Venice, through the eyes of a Writer
Until you meet again…
How can an experience be summarized in a single medium? Whether it is the typewriter of Ernest Hemingway or the camera of Robert Capa…the feel of a city like Venice is difficult to capture in one medium. No one has done it “best.” Writers and photographers constantly look to each other for inspiration, even if they are not willing to admit it. Why don’t they admit it? Because inside of every image or every sentence lies a strength and a weakness. There are some mediums that work better than others, but the balance of writing and photography is a scale that tips back and forth everyday.
Today, we will shift gears slightly and follow a writer’s experience of Venice. Over the last two years, I have followed the musings of Mirsada Hadzic on Facebook and Instagram. Through her words and small shots of Venice, she captures a sense of the city that is undeniable. Aside from the regular heavy hitters of literature that have worked their way through Venice, I enjoy the delicate way that Mirsada responds to the city on a level that shows her ability to feel out the details and get a sense of place that many photographers struggle to achieve. Hopefully this detour into the “World of Words” guides us one step closer to the moments that make a trip feel so intense. Because there is nothing more reassuring than reading the words of a perfect stranger who is saying exactly what you feel. Join me in welcoming the very shy and wonderfully talented Mirsada as she gives us a glimpse of her private love affair with Venice.
Until you meet again
It’s like the poet once said:“Only the images have long memory. Words tend to change their order.” All my attempts to write about Venice were futile. Images spoke louder. But when it comes to love, you need them both. Words and images. Falling in love with Venice changed my life. It changed me on a molecular level. Mixed my blood with sea water and my bones with stone and wood. Filled my eyes with liquid light. Something waited for me there. It summoned me. Hidden in a secret Morse code of words. Disguised in books. Present in a taste of wine. It’s impossible to explain love.
That is not a question of reason, but of heart. And the heart is stubborn and quiet when you need it to speak its mind. Still, it has one capital weakness, and that’s beauty. Beauty of a darkening sky, silver water, silent walls, secret gardens…Venice is a mystery. No matter how close you get it doesn’t reveal anything…at first. But, then, slowly, you find its traces in a winter sky, on the bottom of a wine glass, in the verse of a poem…rhymes of an hour. And then you want to see it again. You missed something that first time, and now you’ll listen more carefully; walk slowly, talk quietly and it won’t slip away. But it does. It’s in her nature to allure and seduce…but to remain a closed book. It’s almost impossible not to come back.
We were never strangers, Venice and I. I guess I’ve been there before. With Corto Maltese, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Marco Polo. I learned from them. How to listen, where to look, how to drink…They just couldn’t teach me how not to miss it once I left. And all the time I spent there all I wanted to do was to keep the streets empty for myself. I wanted to see its beauty without witnesses. I thought of Corto Maltese who travelled the world but always kept coming back to Venice. His sadness walked the streets by my side. Beautiful sadness. It remained in the corner of my eye. Never quite visible, but present. I saw its glimpse on the smooth black surface of a gondola passing by under the stone bridge. One blink of an eye and it’s gone. Gondola on its way to sleep. But not the sadness. She remains awake.
And a story of bridges…their impossible beauty. The way they take you deeper and deeper, across the streets covered with stone. And you wonder how it’s even possible that it’s still there. Against the laws of physics. Drowned world. Prisoner of water, but still a mistress. Equal to the sun. Made of illusions, dreams, sea water, stone, wood, words, lace…and like all beautiful things it can’t be defined. Once you walk into a secret, you can’t ever escape its magic. Lullaby of chandeliers behind iron gates and silver windows. Quiet lives of strangers. Nocturnal beauty of a moment of surrender. And you know you’ll wait. Until you meet again.
If you would like to follow more of Mirsada’s moments in Venice, find here Instagram feed here: