A Florentine Peripheral
Friday, February 22, 2019
Photography, after about 197 years, has left its mark in us
in many ways. Its initial perceived precision and sharpness gave us Impressionism.
Polarized skies did the same for hype realistic painting.
And now, more than ever the explosion of digital photography
has cornered us into that vertical or horizontal rectangle. While some phones
and digital cameras have panoramic mode I am not sure if the stitching of
segments give us that so human perception that we call peripheral vision.
I believe that swivel lens panoramic film cameras (the film
inside is wrapped around a round holder at the shutter opening) give us an
inkling at what we see when we look ahead while being aware of our peripherals
The photograph here I took at our bus stop near our hotel in
Florence. I used a Widelux, a Japanese swivel lens panoramic.
Dickens' Black Boat
Thursday, February 21, 2019
gondola, y este del gr. bizant. κοντούρα kontoúra 'barca de cola corta'.
Embarcación pequeña de recreo, sin palos ni cubierta, por lo común con una
carroza en el centro, y que se usa principalmente en Venecia.
de la Real Academia Española
Until the early 20th century, as many photographs attest,
gondolas were often fitted with a "felze", a small cabin, to protect
the passengers from the weather or from onlookers. Its windows could be closed
with louvered shutters—the original "Venetian blinds".
Before Rosemary and I went to Venice last month we read
up on whatever we could find about Venice and Italy. In my Vancouver Public
Library I found a book Pictures from Italy written by Charles Dickens during a
trip to Venice in the 1840s. At Macleod Books I purchased a beautiful edition
(1877) called Pictures from Italy, Etc that included the author’s trips to the
United States and Canada.
The chapter on Venice, An Italian Dream is written as if
Dickens were asleep and visiting the city in a dream.
I was awakened after some time (as I thought) by the
stopping of the coach. It was now quite night and we were at the water-side.
There lay here a black boat with a little house or a cabin in it of the same mournful
colour. When I had taken my seat in this, the boat was paddled, by two men,
towards a great light, lying on the distance on the sea.
This to me was a lovely introduction to Venice. I was
puzzled by the fact that Dickens called the ship a black boat and that he
mentioned the little house. From Wikipedia I found out (see above) that the
little cabin was called a felze. The amazing online RAE (Diccionario de la Real
Academia Española) is always helpful to find the origin of a Word. It seems that
gondola is of Byzantium/Greek origin.
At the Doge’s Palace in Venice I saw a gondola (a black
one!) with a felze. While in Venice it was impossible not to be somehow drawn
to taking pictures of every gondola seen. I have culled from the many I took
for this blog.
We had five days in Venice and we went to every museum
and gallery. Somehow getting on a gondola was not a priority.
We never went on a ride.
|A Venetian gondola in Vancouver|
The Travails of Traveling in the 21st Century II
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
|Niño & Niña|
At age 76 I know we must travel before travel insurance for
the both of us become onerous. Yesterday (I am writing this February 19), a few hours before we were to leave for
the airport, Rosemary decided to purchase insurance. I had to answer all kinds
of questions on what seems to have been an infinity of possible diseases. In
the end I am insured. I told the woman on the phone that since we were
traveling to Italy the premium should have been double because of bureaucracy.
But she had no sense of humour and I left it at that.
I put Niño and Niña in their cage and took them with all
their blankets, food and food dishes to the Feline Hilton. There I was told I
had to have the cats vaccinated for this and that. I had no choice but to give
Niño in particular looked at me with big mournful eyes a
sort of, “Why are you doing this?”
I have stated before that somehow a cat in its essential
catness reinforces our own personal humanity. Niño and Niña make compel me to
feel more human, more caring and more forgiving.
As I drove back I felt myself hoping that the days in Italy
were almost over and I could turn the car and pick them up. They say that cats,
lacking clocks, have no idea of the passage of time. I am not too sure. Will
they think of us while we are gone? Who knows?
