Venice, Italy is a treasure for photographers. It’s always been considered ‘picturesque’ and over the years several fine photo art books have been published. I am seriously considering creating one, based on my two visits in 2011-2012. This post is about my work photo work there and what is likely to come out of it – beyond the Venezia Suite, I created last year (see below).
Naked in Venice 2012
© Jan Oberg
Of course there was a difference: there were many tourists still, but not the the point of being a nuisance. We felt it was Venice as the Venetians live it. We were there over New Year and it was surprising in several ways; it was not half as cold as you’ll read in all the books and articles; in fact, people were both enjoying their coffee and grappas outside, as well as some eating their lunch.
In another post, I have discussed a visit to the bi-annual Art Biennale 2011 in September. Christina, my wife, and I were curious about Venice in the winter time – you know, without all these tourists (like ourselves!). Well, Venice is said to have about 60,000 permanent inhabitants and 21 million visitors a year, so visiting outside the tourist season is different.
The famous rise of the water to the level that not even rubber boots would help you much was nowhere to be seen. A gondoliére I spoke to said that this was totally strange; at the age of about 25 he had no memory of a winter season in which the water level had not risen even an inch.
And what we were hoping particulary intensely to experience was the dense Venice mist that seems to come as a surprise at any time of the day – and not only in the morning – and disappear as surprisingly again. We did, and heavy rain too. Alas, there was, as you have guessed, not a single snow flake to be seen.
With us we had brought two books, a photobook from 1980 by the grand old man of photography, Viggo Rivad – who is a dear friend at 89 today – and Joseph Brodsky’s “Watermark” (1992) both of which inspired us a lot. The reading experience, of course, is always more intensive when you happen to be right in the middle of where the action is.
How ideal to stay at via Garibaldi, make excursion to anywere in town by foot or the vaporetto (bus on the water) and coming back to be inspired by these two books, and to process the photos taken during the day and begin to think of which shots might be good enough to be included in such a – still imagined – photo book!
Why yet another book from Venice? – you may very well wonder. Well, the good ones are quite old now and the new ones are pretty “touristic”, merely collections of flashy postcard-like – but technically perfect – shots. The exception is the amazing “Real Venice – Venice in Peril” (Ivory Press, 2011) that I have mentioned in another post here. (There may be other exceptions, if you know any, please let me know).
And then the simple answer: Because I feel so inspired, because I have this urge to shoot pictures here, from the early morning to midnight. This is the place where motives and atmospheres come as softly as frequently to you. Secondly, if there are so many images of Venice for people around the world – even with those who may never have been there – I would feel it as a challenge to try to create something different.
The pictures I have shot are a mix of iPhone images – with Hipstamatic and other “apps” – and shots with my brand new Nikon D7000 (18-200 mm lens). I guess I’ve taken almost 2.000 pictures during these two visits. Hopefully, some 20 would be worth publishing…
The book will take a good while to create, comparing and selecting photos as well as processing them is rather time consuming, and I have two rather big projects the next 6 months related to my “other life” as peace researcher and director of the Transnational Foundation.
But I want you to be aware of this suite, now for sale.
“The Venezia Suite 1-4” © Jan Oberg 2011
Information about the Venezia Suite
In October 2011, I created four collages consisting of picture elements exclusively shot with the iPhone. I call them the Venezia Suite 1-4. They can be bought as single prints but also as a series of all four at the price of three.
In the A3+ format (48 x 33 cm), single fine arts paper (Canson) prints are US$ 225 and the series 775 (plus postage). They can be printed too in the smaller A4 format and the much bigger A1+ format (91 x 60 cm), prices for those on request.
Each print is signed an numbered and accompanied by a signed print documentatation indicating the fine art paper quality, the edition, the type of printer, size its – which is your guarantee that you buy an absolutely original, high quality piece of photographic art.