Anyone who writes a blog on Venice and is in town during Carnevale must decided whether they'll take photos of people in costumes. While I enjoy seeing people have a good time, especially those--adults and kids alike--who display an evident pleasure in being dressed up, I don't much like to photograph people who are posing. And posing for photos seems to be the main thing--sometimes the only thing--that the more elaborately-costumed adult do. And that's a good thing, too, as the number of people wearing cameras around their necks (pros, semi-pros, enthusiasts, and point-and-shooters) far exceeds those wearing costumes, and the latter fulfill the important function of providing the former with subject matter.
I like seeing photos of people in costumes; I admire the flair or whimsy of those both in front of and behind the lens, and am happy to leave it to others.
But this afternoon I caught sight of the thoughtful clown above as I was about to exit a vaporetto and I fumbled to get out my camera and take a shot before something, or everything, changed. It made me think that my favorite costumes are finally those that allow for unexpected glimpses of basic humanness: thoughtfulness or boredom or whatever; the ordinary, essential and sympathetic set off by the festive, the comic, even the outlandish.
He looks so sad....ReplyDelete
Yes, you wouldn't think two sequins positioned as tear drops would create such an effect--but he does really suggest something of Leoncavallo's famous aria. Without the sequins, I think he'd just look thoughtful, or bored.Delete
At Saturday near Red Square I was planning to shoot portraits of Stalin and Lenin impersonators that are posing there professionally. There were 3 Stalins and at least a couple of Lenins, most of them resembled the dead stars only vaguely - like the most weird Elvis "twins" echo Elvis in a very strange yet discernible way.ReplyDelete
But the wind was so chilly making the guys sulk so I decided to do it some other - warmer - day.
Will you write about Zombie Walk?
I think a couple Lenins or Stalins may be exactly what this Carnevale needs, Sasha, but I've yet to see any. You'd think any worthwhile Lenin or Stalin impersonator would make it a point of pride not to let the cold get to them.Delete
I went to one Zombie Walk in 2007 in Asheville, North Carolina and that was enough for me. I think I'll leave that subject to others as well.
I think that the Carnivale visuals should be enriched by something original and unexpected. Staging that Zombie Walk the organizers just added a well-established, even overexploited discourse to the the one that is equally void of surprises. It's something purely mechanical, I think.Delete
I was shooting a toy polar bear in Venice - something to add an element that is not usually included in a postcards of the city. Next December I'll make photos of Venetians admiring a bust of Lenin -"Lenin in Venice" will be a chapter in my book, a tongue-in-cheek parody of pseudo-research.
Yes, I don't really get the Zombie Walks. I mean, I understand that zombies are now the standard metaphor for mindless (Capitalist) consumption, and I imagine at one point Zombie Walks may have had something a bit subversive about them--at least, folks of a certain age in Asheville, North Carolina seemed to believe so--but now...?Delete
By the way, did Lenin actually ever visit Venice? Everyone else did, including Nietzsche, and of course Trostsky lived in NYC for a time.
I was watching Walking Dead TV-series for two seasons and had an impression that all that zombie discourse is a kind of testing grounds preparing populace to a scenario of catastrophic scarcity of resources that will result in a large portion of their neighbors becoming excessive burden for the neighborhood. These 'surplus" people will become hungry, dressed in rags, dirty, barely moving because of undernourishment, guided by the most basic instinct of getting any supplies anywhere there are still some - they'll closely resemble zombies of today's mass culture. And the mechanism of alienation, the readiness to consider these former colleagues and neighbors as someone "already doomed" is being installed in the mass consciousness with every zombie movie.Delete
As for the Lenin I'm 98% sure he never was in Venice. But I know how he lived in other European cities and can practically see Ilyich strolling calli e campi:)
I haven't seen that series, Sasha, but your reading of it, and of the whole zombie obsession, is an interesting one. There's something deeply fatalistic about it, regardless of how much it's pitched as just a good old disturbing "diversion." What's more, I just find it boring.Delete
I agree that such Zombie Walk may be just a commercial over-exploitation of something which has no link with Carnival. Some 15-20 years ago (time pass quickly indeed) I remember that at Campo San Maurizio there was a celebration of "Carnevale della Morte" which was so deeply entrenched into the essence of carnival itself. There it really looked like we were living a deep sense of Carnival, and understanding more about the city itself and its contrasts.ReplyDelete
That sounds like an interesting event, Francesco, and sounds more in keeping with what I understand was the original impetus behind the people who reintroduced Carnevale to Venezia. Sometimes people still make attempts these days, but they are uphill battles, it seems.Delete