gyrating, advancing then retreating the figure suddenly stops, holds a
statuesque pose for only an instant, then rushes forward toward one of
the hundreds of spectators crowding around in a large circle. Shrouded
in black velvet trimmed with gold embroidery, the face is covered by a
gold mask—only the eyes are visible, glaring, penetrating. The identity
of the person behind the mask is a mystery.
the Piazza San Marco, in the heart of mediaeval Venice, hundreds of people
are gathered in circles watching the poses and antics of other masked figures.
The temperature barely manages to stay above freezing and the sun seems
incapable of shining through the thick winter mist that envelopes the watery
city, but none of this seems of any consequence.
movements are graceful, seductive—it could be a woman but the body has
a large frame, more that of a man. He, or she, charges up to a young man
who has been persistently calling out, embraces him as if to bestow a passionate
kiss, then suddenly releases him.
the performer moves toward a tourist who is trying to photograph the dazzling
display, searing blue eyes look directly into the lens, but then the actor
dances away across the square before the would be photographer can get
a shot off. The crowd rushes to follow, anxious to see more of this resplendent
|Visitors and locals alike brave the wintry conditions to mill around in the piazzetta
beside the Ducal Palace. Once only the nobility of Venice were permitted
to walk here. Today the crowd laughs and jokes and carry brightly coloured
balloons. At noon the Campanile will toll its bells, as it has for hundreds
of years, the balloons will be released into the mists, and Venice will
herald the beginning of Carnival. For the thousands who have flooded into
the city to participate or simply watch the old traditions unfold for another
year the muffling mist and freezing air surrounding them simply adds to
People never seem to tire of watching the performances that go on throughout each of the 10 days of Carnival. Only late in the day as the
afternoon draws to a close do the crowds start to thin in the Piazza.
The figure in the black velvet cape and gold mask glides swiftly past the
onlookers and takes the arm of someone dressed as Pierot, intent on giving one last performance.
Together they rush from the square out under the arches to a place where gondolas
are moored in the end of one of Venice’s many canals.
late afternoon sun has finally managed to filter through the mist and paint
a golden glow on the old buildings. As the pair stop on the narrow footpath
beside the gondolas, they pose briefly for the hundreds of camera clicking
admirers who have followed them out of the piazza.
the gold masked figure embraces Pierot and slowly, sensuously, their masked
lips touch. More than a hundred people have now gathered in the surroundings
jostling and pushing for a glimpse of the would-be lovers whose identities
remain a mystery.
again!” the crowd shouts, all eager to get a photograph of the encounter.
The lovers however will not oblige and dance away through the crowd and
along the old flagstoned footpath leaving the admiring throng and the slowly
emptying piazza behind.
A wide range of original photographic essays are available for publication and are generally accompanied by a minimum of between 60-80 high quality images shot in high resolution 35mm digital format.
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Barrie Brown Photography
Copyright B. Brown 1999-. All images and text shown here are the exclusive property of Barrie Brown and may not be used, stored, reproduced or redistributed without the express written permission of Barrie Brown or his assigns.