Stand by. This is another Venice-related blog. Well, despite a pleasant pre-Christmas week in a cold and mostly overcast Derbyshire, Venice is where my photographic heart and soul has been for the past few weeks, since we returned from our recent visit there.
I’m writing the first draft of this on Christmas Day. As a gift, I got given a copy of a 2016 book called “Dream of Venice Architecture” (Bella Figura Publications ISBN 978-0-9907725-1-4) which has me entranced. I didn’t get to spend much time in bookshops when in Venice recently, otherwise I might have seen it for sale. I found out about it from the lovely community of Venice-lovers I’ve joined on Twitter, since I got home, and mail-ordered a copy.
Why “entranced”? Well, it’s a book of short essays on Venetian architectural themes, each accompanied by a photo by Riccardo De Cal. To add to the charm (for me, at least) none of the photos are captioned as such, but they are all exactly the kind of generic shots of Venetian detail that I love to take myself. I found I had several of exactly the same topic. This door (my shot appears here), for example, features in a chapter in the book about Venetian doors.
There’s a suggestion that someone needs to produce some kind of “taxonomy” of its doors. I agree. Over the years, on my travels, I’ve seen books and posters about “The Doors of Ireland”, “The Doors of Tuscany” etc, but never one on “The Doors of Venice”. They come in all different kinds and styles, as befits the age of the city, and in Venice, doors serve a multitude of purposes, including many designed specifically to keep water out from the lower reaches of canal-side properties.
I’d be happy to contribute some of my own photos on exactly that theme, too! Like the one below. 1518 is the property number, but the door could easily date from then, too – apart from the tell-tale digital lock!
As a Christmas present to myself – no expense spared -and courtesy of a £7 bargain find in one of my local second-hand bookshops, I’m also now the proud possessor of a near-mint copy of the 1989 book “Venice”, by the late and occasionally controversial photographer David Hamilton. He’s not controversial for his Venice photos, but from the days when he used to produce highly “arty”, very soft focus, near-nude studies of teenage girls. He fell from grace. The Venice book uses his trademark soft focus style almost to a fault. I found myself almost shouting at the book, about some shots that would have been brilliant in sharp focus!
A couple of blogs ago, I wrote, in the context that it is so photographed, by so many people, that “unique photos of Venice are pretty much unheard of”. And guess what? Dating from a visit way back in the 1990s, probably when Cokin filters were all the rage, I found I had my own “David Hamilton” image. As if to prove my point.
Suffice it to say, my Christmas Day was full of delightful reminiscence and wonderful discoveries and rediscoveries from the two books.