I finally had some time this week to work on a project I've been putting off for a while - my Photo Book to Italy. It contains about 110 images (spread out through 106 pages) that I felt were my best creations from the 3 cities in Italy - Rome, Florence and Venice.
I still hold Rome dearly to my heart, as my wife Claire and I honeymooned there in 1998, returned on a company reward trip there in 2000, and named our first-born son Roman after the beautiful city of history and antiquity. However, on this Spring trip in 2017, my eyes met Venice, my shutterbug will never be the same, and my heart has now opened to - I believe - the greatest city to photograph!
Venice is just enchanting to me. The way of life for this ancient city revolves around water. And for a photographer, water adds an element to the art that nothing else can. Technically water opens the door to long exposure photography at night that is amazing and unparalleled (as featured in my Photo Book), and it provides an evergreen reflection to what's on top. And what's on top of the water canals is so rich and vibrant, you don't get photographs like it anywhere else in the world. There are the water buses, taxis, boats, gondolas and the gondolier culture. To tourists gondolas are an expensive way to experience Venice; to the gondoliers it's a form of transportation that still requires manual labor and a personal touch, and each operator goes after the business just as aggressively as taxi drivers in New York city.
To some, Venice can be very touristy, but to me, it represents a stir fry of colors and culture that overwhelms my senses. The thousand-year-old buildings, colorful apartments, wealthy villas all share the same tiny canals. Each canal is surrounded by bridges, bricks, shops, churches and people. Locals and tourists alike have to share these narrow streets and canals to navigate a very confusing maze of cobblestone streets that is not unlike our blood working itself through the veins and arteries of the cardiovascular system. The Grand Canal is the heartbeat of Venice, and the Rialto Bridge provides a spectacular view on both sides, especially during sunset.
There are so many subjects to photograph it can be really overwhelming to a new photographer like me. When I go back (with a heavy emphasis on the "when" and not "if"), I would love to focus on different series of photo shoots: doorways (ancient doors that are so interesting to look at), windows (that tell a thousand stories), canals (of course, the essential bloodlines of Venice) and bridges, buildings (old and older), pasta trattorias and gelato shops, shadows and lights that illuminate the streets, cobblestones, arches, and canals of Venice, the people that live there to serve the tourists, the gondoliers and artists that peddle their services, the tourists converging from all over the globe to see the sights, the gondolas and the multi-colored backgrounds, all --- reflected on the water like a live painting that is never completely dry.
We were only in Venice for a brief time on our week-long trip in April, after spending a bit more time in Rome and Florence, but the impression it left on me is permanent but incomplete. We will go back to visit, maybe for weeks at a time so that we can really take in the city and live the culture, shop and cook our own food from the morning fish market, get lost in the mazes again, and see the rest of Tuscany and create more images to share. Until next time, ti amore, Venice and Italy!
Here's a sample of the Photo Book. If you want to see bigger pictures, go to http://jimmyfu.zenfolio.com/blog. If you want to see more, browse the "Italy" album on my website. Thank you for your support!