I love so many things about Venice. The city is a constantly unfolding visual feast. It’s a city that never stops giving even though she will never reveal all of her mysteries. Most visitors are dazzled by the sites in this magnificent city. I’m enthralled with the grout of Venice, the working man. Put another way, the working man is the connective tissue that keeps this city afloat and functioning.

The working woman, too, is part of the grout of Venice.  To give her equal tribute, I am working on a separate photo essay (stay tuned).

The working man in Venice is always battling the elements.

Venice is forever shifting and settling. Perfect right angles and straight lines are an impossibility. Imagine keeping a city going that exchanges boats far cars and trucks. Imagine dealing with the corrosive and rotting effects of so much moisture. Imagine coping with the acqua alta, the high waters. And then there is doing one’s job while dodging throngs of tourists. The working man in Venice must cope with it all.

These seven images capture only a snippet of the life of the working man.

The photo above is my favorite. For me, it communicates intensity and focus on one’s job. There’s weather on this fella’s face. I’d wager you wouldn’t get any pretense from this guy.

working man, Italywise

Supreme Care – ©2017 Jed Smith

The working man is also a guardian of Venice’s treasures.

I captured this image while camped out at the end of a small alley. I had a quiet, unobstructed seat. I waited to see what would pass by. Not five minutes later, the boat above passed by. Clearly, its treasured passenger was this beautiful artifact. Is it a column base or capital? Regardless, this was a hands-on, special transport.

working man, Italywise

Trash Pickup – © 2017 Jed Smith

Trash collection is a big deal.

My heart goes out to the guys who keep Venice clean. It’s a hot potato of a topic these days, particularly with residents who take pride in their city and are in anguish at the lack of respect shown by a large number of tourists. I’ve wandered the streets of Venice enough to see plenty of “trashy” behavior from foreigners. The trash collectors deserve a special call-out in my book.

working man, Italywise

Street Sweeper – © 2017 Jed Smith

This working man still uses a good, old-fashioned handmade broom

I love the juxtaposition of the old and new in this photo. Look closely and you’ll see that this guy has his ear buds in place and is probably rockin’ his way through his day and using his handmade broom when needed.

working man, Italywise

Passing By – ©2017 Jed Smith

And crews heading out for a group project…

These guys are bundled up in anticipation of “whatever”.

working man, Italywise

Waiting – © 2107 Jed Smith

The Venice working man must have loads of patience.

I dare say very little is accomplished here without waiting. How can anything happen in a “straight line” of progress when considering the challenges and complexities of Venice. In this image, one man is utilizing the pause to check or send messages. They’re both waiting for yet another bucket of debris to be lowered from the building above.

working man, Italywise

In Motion – ©2017 Jed Smith

Some labor clearly is back-breaking.

I’ve saved my other favorite image for last. Here is a man transferring heavy bags of concrete. Believe me, by the time I’d captured this image, he’d picked off at least a dozen other bags. He had to dodge people passing by in order to do his job.

And so, my friends, that is my brief photograph tribute to the working man of Venice. I thrive on giving myself these kinds of assignments and creating corresponding mini galleries. I hope you enjoy!