Being a city with no automobiles Venice moves at a unique pace. Slow and softly. This image was shot on the walk between the train station and the University. It was a lot of foot traffic for about 20 minutes. Then all went back to serenity.
Photographers that I’ve been out shooting with know that I love taking photos of street arrows( arrows painted on the street) and other tarmac paraphernalia. It’s my mini-project. My family is aware of this affliction too. Many times they have stopped and looked for me in our city wanderings only to find me staring down at my feet – concentrating on something completely mundane and boring, right? Them starving, wanting food. Don’t wait up…
Here is a collection of my favourites.
My last post was a story of a portrait made at dawn. I liked it. I thought I might continue this trend with another portrait… Again I was in Paris, having a great time, on Place du Commerce, watching the shop keepers setup their wares. Up the road I saw a meat truck being unloaded. I made my way to it and timed my steps, sort of, to get the butcher as he was walking away from me. Got the focus right, which I didn’t think I would get spot on since he was moving and I’m using the hasselblad; the Hasselblad is not a spontaneous camera, slow, but beautiful and there was just enough light that I could hand hold it. Don’t think he ever saw me.
When I’m out shooting the mornings in cities I don’t usually run into a lot of people. 4.30am is pretty early for most folks (that would be in summer), even 6am is early for some (still is for me. Seems you have to do it everyday to really get adapted to waking before the sun, something I don’t do, even though you thought I might…). Occasionally I do meet interesting people and one of my favourite meetings was two gentlemen painters in Place du Teatre, which is an ancient little square perched on the hill next to Sacre Couer. I came into the square just as the street cleaners started their craft (I photograph cleaners but rarely speak to them as they seen extremely busy to finish and get back home to bed!).
The two gents were sitting against a building in the shadow of the rising sun chatting quietly. I passed by them once, smiled and nodded, saying to myself, wow what a shot, then again I walked by, I still didn’t raise the nerve. Finally I told myself I would probably beat myself to death with my tripod if I at least didn’t attempt to get a shot. So I walked over and used my terrible French on them, asking if I could take their photo. One was an Egyptian painting in Montmartre for twenty-five years and spoken perfectly good English. The other a Frenchmen with a great smile and piercing eyes and spoke perfectly good French. They were surprised to see anyone at the square hours before any of the shops opened and were intrigued as I told them about Paris at Dawn. They said they would be honoured for me to take their picture (real gentlemen, old school!). They offered me coffee and conversation. I declined the coffee, but accepted the conversation…only after I got the shot. It is one of my favourites of all my dawn portraits; for the stories, for the subjects and for the place. Wonderful times.
Only two days left to shoot this beautiful city. I didn’t think I would miss it already. I feel I am just starting to learn the streets a bit. Still getting lost a lot, but that’s just part of it’s charm.