Although Cannaregio is the second largest sestiere (neighborhood) in Venice, tourists float right by it on the Canal Grande headed first to Rialto, St. Marks Square and the Basilica.
As a result, for Artists, Cannaregio remains just enough off the beaten path to provide a rare opportunity. A chance to be inspired by a genuine version of Venice that tourists often neglect. One that when represented in art, can still be recognized as Venice by those very same tourists.
This Artwork Monday I’m exploring Cannaregio by Paolo Ferraris.
As Artists, Photographers who work outdoors open themselves up to surprise. There’s always more than meets the eye. Glimmers, ghosts not noticed in the moment of the click.
“As an Artist I try to capture reality but I can not control it. Especially in long exposures, which I use extensively in my work including Cannaregio. Unintentional characters show up in the final image, fantastic creatures that remind me, fantasy is real.” — Paolo Ferraris, Artist
I sat down with Paolo to explore Cannaregio in fine detail. There they emerged. Shapes, forms, faces captured yet uncontrolled.
A sailor peering into a shop window.
A man walking towards us, his face obscured through the long exposure, or is that a mask?
A ghoul floating. A reflection outside the frame of the window taking on new life.
A ghost with a haunting smile in a flash of energy.
A cat. Was it truly crawling the street that day?
Looking closely at Cannaregio created through long exposure reveals as much about the artist as it does the moment he captures.
“We think artists create but it’s actually life that creates, every instant. The artist is just a witness, a ‘bequeather’. When the characters pop up, it makes working on the piece more like a dialog. It makes the piece more interesting. As a photographer I like to be open to the possibilities of the reality in front of the lens.” — Paolo Ferraris, Artist
Putting each of the characters back into the piece brings new life to Cannaregio. It’s also part of what makes Instagram such an interesting platform for Artists. Viewers can pinch and zoom to explore details.
Paolo blurs the lines between capturing reality with photography and the free world of a painter. Each piece is a negotiation between reality and creativity. Not all of his work contains such well-defined characters but surely the ones that do, are those which engaged Paolo fully as an Artist.