Thriller set off the A12 in EAST LONDON
‘Dream of Venice’, plus QA with the editor
24th November 2017
Dream of Venice – photography by Charles Christopher, edited by JoAnn Locktov, foreward by Frances Mayes
“…a city frozen in time with its living identity kept secret and unseen by the casual visitor or tourist” Nicolas Roeg, film director.
An utterly sumptuous collection of photographs, each captioned with pertinent prose, each penned by a chosen contributor with anecdotes, extracts, poems and special pieces of prose. Several authors share extracts from their books set in Venice – David Hewson, Marina Fiorato and Patricia Highsmith – and author Frances Mayes (remember the wonderful book Under the Tuscan Sun?) shares her thoughts on the city.
It is hard to express the quality and diversity of images that are featured in this tome, taken by Charles Christopher, but it is safe to say that they all conjure up a fabulous feel for the city. I just wanted to go back myself and revisit some of the well known areas, but also soak up some of those little corners so beautifully and vividly portrayed in many of the images. With each image (and we feature below just a few of the photographic highlights to tempt you!) there is a piece of prose:
Julie Christie recalls her experience of the city when she was filming “Don’t Look Now” and talks about ominous light and shade and feeling anticipatory about what might be around the next corner. But, she says, it may well have had something to do with the theme of the film!
“Venice is a city of theatre, built for pageantry and high drama..” Hutton Wilkinson, Interior Designer
“Venice, the city where I seem never to know if I’m walking through the changing scenes of a play or the dreamlike slow motion of a film” Sylvia Sass, Operatic Soprano
There are insightful words from Peggy Guggenheim, Claire Bloom, Nicolas Roeg and so many more. The book feels like a personal exploration of the city, taking the reader away from the main sites and urging exploration of the nooks and crannies of this wonderful, wonderful city. Treat yourself to a copy, you won’t regret it – it will take you back if you have been and spur you to go and visit if you haven’t!
Tina for the TripFiction Team
And now over to JoAnn, who edited the book, for some personal insights:
TF: How did the idea to produce such a wonderful book originate and how did the team producing it come together?
JAL: I have shelves filled with books on Venice. Although with all the different ways that people have photographed the city, I felt Charles (who I met on Twitter!) revealed an intimacy that I had never seen before. I loved his work and we decided to compile a book matching his photos with contemporary voices.
TF: What is the process from start to finish of bringing a book like this to market and how long did that take?
JAL: In the past I had written two books with a traditional publisher. So, first we went that route. Absolutely not one publisher was interested in another book on Venice. It became clear that if the project was going to come to fruition, I would need to learn how to become a publisher. It has been a steep learning curve but one I am deeply grateful to have experienced. The book will be going into its third printing and has international distribution. I’ve had to learn about printers to permissions, and every single aspect of bringing a book to life. The process of this first book in the Dream of Venice series took about 4 years. Now I am publishing books at two year intervals.
TF: You have aligned apt pieces of prose with the photos, how did you go about approaching contributors – there are quite a few famous names there!
JAL: It was a remarkable experience, in the sense of how astonishingly generous our contributors were!
We first researched authors, poets and Venetophiles and then we simply asked if they would like to participate. We created a gallery of photographs, which we sent out with the request. Without fail, everyone who participated in the book loved the vision that Charles had captured with his camera.
TF: From each sale of the book, some of the proceeds go to Save Venice Inc. Can you tell us a little more how you came to co-operate with them?
JAL: From the beginning I had felt that to cherish a city meant to support a city, and that was the purpose of the book. One of the ways I could realize that was by donating a percentage of the book sales to a non-profit that existed for the purpose of strengthening Venice. Save Venice, Inc. is responsible for decades of significant restorations and I always think of them with gratitude for the work they’ve accomplished. We were very honored that Save Venice, Inc. agreed to be aligned with our book. They receive many requests for collaboration, and accept few.
TF: Venice is clearly in an extremely precarious situation. I wonder if there is anything the individual visitor can do to make a small contribution to safeguarding the future?
JAL: I’m so glad you asked this question! Venice is in an extremely precarious situation and as visitors we need to be aware of the city’s fragility. That means visiting in the off-season, participating in creative experiences to learn about the artistic and culinary heritage, frequenting Venetian owned establishments (whether that be shops or restaurants) and hiring licensed guides.
TF: Do you have any top tips for visitors to the city?
JAL: There are wonderful blogs written by Venetians to understand the rich legacy of Venetian food, history and culture through the past millennium. Here are a few that I personally recommend for restaurant ideas, activities, explorations in history and culture:
And look out for our competition coming up, where you will be able to enter to win a copy of this handsome book!
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For a literary trip around Venice, just access the collated books on the TripFiction database