Two Men and a Shadow, Campo Santo Stefano | Mark Lindsay

Venice is a place of shifting perspective. Nothing is fixed about the place, nothing is permanent. It changes and transforms with the crossing of every bridge and the winding of every alley. Crystalline sunshine turns to pearly fog in a moment. Shadows sneak along, tides flow in and then out. Low water becomes high and then low and then high again. Deserted streets jam up with crowds then become deserted once again. Tensions build and then relax. Pay attention in Venice! Things will surely change within moments.

One must be prepared to behold scenes that last minutes or seconds or even for the blink of an eye. There is a singular quality to each, they are as unique as snowflakes. Venice seems timeless but that is an illusion—it can lull you into a sleepy stupor. And then something happens that makes you gasp. If you are a photographer you must be ready for whatever presents itself for it will quickly disappear. If your camera is packed away you will most likely miss it.

I walk every morning at dawn while in Venice. It's the time when I can be alone with the city, before the hoards of day-trippers invade the place. My imagination is free to roam with my feet. I cross bridge after bridge and enter world upon world. I imagine the city before its islands had congealed into one. I see the remnants of dozens of these islands, each with their own community, each with a separate church and a communal field. Each had their own wells and water supplies. Each had prejudices and rivalries. You can see this at dawn.

On one day the sun was shining but the fog was near, rolling in from the plains of the Veneto. Lost in the past I looked over to the present and saw two men who were deep in conversation. The rich light moved as if it were a singular spotlight. And unbeknownst to the men they were lit by the sun with a deep shadow pointing right at them. They were center stage, the main characters of this corner of Venice. I gasped with secret delight as I lifted my camera silently to frame them. I had to capture this moment forever and to make it mine. I then carried it home and to relive it again and again.

This is my way of keeping Venice with me during the long periods when I must be away from it. It is my way of capturing a snowflake and then putting it in my freezer.