I must say that I really enjoy Venice, Italy. Even at its most squashed (crowds!) it still remains an oasis of calm and serenity – it is why it still retains the most sublime of monnikers – “La Serenissima”.
In the weeks leading up to Lent – and since its re-inception in 1978 – the Carnival of Venice is the fun place to be! Bon vivants, dilettants, exhibitionists and extroverts, would-be fops – every fantasy-in-costume catered for – Vampire; Steampunk; Sci-fi; Barnum & Bailey; Plague Doctors; Harlequins and Harlots – you name it, someone’s dressing the part!
Most are happy to be stopped in their tracks by a complete (but totally charming) stranger, and will pose gracefully whilst you make the best shots you can. At night, along the gaily-lit arcades of San Marco, the cassette-like rooms thru the windows of Café Florian present a remarkable opportunity to capture – en-tableau – parties of outrageously bedecked ‘cosplayers’ drinking hot chocolate, so typical of Carnival time in Venice.
Crowding the exit door at Florian, myriad photographers assemble. Many who leave Florian are excited by the prospect of being photographed; some might have imbibed alcoholic libation, and I was wary that they might not be best pleased that I was ‘waving a lens in their face!!!’ The cassette photographs were wonderfully redolent of Alice in Wonderland…
Veneziana d’Oro II blu © Jack Torcello
This captivating scene was just north west of Florian, pass along the arcade as if heading for Accademia, and the first calle to the left ends in this attractive small dock, where I found this red-headed beauty posing for another photographer. As he changed his settings on his camera, I ‘borrowed’ a few shots! She is stunning, I think you will agree?
Mr Harlequin © Jack Torcello
Almost the second I stopped and looked to my camera, Harlequin immersed himself in his role. It is the readiness of so many ‘cosplayers’ without complication or complaint, which makes photographing the Carnival as fun as it is to be photographed!
Maelle III © Jack Torcello
At the Ponte di Sorrisi (Bridge of Sighs) this outstanding ‘copslayer’ very generously posed and modelled to please almost every whim. We photographers perhaps forget just how tiring all this freely-given energy and time exhausts the model beneath the mask (whom we never really get to know!), but I am grateful that so many gave of themselves so freely. Merci! Bedankt! Danke! Grazie!
Veneziana d’Oro I © Jack Torcello
One of the Carnival of 2017’s best-dressed models, I call her Golden Venice – a stunning shock of red hair afloat a sea of green skirts and bustles. A true goddess in the best sense of Carnival!
The Blue Magus © Jack Torcello
To be fair, most cosplayers arrive as couples. But where single cosplayers are to be found, it is almost always a woman – the ratio of single cosplayers being about 5 women to every 1 man. I guess ever since the 17th Century – when men dressing-up was de rigeur – that women have had that field to play all for themselves!
Madonna della Florian © Jack Torcello
This serene beauty was a success story at the exit door of Florian. On seeing me raise my camera, she presented her best Carnival face – an example of grace and beauty to please any heart!
A Dream in Red © Jack Torcello
She captured my heart! Along the beautifully lit Arcades at San Marco, this demure beauty posed for me in all her finery.
Bella Rossa © Jack Torcello
Red and black was a strong theme at this year’s Carnival, 2017. This lady reminds me of the traditional costumes to be found in Wales, and a very attractive figure she makes.
Maelle II © Jack Torcello
One more from The Bridge of Sighs. A very high standard of costume – not every costume is made with such care – as the copious amounts of rayon and polyester efforts are testimony to!
Regina di Giale© Jack Torcello
Most of the costumes at the Carnival were extraordinarily flamboyant, balanced in their flamboyance by a demure colour-scheme. This lady however is shouting it from the rooftops in her daffodil yellow regalia – why I named her the Yellow Queen! Brave.
Che bellezza!© Jack Torcello
Another person so ready to slip into character as soon as you raise your camera. And how stunningly beautiful she looks! In fact, so impressed was I that I did several different versions of her beauty – the Black and White Sketch effect, and the Gray and Black Effect… see below
Che bellezza! BW Sketch© Jack Torcello
Che Bellezza! Gray Effect© Jack Torcello
Zanni © Jack Torcello
…after so much beauty, a little bit of the beast!
Maelle I © Jack Torcello
This one is so good, it hangs on the wall in my home. Maelle, Che bellezza! and Veneziana d’Oro are probably my three main muses for 2017. Let me add another version of d’Oro before I go…
Veneziana d’Oro I © Jack Torcello
And some from my earlier vist in 2016…
Signor e Signora Cervo © Jack Torcello
The Peach Madonna © Jack Torcello
Black & Gold © Jack Torcello
Burgundy in Venice © Jack Torcello