TWO GIRLS WEARING MASKS, VENICE ITALY: I was in St. Mark’s Square enjoying a beautiful summer day, admiring the shop windows. Murano glass, Italian leather and of course myriad Venetian masks fill so many shop windows in Venice. These two little girls were proud of their new masks and paused for a quick photo. I was struck by their pose and had just enough time to shoot two frames. It’s funny, one can wander for hours looking for a ‘perfect’ shot that might never come. Then, out of the blue, a beautiful scene assembles and disassembles, in mere seconds, right before your eyes. The long focal length and low light result in some motion, but in this case I think it only adds a dreamy quality to the photograph. Here’s a link to another of my favourite mask photos. And here’s a link to an excellent Venetian Mask Shop and more information about the history of Venetian masks.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm at 210mm, 1/60 sec. f9, ISO 1250. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
VENETIAN MASK, VENICE, ITALY: Venetian masks are steeped in lore. I just thought they were for parties, but boy, was I wrong. Having done some extensive research on masks (Google!), I frankly don’t know fact from fiction. As I understand it, the masks got their start in Venice (brilliant) in the 11th century AD. In the crowded city-state they were a convenient disguise to conduct both lawful and unlawful business. As a large part of the population came to habitually wear masks, they were also used to conceal identities for carnal pursuits— notably prostitution and homosexual sex. The influence of the church restrained the use of masks— including bans during holy days. Gradually, they became more acceptable and the church allowed them to be worn between Christmas and Shrove Tuesday. Apparently, this pre-lent period became “Carnevale” or “remove meat.” Make sense? I don’t know either. All I know is everywhere one goes in Venice, the fancy masks are for sale, from just a couple of Euros to many hundreds. If you like this photo, please see my “Two girls wearing Venetian masks.” Here’s a link to a Venetian Mask Shop and more information about their history. Shot handheld with a Nikon S7000, 1/160 sec. f.2.8, 37mm, ISO 64. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon