Venice - Canals, Cathedrals and Cobblestones

Over the years Venice has inspired artists, photographers, artisans and poets, each trying to capture their interpretation of the beauty of the narrow and meandering streets and canals.

In my early days of digital creativity, I too tried to capture the essence of this engaging and curious place. I was captivated by the history, the architecture, the closeness of each building, precariously balanced on weakening wooden foundations, each abode individually designed to develop the intrinsic character and nature that brings many back to visit time after time.

A couple of shots stood out.

Amidst the pale blue washes of a Venetian sky sits a Byzantine Cathedral. The ancient red brickwork looks almost out of place against the rag-tag rows of community dwellings, the occupant's washing very much on view on hand made washing lines.

It looks out of place because La Basilica de Santa Maria and San Donato in Murano hasn't changed much in the last 870 years and is an excellent example of a Cathedral of its time. Built inthe 7th century it has undergone many repairs and rebuilds, the last of which took place in 1140.

Favourite Shot 1 - Time is of no consequence, the fisherman collects his belongings..

The Campanile(Bell Tower) a square building, complete juxtaposition by comparison to its sister architecture sits to the left and was not included in the picture, and although can be seen in this maps link such was the beauty of the main structure of the Cathedral to add it to the picture would have been too much.

A fisherman, finishing his day, shuffles at the dockside, collecting together his oars and his nets and filling his plastic oil drums with his belongings. Time is of no consequence and he methodically fills his plastic drums, gently placing his nets, hooks and other fishing tools before snapping shut the waterproof lid.

Shooting from the main bridge to the south east, the Ponte San Donato gives enough elevation to allow the 35mm lens to keep the uprights straight. Colour tinted through Adobe Photoshop and removing an itinerant Streetlamp shows the beauty of the facades and the juxtaposition of the cobbled stone street and neatly ordered brick colonnades.

Shooting from bridges is a requirement in Venice, such is the closeness of the streets to thebuildings. None can be more apparent when shooting the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto has to be one of the most photographed bridges in the world, and rightly so. It was the main crossing from one side of the Grand Canal to the other.

Rialto Bridge, Venice

Rialto Bridge, Venice

For 250 years the Rialto Bridge was wooden and allowed traffic to access the Rialto Market on the eastern bank. After it was partially burned in 1310 and a collapse in 1524, the townspeople decided to rebuild it in stone. Several projects were considered over many decades and finally completed in 1591.

Very often in Photography we never look behind us, we walk forwards, look forwards and often capture what is in front of us. Sometimes it makes sense to look round and see where we have come from rather than where we are going. The same sentiment can be applied when shooting a famous landmark.

Favourite Shot 2 - The Grand Canal from the northern side of the Rialto Bridge

Piazza San Marco from the Campanile

To shoot yet another picture of the Rialto Bridge, the same image that many hundreds of thousands have done before me and since, would not do it justice and as I walked up the northern aspect of the Bridge I saw just the Gondoliers gently ferrying their passengers, mostly tourists, around the maze of canals en route to St Marks Square. I applied my theory that shooting the other side of the bridge gave me a vantage point to show off the beauty of the Grand Canal much more than “just another picture” of the Rialto Bridge.

So those are my two favourite shots from my time in Venice, please check the Galleries to see more images and if you would like to own a piece of Venice then please go to the Print Buying area of my site where you can purchase the pictures shown above, please comment and like below and I’ll write more as I travel..