Bypassing the Icons

The last couple times I wrote about taking advantage of iconic images to recall travel experiences. But sometimes I have to break away from the expected and depict images from a less common perspective.

Standing Sentinel

The fact is that, though I have been to Venice numerous times and have depicted that city by using images of the boats encountered throughout its canals, I have never actually taken that quintessential gondola ride myself. So to retell my own travel tales, I often seek out less-anticipated images.

In Venice, these include the buildings, eroded by the ever-present effects of sea water; working boats in all their various forms; statuary, bold and bare in the open campos, or moss-covered in shaded seclusion; leashed pets who are sure this island domain is theirs and theirs alone; bridges that arch and turn, leading usually from via to via, but sometimes into a private door or window; and people who look comfortably “at home” … or out of place. The unexpected can be enlightening.

Icons do have their place, by bringing to mind a general recollection of a city. But non-iconic images relate specific experiences unique to my own travels. They speak to other viewers, as well, who want to remember … or imagine … more than the sights and experiences common to the everyday tourist.

In a shady memorial park in Venice, the lady depicted above in “Standing Sentinel” (#110706) has stood watch, season upon season, through unnumbered generations. Her moss-cloaked form blends with the foliage surrounding her until she has become a part of the land herself. I discovered her one day when exploring some of the less traveled byways of the city. Since then, she and the memorial park are on our must-do list whenever we visit Venice.

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