IOMPS Courier Report for 22nd January

Date Published 
Fri 22 Jan 2021
Courier Report 220121
The Isle of Man Photographic Society is supported by the Arts Council
The covid19 restrictions on travel and social activities have meant that the IOM Photographic Society programme of events has had to be postponed – but with the vaccination programme now in progress, we hope to resume our regular meetings as soon as allowed.

In the meantime, there is perhaps the possibility and the need to “think positively” - that covid19 will pass and more normal times resume, giving opportunity to consider possible travel plans for the future.

Travel is one of the great occasions for photography, and for some of us, a major reason for travel. The chance to check our “bucket list” of places we’ve always wanted to visit but never actually managed to, or to make that “trip of a lifetime”. My wife and I had never been to Venice but several years ago, had an invite to go with friends, and we took our opportunity. 

Venice has long been a favoured destination – a city of many small islands mostly linked by walkways and bridges or by ferries and gondolas, a place full of history, with unique buildings and culture, and at the time, readily accessible.

Venice airport is on the Italian mainland, with access in the lagoon being either by private launch (at considerable expense) or by the local “vaporetto” waterbus ferries (slower but much less expensive). Our hotel was right in the middle of the city with easy access to all the major sites, including the Rialto bridge, St Marks Square, and the Grand Canal, so ideally placed. 

The major business of Venice today is tourism - and thousands of visitors every day in a normal year, mostly day trippers, so the streets are vehicle-free but pedestrian-busy and usually very crowded, though obviously not at present. 

Travel photography is a complicated affair – all too easy just to take “snapshots” which are identical to thousands of images taken from more or less the same place. The difficulty is getting shots which are memorable but which capture the essence and character of a place. This necessitates making that little extra effort to get the shot, and maybe some imagination too. Getting out early will usually mean less crowds, which will be helpful to one’s photography as well as meaning smaller queues for the main highlights.

The Venice Carnival is a special event in the calendar, with many dressing in costume and giving opportunity for some superb images, as the one enclosed by Ruth Nicholls. Cruise ships are a major contributor to the daytime crowds in the city though their sheer size has been a source of controversy as evident from an image by Chris Blyth of one passing St Marks Square. Lara Howe’s image of the waterfront is different to the usual shot, a well considered format, but totally reflecting the architecture of the city.

Sadly, the very popularity of the city as a tourist destination has changed the culture. Venice has proved too expensive for many Venetians with its high cost of living forcing many to leave, the city losing many of its family businesses of artisan shops (the butchers, bakers, glass works, the leather workers etc), never to return, and diminishing the very reason for wanting to visit.

With the shut-down, readers should check our website or Facebook page for any update of our planned meetings. Our meetings are held the St John Ambulance HQ on Glencrutchery Road, starting at 7:00 pm and are open to the public (non-members with a modest entry fee), and all will be given a very warm welcome. 

By Chris Blyth


IMAGE 01: Venice Waterfront by Lara Howe

IMAGE 02: Pretty in Pink by Ruth Nicholls

IMAGE 03: P&O liner at St Marks Square by Chris Blyth