But we will have them in our thoughts every day of our trip.
Chances are that our next trip will not be one that comes soon.
The Travails of Traveling in the 21st Century
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
moved to our lovely Kerrisdale corner home with a large garden we spent a
little fortune in buying the best plants money could buy. We went to Maple
Ridge and other places to find beautiful antiques. Our house made it in Better
Homes and Gardens and in several Canadian gardening magazines.
|Niño - Photograph Rosemary Waterhouse-Hayward|
never worried too much about the upstairs until the plumbing began to fail.
Suddenly we had leaky bathrooms and no money in the bank for repairs. It was embarrassing
because we could never invite anybody (friends or relatives) to stay with us.
sold over the objection of my Rosemary and bought a neat, clean duplex in
Kitsilano which our younger granddaughter Lauren says is cozy.
is electric and I cough much less. We have floor heating in the tiled floors of
the kitchen and the bathrooms. Everything works including a toilet much too
complicated for me to figure out. We still use toilet paper.
two months ago we had a slow leak in the kitchen. We found a plumber who did
not tear up the whole kitchen to find the leak.
story short is that our insurance is pretty well changing more than half the
before we packed for our trip to Venice they removed the cabinets and counters.
Luckily we have a stove and microwave. But there is no kitchen sink so I have
been washing dishes in the downstairs guest bathroom. Our pots and pans and
dishes are all on the dining room table.
they are not going to do the dry wall and other repairs we will return to
travails of traveling in the 21st century are an unsavory challenge.
We need the cubes and the wires to charge Rosemary’s iPhone7, my Galaxy S5 and
for my dedicated only camera iPhone3G. I need to pack a charger for my two Fuji
X cameras. Because one of my swivel lens panoramics, a Horizont will be loaded
with Kodak B+W Infrared Film I need to take a changing bag.
plan to photograph my cello playing friend Claudio Ronco I am taking a light
that adjusts from 110 to 220. But I cannot forget the plug in cord and the
Italian outlet adaptor. And without a flash cord and an adaptor to connect it
to onë of my Fujis I need the adaptor. My Minolta Flash Meter is coming too as
well as a small soft box and collapsible light stand.
how dishonest someone might be amidst the throngs of Venice I am bringing a “faltriquera”
which is worn underneath my pant waist. I will put a few Euros there.
needs all sorts of cream and makeup. She insists on bringing two Eyewitness
Books, one is on Venice the other is on Florence. In my shoulder camera bag (it
does not look like one) I am packing Dickens’s book on his travels in Italy as
well as Ruskin’s the Stones of Venice. Rosemary will slip into her shoulder bag
Vidal in Venice.
for Niño and Niño is ready. I will take them in the morning. We feel guilty and
would like to suddenly be back from our trip.
snow on Tuesday. We have already booked our cab to the airport just in case
they will be hard to come by in the morning.
trying to empty the fridge. The combination of food we have been having in the
last few days defies any standard of culinary compatibility.
As I ready
myself to sleep (Rosemary is getting up at five to call Blue Cross travel
insurance on her iPhone) I know I will be restless. My Niño will get on top of
me on the bed and look at me with mournful eyes. I know what he is thinking.
you abandoning us?
three batteries for the Fujis as well as spare storage cards. And the film.
Buenaventura - A Venetian Ghost
Monday, February 18, 2019
|Buenaventura - Photograph - Girolamo Clemente|
When Rosemary and I arrive in Venice on the 20th I will have
the ghosts (images) of the many books I have read about Venice. Some have been
novels others non-fiction. But there will be a ghost that will be with me all
the time. It is a 19th century photograph by a mostly forgotten
Venetian photographer called Girolamo Clemente. From what I can gather he died
at age 35 in 1875. I am haunted by this lovely image of a woman he called
Buenaventura. Who was she? I will never know. But perhaps I can find someone to
pose for me in homage to this woman.