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Venice, May 2014 – 145

Venice, May 2014 – 145
Note the trappings of "modern life" in what otherwise have been a typical scene from, say, 50 years ago: the cellphone and the two bags of chips. Only the soccer ball is "traditional."

I was really annoyed by the partly-obscured person in the background; once you see her, it’s very hard to avoid being distracted by her presence every time you look at the picture.

I have to admit that I didn’t even notice her when I was taking the photo, because I was concentrating so hard on trying to get a good shot of the two boys. But among the dozen or so separate images that I took (almost all of which I’ve now deleted), the only ones where the annoying woman is not creating a distraction turned out to be ones that suffered from far worse problems … so this was the best I could do.

But it also helps explain why I ended up giving this only a three-star rating in my photo archives … and thus not good enough to upload as a "public" photo on Flickr, but probably good enough to keep as a pleasant afternoon of sitting in that little plaza in Venice…

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I’ve been to Venice once or twice for brief business trips during my life, which had the same characteristics as the business trips I described in a separate Flickr album about Paris — i.e., they basically involve flying into a busy airport at night, taking a taxi to a generic business-traveler’s hotel (a Hilton in Venice looks just like a Hilton in Cairo,except perhaps for the canal outside the main entrance), and then spending several days working in the hotel (if the purpose of the trip was a seminar or computer conference), or at a client’s office (also “generic” in most cases — you can’t even tell what floor you’re on when you get off the elevator, because every floor of “open office” layouts is the same). The trip usually ends in the late afternoon or evening of the final day, with a mad dash back to the airport to catch the last plane home to NYC. Thus, a business trip to Venice is almost indistinguishable from a business trip to Omaha. Or Albany. Or Tokyo.

But Venice is different from almost any other place in the world, and I’ve had a couple of vacation trips to experience that side of the city. But it’s been a long, long time: the first such visit was back in 1976 (which you can see here on Flickr), and the second visit was in 1983 (pictures of which do exist on Flickr, but have been restricted to family-only access, since they consist mostly of boring pictures of drooling babies and kids sticking their collective tongues out at me).

Thirty years is a long time between visits … but for a city like Venice, I doubt that very much has changed. Well, perhaps there wasn’t a McDonald’s outlet in Venice when I first came here (and I did photograph one such outlet on this current visit, which you’ll find in this album), and you can certainly guarantee that people weren’t walking around with cellphones and smartphones the way they are today. And while the tourists typically did have cameras back in the good-old-days, they were typically modest little “Instamatic” film-based gadgets, rather than the big, garish, DSLR cameras that everyone now seems to carry around with them, complete with advertising logos all over the camera-straps and bodies to remind you that they, too, can afford to buy an expensive Canon or Nikon gadget that they really don’t know how to use properly. (Sorry, I got carried away there …)

But the buildings, and the people, and the canals, and the gondolas … all of that is the same. And that’s what I’ve tried to capture in this set of photos. The tourist crowds are now so thick (even in May!) that I didn’t even bother going to the square at San Marco, and I didn’t bother taking any photos from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal; but you will see some photos of tourists in this album, along with photos of the local people who are still here …

I don’t expect to come back to Venice again in the next year or two … but if it turns out to be 20 or 30 years before my next return, I suspect it will all look pretty much exactly the same as it did on this trip, and in 1983, and when I first saw it in 1976.
By Ed Yourdon on 2014-05-25 10:35:26
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