Venice by night. The idea was enough to set my pulse racing. The mention of Venice conjures up dark images of untold secrets and pale aristocrats leading mysterious lives within the crumbling walls of the family palazzo. Beloved of Poe, the Venice of my imagination is filled with intrigue and suspense, and I expect at any moment to be startled by the sight of a caped figure in volto and tricorn waiting in the dim light at the end of an alley - or catch a glimpse of the murderous red-hooded dwarf from Don’t Look Now scrambling across the slime-covered stones of the canals. At any corner, there lies danger – the quick flash of a blade, a muffled cry, a splash in the night, and the fading sound of running footsteps echoing on the paving stones.
I couldn’t wait. Night began to fall, and I hit the streets in search of the sinister images and deep shadows that would slake my photographic thirst – seeking out the strange and haunted denizens of the city, and the dank passageways that inhabit the Venice of my imagination.
But life plays strange tricks. The Venice outside of my mind is full of light and motion - where every speck of illumination is reflected a dozen times over in the windows and waterways that surround me. Life is good here, and the real-world inhabitants of Venice walk and sit and dine and laugh the night away in the cafes and streets. I am left with the impression of continuous motion in the midst of the night stillness – the lapping of the water at my feet a constant companion.
...and Venice gazes down from its shuttered windows and laughs.