I grew up with an 8" x 10" photograph of my great aunt and uncle sitting in a gondola in the canal in front of the Doge Palace, marked Venice, Italy October 24, 1922.
I was mesmerized with this sepia-toned photograph and dreamed about visiting Italy, especially Venezia as soon as possible. It seemed so exotic -- the magnificent colonnades of the palace, the quiet open space of the piazza, and the elegant costumes travelers wore in the 1920's.
I brought that photograph with me when I moved to California. It adorned a wall of every place I lived. We moved to Ocean Park (Santa Monica) which is right next door to Venice, California. This Venice of America would be the only Venice I would experience until my early 50's.
In the meantime, I have had a studio in Venice, California since 1995. I read all that I could about Abbott Kinney and the city that he fashioned after it's European namesake. Much had changed since the turn-of-the-century, but there still remained a few canals and a small handful of buildings with colonnades. I photographed the colonnades and used the image for my business card. I left the graffiti that was scratched on one column to define that the photo was taken in Venice rather than Italy's living museum. The architecture seemed so magnificent, that I couldn't imagine that a single stroke of graffiti would ever be allowed to remain on any structure within the boundaries of the city.
Fortunately for my husband and myself, I am a photographer who specializes in night urban landscapes. We explored Venezia after most of the tourists had returned to the safety and familiarity of their cruise ship, bus or hotel room. Only like-minded travelers remain on the streets after dark. Venezia, like Venice is given back to its residents as soon as night falls.
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