Soundtrack: Thirty Seconds to Mars “City of Angels” accoustic version (click here to listen)
There is a book like no book on Earth… A book called “Dream of Venice in Black and White”. A book that is like a sotoportego leading you into another dimension where the flow of time lacks madness, chaos and worries. It invites you to step into a world you might believe long gone while in fact it’s still there, waiting for you to open your senses to it, to notice it.
It’s one thing to read all the praise showered on “Dream of Venice in Black and White”. To hold it in my hands is a completely different deal. It’s like coming face to face with a fabled creature you’ve heard so much about, had such great expectations for, and you desperately hope for it to be exactly the way you imagined it would be. This book lives up to the praise and exceeds it a thousandfold.
Yes, I have the honour of being included in this book (page 31 is proudly mine) that leads you away from the Venezia the world believes to know everything about, but that is not the reason why I claim this tome to be magical. I do so because of the way the visual story flows through its pages thanks to JoAnn Locktov’s carefully selected photographs and the layout created by Nick Phillips that places said images in a sequence as fluid and mesmerising as the lagoon’s emerald waves.
Venezia has a certain visual canon that’s rather unavoidable and hence pretty full of cliches. It is unavoidable because you literally cannot help but see those classic postcards everywhere you look there unless you close your eyes to shut them out or you deliberately look for what Venezia hides behind her postcard facade that fools you into believing you know it all about the city.
Having a photo of mine in this collection of stunning images which opens with the gorgeous photograph “On a vaporetto” by Gianni Berengo Gardin feels like having a poem in one anthology with Dante. Now that I have a copy of the book in front of me my mind has agreed to believe all this to be true, and yet it’s no less surreal than it was the day I received the confirmation email.
So let me end this post with a few questions for you. Are you brave enough to let go of your preconceived notions and discover Venezia you have never really seen before? Are you ready for Venezia that leads you on an adventure through its calli to chase dreams, the one where people from a more elegant age go about their day, the one that enjoys its reflection in water mirrors and extends a subtle invitation for you to peek into said liquid amalgams to see what realists deem impossible? If your answer is yes, this book is for you.