Leaving Saint Mark’s Square in Venice

Venice Carnival Photo Adventure February 4-10, 2016 – €15,000 Euros – Sold Out

See the Venice Carnival Photo Adventure page! This is a very special trip to perhaps the most romantic and beautiful cities in all the world, Venice. This sold out in 48 hours after we first announced it in our Newsletter, so be sure to sign up for that to hear about this stuff first!

Even though we’re sold out, you can Contact Curtis to jump on Standby List in case of cancellation.

A Secret Entrance in Venice

Not far from this exit I found a really cool old bookstore that reminded me of something from Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. It’s full of all sorts of crazy old books, some in fabulous shapes. There is a sign that is chained across the door that says, “Please Wait for Attendance,” but no one ever comes. There’s a secret button you can push in the upper left just outside that will grant you entrance. So cool! I went in there and got a few gifts to bring home.

Daily Photo – Leaving Saint Mark’s Square in Venice

Venice has thousands of tiny alleys that twist this way and that, and before you know it, you end up in another square. This is the biggest square, Ca San Marco, and there are about 7 exits to this square (as with most). Here’s my favorite of them all… as evening falls, this way is the most beautifully lit for another adventure in getting lost on purpose!

Leaving Saint Mark’s Square in Venice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture20
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Visiting the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Snapchat Article

Here’s a new article entitled 8 Travel Bloggers You Should be Following on Snapchat.

The Venice Biennale

This was my first time to visit and it was not at all what I expected. Honestly, I had no expectations at all, but I knew a bit about it. For those that don’t know, this is like the Olympics of the art world, or like the Grammys, Tonys, or Academy Awards. It happens every two years in Venice. Many countries have their own permanent buildings that sit dormant for most of the time except for these occasional grand exhibitions.

Daily Photo – Japanese Pavilion 2015 – Key in Hand

This was one of my favorite exhibitions at the Biennale this year. I’m into visually striking things that slightly confuse and massively inspire you.

This is the Japanese Pavilion at the Giardini and it was made by artist Chiharu Shiota. It features thousands of keys, all individually hung by red yarn, connecting boats across the room. Here’s more about the exhibition from the Curator, Hitoshi Nakano:

Chiharu Shiota: “The Key in the Hand”

Hitoshi Nakano Curator, Kanagawa Arts Foundation

Berlin-resident artist Chiharu Shiota creates large-scale installations by stretching yarn across the exhibition space, and produces works out of materials that are filled with memories and traces of everyday life such as dresses, beds, shoes, and suitcases. She is notable for her skilled approach to the large installation format, which has become a special feature of the biennale in recent years. But Shiota’s choice of materials and the spatial structure of her installations maintains a sense of preeminent beauty without losing any freshness or power, quietly permeating our minds and bodies. Shiota’s work, which transcends linguistic, cultural, and historical contexts as well as political and social circumstances, and deeply affects viewers from all over the world, has been presented and esteemed in approximately 200 exhibitions in Japan and other countries throughout the West, Middle East, Oceania, and Asia.

After being confronted with the deaths of several intimate friends and family in recent years, Shiota has converted these experiences into the lingua franca of pure and sublime art without averting her eyes from the reality that all human beings must face “life” and “death” but that each of us must do so individually. At times, Shiota’s work conveys a sense of the “darkness” that is inevitably contained in the “unknown world” associated with death and uncertainty. Even today, four years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, it is conceivable that viewers from various countries visiting a large international exhibition like the Venice Biennale will be overwhelmed by the “dark” parts of her work due to its associations with a country that has suffered deep physical and spiritual wounds. In Shiota’s work, however, there is a powerful “light” of hope and spiritual brightness that dwells deep within the darkness. This is a light that is inherent not only in the tremendous anxiety that plagues Japanese people but in the precarious state of things all over the world.

In this exhibition, Shiota will integrate the gallery, located on what is essentially the second floor, and the outdoor pilotis on the first floor of the Japanese Pavilion. Upon entering the gallery, viewers will find a space filled with red yarn. Attached to the end of each piece of yarn, suspended from the ceiling, will be a key. In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety, and we use them while embracing them in the warmth of our hands. By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. In this work, Shiota will incorporate keys as a medium that conveys our true feelings. Moreover, she will place two boats on the floor beneath the yarn and the hanging keys. The boats symbolize two hands catching a rain of memories (i.e., countless keys) pouring down from the ceiling. While struggling and working with the hands, the two boats will move forward through a huge sea of memory as they collect individual memories. Along with a large box located outside among the pilotis that will be used to display a photograph of a child holding a key in the palms of her hands, four monitors will show videos of small children talking about memories from before and immediately after they were born. By listening to them recounting memories from the time of their birth and looking at keys containing an accumulation of memories, we will experience two different phases of memory in the spaces. Prompted by the exhibition, we will discover memories contained within us, some of which will unfold and stay with us, and help us to form links with other people.

