Venice – Venezia – magic and enigmatic to people around the world, particularly those interested in art, history, film and architecture.
It’s the unique city that has some 50 000 permanent inhabitants but annually hosts some 30 to 40 million visitors from all over the world.
It’s both genuine and artificial.
And it is the city built without streets, only canals and boat traffic. It must be saved by the world – from excessive tourism, from corruption and from sinking.
Because it is a jewel in the eyes of the whole world.
And for me? Well, three inroads to Venice.
My art collecting parents went to the Biennale, I heard about it and saw pictures from the St Mark Square with the Basilica and all the pigeons as a child. I’ve visited every year since 2007 to see the Biennale – and also out-of-season to take photos. And Venice has so much to offer, whether or not the Biennale is on … I 🧡 Venice!
Secondly, my wife and I always visited the European Cultural Center’s Palazzo Mora, and I remember that I said to her while we explored the 2015 exhibition: Wow, if I could just once exhibit in this immensely beautiful place with so many and diverse artists from around the world!
Thirdly, my Danish photography mentor, Viggo Rivad, went there several times and produced a magic photo book – Fra Venedig (From Venice) with mostly black-and-white photos but also some bluish-toned – accompanied by 9 texts by Mark Hebsgaard, (Rhodos Publishing, Copenhagen 1980). See some of Rivad’s photos here on the homepage I’ve created for him.
He was both proud and happy about his Venice shots which were anything but tourist-like. And I’ve taken his book with me to Venice and then taken some photos where he stood when taking some of his, even imitating his motive and angle – big difference both because he was a genius and because technology has changed so fundamentally since then.
However, towards the end of his life, I happened to shoot a rather “Rivad-esque” photograph (although not black-and-white like most of his) very early on a January 1 morning (Viggo also often went out early to get that enigmatic and perhaps foggy atmosphere).
I printed it on the best paper I could find and gave it to him as a present. He looked at it and then said – “I would have been proud had I taken that picture.”
As a self-taught image-maker I felt that, perhaps, I could justify calling myself a photographer.
… and my own 60 years later