Burano Island, Venice, Italy by Michael Blanchette

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Picture Story

I normally prefer photographing grand landscapes, but there are some exceptions in my portfolio. Among those exceptions are colorful windows, doors, and building facades. And few places in the world have building facades as colorful as those found on Burano, an island known for its brightly colored fishermen's houses located in the Northern Venetian Lagoon. The city is also built along canals, adding endless opportunities for colorful reflections in the calm waters of the channels. For these reasons, international magazines often include Burano among the top 10 most colorful cities in the world.

I had the pleasure of spending a few days in and around Venice upon my return from a glorious photography trip to the Dolomites a few years ago. Two photographer friends and I agreed to spend a full day photographing the colorful houses on Burano. So, we took the 45-minute water taxi from Venice early one morning, and stayed on the island until after dusk that evening. We spent most of the day walking along the snaking canals, photographing our way around Burano. Since it was a sunny day, we made sure to always photograph the shaded side of the canal to avoid overexposure issues.

I took this photo from across one of the canals, attracted by the myriad of colors in the scene. And for something a bit different, I included only the reflection. Reminiscent of the story, “Through the Looking Glass”, the sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, the entire scene looks upside down. At the top of the frame is a colorful rowboat with swatches of yellow, red, and green paint. And the upside-down yellow, orange, and pink houses feature window boxes and shutters of various colors. The slight motion of the water also adds a fantasy feel to the scene, distorting the subjects like a fun house mirror. I look forward to returning to Burano in the future.

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