of cars and the presence of unusual means of transportation (Il Vaporetto as a bus, motor boats as luxury taxis, gondolas as cars), happy people whose faces showed admiration, and, first and foremost, the people wearing those charming traditional masks, all of these concurred to transport me into another world, totally different from the normal one I was used to. These are the feelings that one has in places that can be truly called top « TOURISTIC DESTINATIONS ». I felt the same way in Kyoto, Osaka or Prague. In such circumstances, all a photographer needs to do is let himself be carried by the dream and have the camera ready to capture everything that appears and is offered around him. All day long, we tried to « decipher » the maze of little streets full of small shops that sold local souvenirs, to understand how transportation worked inside the city. Then we got to the famous St Mark’s Square and got acquainted with the area around Rialto Bridge and the famous gondoliers. I took photos everywhere, trying to capture unique moments that presented themselves or, to the contrary, the specific atmosphere, using in an effective way natural light, funny angles and shadows cast by buildings. These were elements that were more than able to stimulate the photographer’s eye and mind.

All these things were but a preview of what would happen during the first hours of the afternoon. After 4 p.m., the light started to change and the golden hours came near. The photos gained a fairy tale atmosphere. Then, by degrees, more and more people in disguise appeared in St Mark’s Square, so much so that, at a certain point, you felt you were in a motion picture, centuries ago, in a world that, at the same time, was real all around you. There, behind a corner of the Doge’s Palace, you saw Count Casanova plotting something, then courtiers striding along with fine, beautiful young ladies, and all of a sudden a lively character, full of bells and joy, made somersaults and made his fans laugh. It was the clown. Little by little, the light of the dusk was replaced by the light of pubs and streetlamps or by the darkness of the night. The colorful characters continued their live show around you. In these circumstances, the flash becomes very important, starting to be the main light source, whereas during the day it has a secondary role, helping in fighting against unwanted, annoying shadows. In the end, the fatigue accumulated in a whole day spent standing or walking along little streets full of charm and history took its toll and, close to midnight, we went to the train station and, filled with joy, returned to our hotel room in Padua. We saved our photos on the computer and quickly reviewed them, to see what and how could be improved over the next day. Then we recharged the batteries, let cameras and lenses rest and fell asleep, making a transition from the realm of real dreams generated by the Carnival to the realm of usual dreams we have while sleeping.

Then there came another day out of fairy tales, captured in a series of photos filled with colors and lagoon charm. During this first visit, the dominant elements that impressed us were people, masks and the stories they suggested. They were complemented timidly by the charm of the little streets bordered by houses connected by strings which displayed clothes hung out to dry, in a very Italian manner, or by the gondoliers’ verve, manifested as they looked for customers wanting a romantic ride in a gondola, or by the swarms of tourists that were curious and impressed by the multitude of marvelous things. All these caught your attention, creating a foreground that was backgrounded by impressive buildings that emanated history and changed their colors and charm with the arrival of the light of the sunset. Those buildings shelter and preserve, in original museums, stories of numerous destinies. Also worth mentioning are the buzz of voices in trendy coffee shops, the smell of pizza served promptly by smart waiters on animated terraces, the orange color of the local drink, the Venetian soda wine, and the mysterious silence that settled gradually as the night advanced.

Comments (13)

Posted by Egomezta on March 09, 2014
Amazing images, thabks for sharing.
Posted by Onime on March 06, 2014
nice images... thanks for sharing
Posted by Babar760 on February 28, 2014
Too bad Venice is the number one destination after Paris. Wall to wall people and cruise ships that are causing the city to sink. All in the pursuit of money, like the original Venetians! Wish I had gone in 1938. Too bad I wasn't born then!
Posted by Psmpics on February 27, 2014
Beautifully written and illustrated with your excellent photos. Well done and thank you for sharing this!
Posted by Davidwatmough on February 27, 2014
Lovely my favourite city after Santorini Island. David.
Posted by Razvanjp on February 27, 2014
Thank you for your comments. Venice inspires me a lot. In the last three years I visited each year at least once. During the Carnival days you are there like in a huge studio in the street.
Posted by Verdelho on February 27, 2014
Have not been to Venice in the past three years, but prior to that my wife and I visited each year for three years. Each trip longer than the previous. My favorite city in the world outside my home country (Australia). Lots of memories and pictures but missed Carnival, alas.
Posted by Viocara on February 26, 2014
Yes,Magical place! Beautiful images!
Posted by Lenutaidi on February 26, 2014
Beautiful blog! Beautiful images! Thank you for sharing!!
Posted by Inyrdreams on February 26, 2014
what a magical time you had and what wonderful photos! thanks for sharing!
Posted by Rigsby8131 on February 26, 2014
An excellent well written blog!!! Thanks for sharing your experience and great photos.

Venice is number one on my wish list of places I want to visit. One day, when time and money allow me, I will experience it for myself.
Posted by FabioConcetta on February 26, 2014
Nice blog and images, congratulations!
Posted by Wxh6763 on February 26, 2014
Good article and great images !

Comments (13)

This article has been read 1285 times. 1 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Radu Razvan Gheorghe.

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For a photographer the challenge is to take a picture of something nobody has seen before or to make a different picture of something which everybody has seen before.

Chartres, FR

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