Day One – Carnivale di Venezia 2017 – February 17

Signe and I arrived a day before the photography workshop began in Venice. We spent the day wandering around  places we wanted to see before the workshop.

The first place we visited was the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, near the Rialto Bridge. First constructed in 1228 (rebuilt between 1505 and 1508), and located at the foot of the Rialto Bridge across from the fish market, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is one of Venice’s largest and most recognizable buildings. It was used as a trading post for German merchants, a customs house under Napoleon, and a post office under Mussolini. When used as a trading post for German merchants, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi combined the functions of a palace, warehouse, market and restricted living quarters for its population, in this case mainly Germanic merchants from cities such as Nuremberg, Judenburg and Augsburg. The ground floor was accessible by water and was used for storage, while the first floor was dedicated to offices and an upper area contained about 160 living quarters. It has great views of the Grand Canal from the top floor. Unfortunately, on the day we were there, it was foggy. One of the pictures, the one on the bottom right, shows the inside of the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, which is now an upscale department store.

Subsequently, Signe and I wandered some more around Venice enjoying the visual history in its buildings, its magical  scenery and its engineering genius as a city built on mud, sand and the slime in a difficult, inhospitable landscape. The photographs below highlight some of the magical scenery.

Day Two – Carnivale di Venezia 2017 – February 18

The Carnivale di Venezia was held from February 11 to 28 in 2017. Signe and I took a photography workshop built around the Carnivale di Venezia from Jim Zuckerman. There were twelve participants from Canada, California, Oregon, Virginia, and Illinois. The workshop lasted from February 18 to the 22nd.

We were up early every morning to photograph the models, beginning in St. Marks Square on February 18. Called “the drawing room of Europe,” the Piazza of St. Marks Square was long the symbolic heart of Venice. There is  a lot to see in St. Marks Square including the Basilica San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, the bell tower, the clock tower, the Correr Museum, and more. We just focused on getting photographs of the models.

The Carnivale di Venezia occurs every year. When the Carnivale di Venezia kicks off, Venice comes alive with hoards of masked party goers dancing, posing for photographs and celebrating merrily.

The show stealer of the Carnivale di Venezia is undoubtedly the trademark masks. Masks here are really overwhelming both in their size and visual appeal. You can spot almost every type of mask imaginable – leather masks, Venetian glass masks and porcelain masks covered in gold leaf, hand painted and decorated with natural feathers and gems.

The models at the  Carnivale di Venezia are volunteers. Most are from Germany or France, although we met models from Oregon and Japan. The pictures below were taken on the 1st day of the workshop early in the morning (e.g., at 6 am). I found out later that the lens I used that morning needs to go into the shop for repairs; it cannot focus clearly.

Many of these pictures were taken around the Doge’s Palace. The Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace, was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries. As well as being the home of the Doge (the elected ruler of Venice) it was the venue for its law courts, its civil administration and bureaucracy and — until its relocation across the Bridge of Sighs — the city jail. First raised in the ninth century, the Palazzo Ducale was rebuilt many times thereafter, and it was with the construction of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in 1340 that the present building really took shape. Work continued until 1420, largely under the guidance of architect and sculptor Filippo Calendario.

Many of the models have been coming to the Carnivale di Venezia from a number of years.