The Lines and Cracks that Stole My Heart: Venice Has Never Been More Lovely Than in Her Elegant Decay

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The Lines and Cracks that Stole My Heart: Venice Has Never Been More Lovely Than in Her Elegant Decay

Two gondoliers at repose

Trying something new is always fraught with doubts and anxieties, at least for me. When I became a full-time photographer and left corporate life behind, I worried a lot about success. I worried friends were simply being kind when they told me they liked my photographs. Perhaps, my friends had no artistic taste remembering the velvet doey eyed portraits of creatures that populated the walls of family rooms or the string of Franklin Mint dishes that ringed their walls. I am still gobsmacked and humbled when people would ask if I’d sell them a copy of a print. When I visit my dentist’s office, I still look around to see if she has removed the print I sold her and replaced it with something else.

With the start of a biweekly newsletter, I am again plagued by doubt and trepidation as I look into this publishing abyss. Will anyone read my musings? Will anyone visit my e-store? As I ponder these questions, I am reminded of a quote from World War I-era British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, “You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” Now before anyone asks ... no, I wasn’t there when he uttered those words and no, I don’t think it was Mark Twain who said it first. I’m pretty sure of that. What he was getting at was what Yoda almost a century later told Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Here goes the leap.

All the profits from the sale of my prints are destined for a specific charity.

So how can I give away all the profits from the sale of my photographs? Easy. I simply don’t need the money from print sales. However, I’m not wealthy, so I need to cover my expenses, which I keep at a minimum. This allows me to pass along the profits to GlobalMedic, a registered Canadian charity.

The photographs that I have on display in my e-store, Jim Dawson Photography, are the products of the second trip I took to Venice in 2016. It was my good fortune to spend two weeks wandering aimlessly through the calles of this beautiful and historic city. The first time I went, I was part of a package tour. I swore to myself afterwards that I would never again rush through any town unless I was being pursued by pitchfork-wielding citizens bent on throwing me into a dingy dungeon. It was then that my bittersweet love affair with this Queen of the Adriatic began.

Before I set foot in Venice for the second time, I read extensively about it; its humble beginnings, its political intrigues, its rise to be the trading capital of the World to its inevitable decline as the World’s eyes turned west after the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, to its suffering through the terrible ravages of the Black Plague in the mid-14th century and its humiliating occupation by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797.

Quick sidebar. We owe the word “quarantine” to the Italian term for 40 days, quaranta giorni. Beginning in the early 15th century, the Venetians designated the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio for isolating and treating plague-stricken Venetians. Later, Lazzaretto Nuovo became a place ships coming from places experiencing the plague, or those with suspected sick passengers or crew, anchored. There, people and goods spent a period of quarantine before being allowed into the heart of the city. 

I'm a fan of Dickens. While doing my research, I was struck by the similarities between Dicken’s Amelia Havisham in Great Expectations and Venice. Both were creatures of beauty and victims of fickle lovers. They were both abandoned as their suitor’s gaze turned away. In the instance of Miss Havisham, her crumbling mansion, her rotting wedding feast, and her tattered wedding dress remain as remembrances of her aborted wedding day. They also left the city of Venice at the altar when her lovers turned their gaze away from the East and her to the West and its promises of easy riches. Slowly, irrevocably, Venice fell into a state of elegant decay. Today it confronts thronging hordes and threats from rising seas.

I tried to capture the terminal but elegant decay of Venice, plus her stunning, crumbling beauty. Despite the lines and cracks in her facade, she is still gorgeous and interesting, capable of stealing hearts and inspiring dreams—like an aged but elegant lady who has fallen on difficult times but still commands the love of her admirers. She has stolen my heart.

Thank you very much for making it this far. I would very much like to know what you think of this first attempt at a LinkedIn newsletter. So please take a few moments to add a comment in the section below and to wander through my e-store and let me know what you think.

I'm not done with Venice and will come back to it in other newsletters. In the winter of 2022, I will preview images of Portugal and Spain, and afterwards France. So please stay tuned.

To see more images from my Elegant Decay collection, click here

Until the next adventure,