I look forward to watching as The Key in the Hand, an installation that forges a link between a space made up of keys, yarn, and two boats, and photographs and videos of children, transcends national, cultural, linguistic, and political contexts, and emotionally arouses countless visitors from all over the world.

Japanese Pavilion 2015 – Key in Hand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraDSC-RX100M3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Stopping in the Bay of Naples for some Dinner

I always wonder what it would be like to have a non-stop boat-lifestyle. Having a boat… sailing up and down the Italian riviera… stopping in one little town for a snack… going to an abandoned grotto for some diving… sailing to a new port for dinner at sunset… I think that would be a nice life, eh?

This was shot in Naples. The city has a beautiful castle jutting out into the Bay of Napoli. It overlooks a cool harbor, a thriving shop and restaurant area, and Mount Vesuvius looming on the horizon.

I was told to closely watch all my camera gear and bags while walking around Naples. There’s supposed to be a lot of crime, and I don’t doubt it. But I didn’t see any while there. The biggest problem was only have 15 hours of daylight to shoot, and I felt like I was a bit robbed by the god of time.

Stopping in the Bay of Naples for Dinner (by Stuck in Customs)

Ahhh Italy!

I need to get back to Italy… It’s been too long… I’ve got a lot more places to visit and people to see. I’d love to go out shooting with my good friend Valerio again! Here are a few of my faves from ’round those parts.

The first is from a secret crypt under a church.  The second is Mount Vesuvius from the air.  The third shot across a farm near Pompeii.

Le Crypto

Mount Vesuvius from the Sky

Pompeii Fertile Garden under the Shadow of Vesuvius

Forgotten Churches of Italy

I thought I would take a walk down memory lane and show a few of my lesser-known pictures from inside Italian churches. The colors and glows that come through usually come out quite nice in HDR. Actually, I think it is very hard to go back to shooting churches without HDR because it just doesn’t do them justice without it.

The Forboding Church of Valpopando's Marriage

Vampire in the Church

Glowing Icons of Gesu Nuovo

The Caves of the Amalfi Coast

Giant caves were carved into the sea-wall. You can see how huge they are by that tiny-sized Italian man in his Euro-suit.

The Caves of the Amalfi Coast

Colosseo by Day and Night

Here are a few pictures from the Colosseum… you know… that place in Rome where Russell Crowe killed Joaquin Phoenix? … which reminds me that I really should go watch more Joaquin Phoenix movies… he’s always good, especially when he plays a kinda crazy guy.

Colosseo in Afternoon

Aurorus Reflectus Colosseo

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius by morning

My hotel room in Naples faced out across the bay of Napoli and Mount Vesuvius, where I could see the sunrise each morning. I always kept my camera charged up just in case there was one of these mornings, and fortunately, there always was. I can’t believe my friend Valerio (Valpopando) actually lives there and gets to see this all the time. I hope he appreciates it!

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius by morning

Le Scavi de Pompeii… et Vesuvio

Did I get that Italian right? I was kind of guessing. I picked up a little – very little. But I do know more than the average Olive Garden waiter, which is something I can be proud of, I suppose.

This was taken after I had walked about 10 miles all over the ruins of Pompeii on a hot summer day. I got away from the other tourists, who I generally dislike for no good reason, and found this spot that I was probably not supposed to be. The clouds were peculiar that day, and you can see them hovering over Mount Vesuvius. It’s interesting that the gap there in Vesuvius is actually what is covering the very ruins in which I was standing.

The Ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

This second shot was from a small plane, barely airworthy, as it flew over Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Mount Vesuvius from the Sky

Dark Prayers

For whatever reason, I found it sneaky and fun to take pictures of nuns from behind in churches throughout Italy. I now have one with a black habit and a white habit. I look forward to getting the Emperor’s special redguard habit on a future trip. I tried two different DOFs, obviously.

Cowled Prayer

Dark Prayers

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