The colorful kaleidoscope that is Venice is dramatically transformed through the artistic lenses of 56 photographers – whose work you will find in editor JoAnn Locktov’s third book in the Dream of Venice series: Dream of Venice in Black and White.
From 10 different countries and each with a unique perspective of Venice, the photographers skillfully lay bare the soul of La Serenissima in a masterful work of chiaroscuro – strongly contrasting light and dark to render an unforgettable glimpse into the magical city that rises from the sea.
The elegant black and white perspectives reveal an emotionally charged timelessness that lies in the shadows of the Venice of postcard fame with its many colors and brightness. Venice is unique in that it is a city captured in a snapshot in time – architecturally it holds on to its past with magnificent palazzos lined along canals with views of floating regattas of vaporettos and gondolas moving to and fro, and more modest homes and buildings tucked behind and connected by myriad bridges over smaller canals. While the architecture remains barely touched by the present, her people have moved on with the decades and centuries.
It seems nearly inconceivable to the casual observer – that a city that at any given time is bursting at the seams with crowds could be facing a future in which those living in the historical center of the city have become the minority. Now home to about 53,000 full-time residents, the Venetian population continues to dwindle and may be in danger of falling further. Acclaimed author and Venetian resident, Tiziano Scarpa writes in the book’s introduction. “We are dying out,” and “soon we will disappear. “
The alluring siren’s call of Venice has brought millions of tourists to her enchanted shores for decades. Now those who come to see the legendary city outnumber those who live there. Venice finds itself being overrun by tourism, yet without the tourism it may also die. Tourism has become the economic blood of this once great maritime city renowned as an important center of commerce.
As a tourist, with dreams of some day living in Venice for a portion of the year, I understand the desire felt by those who’ve fallen in love with Venice and want to visit, explore and learn. I certainly can understand the economic realities of Venetians who depend on tourism. And I also realize that with the tourism an imbalance is occurring that threatens not only the fragile ecosystem of the Venetian Lagoon, but the way of life for many Venetians (even those dependent on tourism monies).
Much like those black and white photos in Dream of Venice in Black and White, there is a stark contrast between the façade of architectural gems shining brightly along the canals joined by bridges over the 118 Venetian Islands that draws the tourists and the Venice that may be imperceptible to tourists but is home to Venetians.
That hidden Venice lives and tells its story on the beautiful pages of venetophile, Locktov’s latest contribution to the literary genre of art and travel.
Honestly, I struggled to select only a few photos to share here, as each of the photos in the book resonated with me. The ones I did pick in some way reminded me of those moments when in Venice that I saw beyond the “postcard”. When I walked the streets, early, early in the morning. The few people I saw, Venetians on their way to work or starting their day set against a nearly empty square or street – so different from the overcrowded sites teeming with souvenir booths. Those are the memories I cherish and carry with me. A few of my favorite photos from the book are shown below.
With this book, I hope that those of us who love Venice and those who would love to visit, take a step outside the tourist book of “must-sees” and allow Venice to show you her story. You have the perfect start for that journey in Dream of Venice in Black and White*. I recommend you acquire all three books in this stellar series. See my review of book one in the series: Dream of Venice.
*A portion of book sales’ proceeds will be donated to Ikona Photo Gallery in Venice.