Faces of the Venice Fish Market

Octopus, Italywise

Piovra – © Jed Smith 2017


Last Thursday we packed a small overnight bag, and took the twenty-five minute train ride from Treviso to Venice’s Santa Lucia train station. We’d found a great last minute deal at the Palazzetto Madonna, a fairly new four-star hotel in San Polo.  We found it on hotels.com, our new favorite source for accommodations worldwide. I’d been wanting, for several weeks, to give myself a photo assignment at Venice’s fish market, called La Pescheria di Rialto since it’s at the northwest corner of the Rialto bridge.

Faces richly etched with character abound at the Venice fish market.

As I write this, I realize what an understatement it is. I hit the jackpot of photo opps. I hope you’ll agree as you see just four of my favorite images taken during this recent excursion.

Simone and I were out of bed before sunrise, and it was pretty damn cold. But, it promised to be a clear day, and an ideal setting for early morning light. When we arrived around 7:15 a.m. the market was pretty sparsely populated – save a few well-bundled customers determined to beat out other customers for the best the fish the market had to offer. The offerings were beautiful and plentiful. Simone, who is an accomplished chef when it comes to choosing and cooking seafood, remarked several times that the quality and prices were hard to beat.

Scampi, Italywise

Scampi – © Jed Smith 2017

And, lucky me, I was invited behind the counter.

The guys who work at the fish market are no strangers to cameras and photographers (amateurs and professionals) lurking behind every corner. They’re relaxed, and they’re definitely not shy.

The Friday morning light had just come up enough for me to begin working with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens. It was paired with my Canon 5d Mark III body. This is a great combo in lower light, though I had to crank up the ISO a bit. When I whip out this sizable lens, it’s hard not to be noticed. When I started shooting (mostly from the shadows) the gentlemen above in Scampi approached me, asked me if I spoke Italian, and then invited me behind the counter to capture them, more intimately, hard at work. There were several men at this particular counter, and they couldn’t have been more accommodating.

Fresh fish, Italywise

Pesce Fresche – © Jed Smith 2017

As the morning progressed, and as I wondered around, exploring the plentiful angles and different stories unfolding, several other people materialized with their cameras. Watching how everyone worked, and what they zeroed in on was fascinating. The funniest thing, to me, was how each person quickly would size-up one each other’s equipment. And, several times, after I had framed up a shot, taken several images, and then moved away, someone else would step into “my” spot to see what I might have been seeing. I can’t say I blame them, because I’d probably do the same. Ultimately, everyone is attracted to something different, and that’s when I get really excited – seeing how different eyes experience the same scene.

One of these days I’d love to host a small photo workshop…

I’d love to head out, with four or five people, and spend a day in Venice experiencing three or four distinctly different areas – starting the with fish market. Hmmm….something to think about. Let me know if any of you think it’s a good idea, and maybe I’ll put something together!

Well, that’s the story for this week’s post. I hope you’ve enjoyed stepping behind my camera with me and seeing the scenes and faces that speak to me!

Morning Cigarette, Italywise

Morning Cigarette – © Jed Smith 2017

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