The feast of San Giorgio

Inside the Orthodox Church of the Greeks, Venice.

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I was trying the brand new Leica CL with the awesome 18-56mm inside this place I am very found of. There were extreme poor light conditions and I pushed the iso up to 3200, in order to use the zoom at 56mm f/5,6. The result is amazing. Though it's an aps sensor, the Leica CL stands out for image quality, and allows you to take pictures in every situations. I used the electronic shutter, no-one heard me.

The first time i found this door open, during a Photo Tour in Castello...

...I got a surprise: the fisherman's warehouse was full of everything. Not only nets, but a bunch of objects collected from old houses. When we pass in front of this place, we often stop to take a picture of the door, but it's really it's really difficult to find it open. 

 The fisherman' warehouse in Castello

The fisherman' warehouse in Castello

While we stopped there, taking pictures, somebody entered and bought the poster of Hemingway you can see in the background. So, have a look at the picture and if you need for something, I'll show you where this place is!

Picture taken with my Leica Sl and 28mm Elmarit-M lens.

The first picture of 2018!

The Ist January Venice Photo Tour

 An hidden canal during the first Photo Tour in Venice on the 1st January 2018

An hidden canal during the first Photo Tour in Venice on the 1st January 2018

This is a very beautiful area in Venice, not far from the Rialto bridge, but still not crowded. A mysterious hand painted this white lily on this wall, and in various other parts of the city. When I was going around Venice for the first Photo Tour of the year, I noticed the face o the first floor and I decided to split it in two parts, with one eye on the right and the other on the left of the central part of the window.

I took this picture with my Leica SL, 1/6s, f/2,8, iso 1600. I payed attention to the exposure because of the high contrast among the sky, the interior of the first floor, and the outdoor scene of the palaces on the canal.

The marbled paper of Alberto Valese

Alberto Valese is an artist, expert in marbled paper.

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His shop is in Campo Santo Stefano, and we often pass in front of it during a Photo Tour, but his workshop is inside his house in Castello. So, thank to my friend Fiona, one of the best Venice's guides, I payed a visit to him. He showed us this ancient art in which he excels and it was incredible to see how time long it takes and how much skills to do just one piece of marbled paper! Completely different from the industrial production, and so amazing!

 A marbled paper made by Alberto Valese

A marbled paper made by Alberto Valese

As everything in made by hand, the production of Alberto Valese makes every single piece different, and with fantastic designs, like this octopus for an example!

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Inside the Basilica of San Marco

An incredible experience! Inside the Basilica of San Marco it's absolutely forbidden to take pictures, so what an honor to be called as the official photographer for a very important ceremony!

 The Patriarch of Venice inside the Basilica of San Marco

The Patriarch of Venice inside the Basilica of San Marco

My mentor David Alan Harvey, great photographer of Magnum, and my teacher of photography more than 10 years ago, used to tell me: "Remember that what happens immediately before or immediately after an event, is very often more important than the event itself". This is such the case, I got this picture at the end of the ceremony, when everybody was going away. I used my Leica SL, 90mm Elmarit M f/2,8, 1/25s f2,8, iso 3200.

The magic world of mosaics in Venice

Welcome inside the Orsoni's factory!

To see the mosaics inside the Basilica of San Marco is, of course, one of the most beautiful experience you can do in Venice...

...And here, I am presenting you the factory of one of the world's leading producer of gold mosaic and full body glass mosaic in Venice: Orsoni. 

 The multicoloured panel, created as a sample collection of smalti and gold mosaic tiles.

The multicoloured panel, created as a sample collection of smalti and gold mosaic tiles.

Mosaic starts its life through fusion, because it's created from fire, as with metals and crystal. This is why you will find brightly coloured stacks of melting pots at the entrance of the furnace.

 Coloured melting pot.

Coloured melting pot.

Throughout the history of art, mosaic has provided a truly fascinating medium. Mosaic was in use in ancient times, reaching its zenit in the celebrated romans decorations, and flourishing in Early Christian and Byzantine art. Some magnificent works were carried out in the splendid mosaics in the sights of Ravenna, in the Basilica of San Marco and the one of San Pietro in Rome, just to give you some examples.

 Mosaics in San Vitale, Ravenna.

Mosaics in San Vitale, Ravenna.

 Inside the Basilica of San Marco.

Inside the Basilica of San Marco.

All small parts of the mosaic are cut by hand or using a glass cutter with a grill. In this way, you will obtain mosaics which are all different one from the other.

 Cutting the mosaic tesserae by hand.

Cutting the mosaic tesserae by hand.

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The panoramic Venice

A different way of framing: the panoramic mode

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The new Leica SL allows you to see immediately inside the viewfinder the final crop in many different ratio: 3:2/7:5/4:3/1:1/3:1/16:9. I find the ratio 3:1 very useful because it if you want to shoot in panoramic mode, the frame is will not just be the crop of a 3:2 ratio, but it needs a different composition too! 

