Lonely Planet Writer

See the timeless beauty of Venice in these black and white shots

A book of black and white images celebrating the famous city has made its Venetian debut.

Fabio Bressanello’s image of a man walking through the snow in Dream of Venice in Black and White. Image by Fabio Bressanello

Dream of Venice in Black and White was presented on 25 November at the sumptuous Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. Taking part were the book’s editor and creator JoAnn Locktov, Venetian author Tiziano Scarpa and the photographer of the cover image Lisa Katsiaris.

JoAnn Locktov spoke of having an open call with professional photographers and amateurs taking part, her aim being to find unusual photos of the city that contained a clear narrative. The result is a beautiful tome with over fifty photos, all of them in black and white, yet all of them highly individual takes on Venice. There is a timelessness to many images, while others are decidedly more contemporary, such as the one of backpacked students sitting on the station steps or the locals protesting against the cruise ships.

A young girl on a busy Venetian waterway in Dream of Venice in Black and White. Image by Cristina Marson

Venetian author Tiziano Scarpa wrote the introduction and makes no bones about the problem of over-tourism and ways to combat it. He spoke with humour and elegance about being a custodian of Venice for future generations and noted the paradox of insisting on living the city to the full while simultaneously trying to tread lightly. Lisa Katsiaris, an amateur photographer, spoke of how she took the cover image, but also of her struggle to be a responsible tourist. JoAnn Locktov spoke entertainingly about her relationship with the city, acknowledging that by returning to it she is part of the tourism problem whilst finding its allure irresistible. Yet as this book and her previous two publications attest, Locktov is far from a problem and is in fact a vocal champion of the city and the need for its safeguarding.

The cover of Dream of Venice in Black and White. Image by Lisa Katsiaris

Speaking after the event, Locktov stated: “Dream of Venice in Black and White is both a requiem of remembrance and an inspiration for the future. The photographs were chosen for composition, emotional connection and narrative. We need to viscerally understand what we are at risk of losing, if we are going to fight to keep Venice alive. The book weaves the eloquent words of Venetian writer Tiziano Scarpa, living with the effects of mass tourism, with the elegance of monochrome images that reveal a city too remarkable to neglect.”

A percentage of the book’s proceeds goes to Ikona, a photography gallery in Venice.

By Jo-Ann Titmarsh