Pigeon and the Salute, Venice, 2009
Most of my photography work this past week has been confined to resizing scans from negatives for posting on my new website. I allowed myself to leave my computer yesterday, when I drove to Pennsylvania and back to visit a photography dealer friend to see a bunch of his latest acquisitions plus other photos of interest. I liked a lot of them so who knows – maybe I’ll buy one of them one day.
For now, though, trying to save money and work on the new website has priority. The negatives that I’ve scanned recently have been those that I’ve printed as fiber prints, the great majority of them being printed in 2003 or earlier. While I may have stopped printing for half a dozen years, I didn’t stop taking photos, so I’ve also got a lot of unprinted photos to post on the new site, too.
The photo at the top is one of those. Made during my trip to Venice, Italy, last year, it shows a silhouetted pigeon with the domes of the famous church, Santa Maria della Salute, in the background on the left.
This photo reminds me a little of the famous photo, “Fondamenta Nuove, Venice, 1959,” by the late, great French photographer Willy Ronis (also seen here) as both show a silhouetted figure together with some more normally exposed content.
Getting back to my photo, this photo was definitely not a grab-shot. I saw the structure that the pigeon was walking on, together with the church in the background. I knew that I wanted to get the pigeon as a silhouette (perhaps with the Ronis photo in mind), but it had to be a full body profile, at the right spot and facing to the right to complete the composition I was thinking of.
As you can imagine, a pigeon is hardly the kind of creature to do exactly what a photographer wishes, so I stood there for several minutes, camera at the ready, waiting for the pigeon to move the right way. I think I’d thought of giving up and moving on when it didn’t happen, but I felt that the resulting image I had in mind would be worth waiting a bit longer for.
So I did, and so did the bird eventually move into the place I had hoped for, facing the right way. I don’t think it stayed that way for long, but all it took was one push of the button atop the camera. Then the wait was worth it.