Here I used my Leica SL with a 21mm Elmarit, 1/80s f3,5 iso 800.

Inside a glass factory in Murano.

The making of the "Murrine"

 It's always a pleasure when I am allowed to go inside  a glass factory in Murano . For security reasons, these places are "off limits" for everybody, but sometimes I find a way through and I spend a morning taking pictures of  very ancient art . This is the making of the glass cane that hides the colored  "Murrine" , the images or patterns made with glass. These patterns (since the  Roman empire ) will widely be used for making jewelry, glass vessels, jars, and so on.  Picture taken with my Leica SL, Summicron 50mm, 1/200s f/2,8 iso 800.

It's always a pleasure when I am allowed to go inside a glass factory in Murano. For security reasons, these places are "off limits" for everybody, but sometimes I find a way through and I spend a morning taking pictures of very ancient art. This is the making of the glass cane that hides the colored "Murrine", the images or patterns made with glass. These patterns (since the Roman empire) will widely be used for making jewelry, glass vessels, jars, and so on.

Picture taken with my Leica SL, Summicron 50mm, 1/200s f/2,8 iso 800.

Inside one of the most artisan's beautiful workshops in Venice!

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This is my friend Max, inside one of the most beautiful workshops, where they build oars and oars-lockers for gondolas and other types of boats. During a Photo Tour, we entered inside this place and I saw him standing on this wooden box. I never understood why he was acting like this. Anyway, I quickly took a couple of pictures. By the way, I often like to take along my film camera, so this picture was taken with a Leica M6, 28mm Elmarit and Kodak T-max 400. Processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 (dil. B). 

The junk dealer's workshop in the Ghetto.

Photo of interiors in the Venice's Ghetto.

We can probably find them every morning reading the newspaper in the Ghetto.

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These two men's names are Emilio and Carlo. I photographed Emilio some years ago for my book about the construction of the gondolas, as he is one of the artisans working on the wooden decorations on the top of the seats. Emilio is the owner of this place, which was, many years ago, a shop of olive oil. They were so interesting in reading their newspapers, that I could easily prepare my Gitzo tripod and use a long shutter speed such as 0,7"; f/3,4 and iso 200, in order to keep the maximum quality of my Leica M 240.

The shop of Aldo Strasse.

A funny stop during the Photo Tour in Castello!

 Inside the shop of Aldo Strasse.

Inside the shop of Aldo Strasse.

This is not just a second-hand-clothes shop, this is a piece of real Venice. Mr. Aldo Strasse owns this shop in Castello since 1973 and inside it's a melting pot of everything. With him, you can talk about photography too, he is very found of Leica, and he has a R4 in the closet behind him.

 The shop of Aldo Strasse from outside.

The shop of Aldo Strasse from outside.

Every time I see the door open, I pay a visit to him, it's always a nice moment of Venetian life! 

 The third edition of the book "Venice on the edge of light", by Marc De Tollenaere

The third edition of the book "Venice on the edge of light", by Marc De Tollenaere

I am so found of this place that I also included a picture of him inside the third edition of my book "Venice on the edge of light"!

The first Leica Akademie Discovering Venice

The Leica Akademie in Venice!

The first Leica Akademie Discovering Venice

Leica decided, some years ago, to do Photo Workshops in Venice. And I, as Leica Ambassador, have the honor to hold them! This was the very first one, in June 2014. Everybody was given a Leica M with some lenses and we had a very nice time going around some of the most beautiful and untouched corners of Venice! I prepared 3 Photo Tours, one for each day in Venice, and then we had some hours every day to discuss the result of each person attending the Leica Akademie.

The link to my website for Photo Tours in Venice

The Church of San Francesco della Vigna

Photo Tour in front of the Church of San Francesco della Vigna

The main door of the Church of San Francesco della Vigna

These children were playing in front of the door of the Church of San Francesco della Vigna, in the district of Castello. One good thing about children is that you can follow them and, be sure, something interesting will happen! Leica M 240 with 28mm Elmarit. 1/250s f11 iso 800. May be you would like to know why I used iso 800, even though I was  not in an interior. The answer is simple: in street photography I normally use the "hyperfocal", which means that I set the focusing distance at 2mt, and then I colse the aperture at f/8 or f/11, and I know that whit a 28mm like in this particular case, everywhere I will point everything will be on focus starting from 1,2mt.

Children playing in San Francesco della Vigna

When the door is open, during a Photo Tour, I like to go inside this almost untouched corner of Venice, and see what happens.

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In a very popular area of Venice, Castello, there is this almost untouched corner, behind the church of San Francesco della Vigna. The door is often closed, but when it's possible I like to go inside and see what happens. In this particular case there were some children playing near the bottom of the bell tower. Leica M240 with the 28mm Elmarit 2,8 asph. 1/60s f10, iso 400.