Pictures of Venice are almost instantly recognizable – the canals and the Venice gondolas are unique and completely photogenic, so it’s not surprising that every photographer and their brother has a collection of Venice pictures. And while I, as a lover of Venice, can look at pictures of the city for hours and still be sighing, most people are going to get bored with the umpteenth shot of gondolas and little arched bridges. But I think even the most jaded viewer will find something of interest in “VenicExposed,” by Luca Campigotto.
Campigotto is from Venice – so he’s spent a lifetime seeing the city. He’s particularly fond of architectural photography, and he’s chosen to highlight Venice’s buildings and structures in a way that makes them stand out: he’s photographed them at night. Never has Venice looked so utterly deserted than in Campigotto’s photographs, but it’s not an unpleasant sight. It’s eerie to see those empty canals and dark, fast-moving water, but it’s an inviting kind of eerie.
I can only imagine the long exposures Campigotto must have used to make these dark scenes come alive, and yet there are no ghostly images of people wandering through the pictures. In fact, I can only remember one instance of what appears to be the long trail of a boat’s headlight as it putt-putts up the Grand Canal – and if that’s the only evidence that there are people in Venice, that’s pretty amazing!
The photographs themselves are all black and white, but they are all – as most things are, really – in shades of gray. Each photograph is full of texture and depth, despite there being no color, and the clarity of the buildings is beautifully contrasted with the moving water of the ever-present canals.
Anyone who’s been to Venice will recognize familiar scenes – an empty gondola stand, the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Piazza San Marco. Campigotto has also captured images that will be unfamiliar to even the most dedicated tourist, however, with his pictures of the Marghera area, which is an industrial section of the city. And though the pictures of shipyards and commercial docks probably won’t make you want to seek out that part of Venice next time you visit, you won’t be able to help being taken in by the beauty of the images Campigotto has created there.
As I said, I love Venice, and I also love photography – so I was predisposed to adore this book. And I think that anyone who likes Venice even a little bit will be intrigued by the ghost-town Campigotto has captured in this book.
Photographs: Luca Campigotto
Check out some of the other Italy-related books I’ve read and reviewed, too.
Full Disclosure & Whatnot: Just so y’know, the publisher sent me a copy of this book for review purposes.