Something a bit different this week for my “Image of the week“, not a wedding but something personal.
There are lots of places in the work that I’d like to visit, but I’m sure I won’t have the time (or the money) to go to many of them! However, one place that I absolutely LOVE is Venice. I’ve been there several times, and for many years harboured a desire to visit in the Winter, during Carnevale. Well, in 2008 that wish became a reality ….
I think Venice is one of those cities that you either “get”, or you don’t? It’s like Marmite, and in the case of Marmite that’s definitely NOT for me! 🙂 People say that Venice is crowded, expensive and smelly. That’s true, especially during the Summer months, when hordes of tourists descend on the Piazza San Marco, following their tour guides umbrellas like lemmings. But take a few steps off the tourist path, and you’re rewarded with the true Venice.
The city’s divided into a number of neighbourhoods, known as Sestiere or Sestieri, and each of them has their own unique character. Strolling through the alleyways it’s easy to imagine yourself stepping back several hundred years. For photographers it’s an absolute delight – every corner you turn provides an opportunity. A small square, a canal with gondolas and working boats, a derelict house. In fact, it’s easy to get carried away with shooting in Venice – it really is that good. You’ll find small coffee bars, where you can get a proper cappuccino, lovely little grocers with fresh fruit on display and, most importantly, real Venetians.
I mentioned Carnevale earlier? Well, that’s the time when Venice remembers the hey-day of the Renaissance, with people strolling around in elaborate gowns, shielding their identity with beautifully decorated ornate masks. Even during the Winter the crowds arrive to photograph the Carnevale characters, many of whom travel from all over Europe just to be part of this spectacle. But although Carnevale was one reason for visiting out of season, seeing the real Venice was more important. How many times have you heard people say “Oh, I’ve been to xxxxx and yyyyy” and then you find out it was on a tour, where they spent just a few hours in the city, ticking it off their itinerary? Spending real time in a city, getting underneath the lip gloss of the tourist traps – that’s the rewarding part of travelling.
Anyway, this week’s image is just one of many that I shot on my trip and it was just as I described above – walking through the alleyways I turned a corner and found myself in a small square. Well, a square’s probably too grand a title – it was more of a courtyard, where several alleyways converged. In front of me was a small snapshot of Venetian life – two older ladies chatting, ladies going their separate ways, an older gentleman in conversation, and a young Mum on her way home with the shopping. It’s not a masterpiece, but to me it’s an image where you can build stories around the characters in it.
Over the Winter I’ll probably post a few more Venice images as part of this weekly series, so keep watching …… 🙂