Saturday, 12 November 2016

Colours calling through the fog

Buttercup, silver, chartreuse, plum, brick, teal, amethyst, sky. As the boat approached the island, the colours called through the fog to the fishermen. Each could see his own house, bright and distinct from a distance.

This is Burano, one of the northern islands of the Venetian lagoon, where the houses have been painted in these colours for centuries.

Visiting last week, I loved photographing the gorgeous weathered houses and boats. But I felt ambivalent about being a tourist here. The island is so small and densely packed that when we all got off the boat and started wandering round, we were clearly invading the home spaces of the inhabitants. I don't know if my own front windows and laundry would stand up well to a 100mm lens. Yet tourism is hugely important to the island's economy. I had a fabulous lunch of local seafood and a good chat with a couple of people working there who tried hard not to wince at my attempts at the subjunctive and were really welcoming.

I'll return, and maybe stay for a few days. Spend more money, talk to more people, eat more fish. You should go too - you'll love it....

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