Last week I had a few days in Venice. I have been to Italy dozens of times but I had never visited Venice before and I have to confess, I found it the most bizarre and beautiful place.
Never in my life have I arrived at an airport and got onto a boat to travel to my hotel. Usually, I walk out of the airport and get a train, bus or a hire car. In Venice, you get a boat! In Venice, the boats are referred to as buses! You do have the option of getting a “taxi” but again, it’s actually a boat!
As I walked about the centre of Venice I began to contemplate the logistics of the city. While sitting having a nice cold beer, near to the Ponte del Diavolo, I watched a barge approach and deliver a keg of beer, several dozen bottles of wine and some potatoes. I sat and watched with a gentle smile while I sipped my beer in the Spring sunshine and thought to myself, “What a bizarre place”. There is an obvious plus to a modern city whose only means of transport is boat – there are no cars or mopeds.
Anyone who has ever been to Italy will know how Italians drive. They are fast, reckless and extremely noisy. They constantly drive in a gear that is too low and rev the engine in an attempt to make as much noise as possible. Many Italians actually deliberately puncture the exhaust on their mopeds because it will make them louder. It’s an Italian thing! But in Venice, there are no cars or mopeds, so the entire city is extremely quiet. This absence of noise and not having daily near misses with cars or mopeds makes the city very relaxing.
My intention in visiting Venice was to scout it out as a possible location for one of our photographic workshops. Now, there is absolutely no doubt that Venice is a Mecca for photographers and any workshop would be a photographic feast, but Venice is mobbed. I found it very difficult to stop and “make” a photograph. As soon as I stopped and began to assess a scene, I either caused a jam or I was jostled by the crowds. There was a few lanes and narrow streets that were not so busy but they didn’t really offer anything photogenic. So, I was left with simply “taking” photographs rather than “making” photographs. Even so, I am quite pleased with some of the images, even if a lot are cliché snapshots.