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August 10, 2023
Family vacation in Venice recreating a memory from the past
When Kelly contacted me for a family photoshoot in Venice I was instantly intrigued. Kelly was born and raised in the Virgin Islands, USA. Her parents came to Venice on a romantic trip as a young couple, in the ’70s, and brought a picture home. She saw that image for years, as a precious heirloom. This image inspired her to get to Venice, with her family, to see what her parents saw, and make more memories.
An old photo, a gondola ride in Venice, and family memories
I posted the picture on a Facebook group focused on Venice and Venetian history, full of locals, because I wanted to know if anyone remembered the gondolier (Venice is smaller than you think!). As I expected, in 10 minutes I got all of the answers. The gondolier’s name was Aldo Memo, also called “pescioin” = little fish. A nephew recognized him, and since Venice is so small (at the moment the residents are less than 50 thousand people) a lot of people knew him as well.
The bridge itself was easy to spot for Venetians: Ponte della Fava, very close to Rialto. Bridges are an essential part of the city’s architecture and locals know most of those 391 bridges.
Photographs in Venice, as a window into the past of the city
I love how history puts all that we do in perspective. There have always been photographers in Venice and of course they mostly photographed tourists. Especially at a time when being a tourist was not for everyone, and most activities were serving a luxury market.
The picture Kelly showed me was probably taken by the photographers at Foto Blitz. It used to be a photo shop in Venice, but it no longer exists. Foto Blitz has left traces all over the area around Piazza San Marco (you can still see the signs). From what I gathered, they surprised people with a photo during their gondola ride. Later they offered to deliver it printed.
It was incredibly fascinating to learn about the history of the city and its relation with tourism throughout the years. And Kelly and her family were amazing at posing! She is a photographer herself, and in an area that is very tourist focused, the Virgin Islands.
We enjoyed strolling around the area of San Giorgio dei Greci at sunset, ending our time with a gondola ride with Mike, a gondolier with a taste for acrobatics!