Stage Lights for a City

This week’s theme – “Illumination” – gave me the opportunity to take a quick astral trip to Venice for a bit of a change (from Paradise and Christmas – I never manage to capture New Years’ fireworks) and to wander in memory across the Accademia Bridge at dusk, just as the lights begin to hold their own in the gathering dark.

Just as the lights come on

One night some years ago, I loitered with others at the foot of the stairs where three young buskers had  turned the square into a moodily lit stage, entrancing us with dreamy harp-led renditions of Venetian mediaeval classics.  After some time the harp began to sing alone.  Spare, slightly disjointed notes became almost perceptible phrases, then a rhythm emerged and all of a sudden my heart began to sing along, joyfully accompanying the most witty rendition of Waltzing Matilda I’ve ever heard.

In those few charmed minutes, this boy, with his harp and his cocky homesick anthem, transported me to another time – a time of romance and mystery, when minstrels roamed from city to city, chancing their luck and reputation on matching the mood to a tune …

I tried to imagine how it was for him, just about broke, busking in Venice – vying for high-traffic sites with the rip-off handbag sellers and other modern-day drifters.   Realising his allotted time was over, I wandered across the stage as nonchalantly as I could and said a quiet “thanks mate”, placing the contents of my purse in his hand.

Hoping he and his new friends would have a bang up meal before sleeping in a warm safe place that night, I continued on my way – to set up the tripod and capture a Venetian street light.


On the way home, in the deep of night, the dark seemed to eat the scant remaining illumination, turning the city once again into its real self – a place of unfamiliar smells and noises, of dark corners and fleeing shadows, of mysteries and stories too subtle, and too outrageous, for a mere camera to capture.

53 thoughts on “Stage Lights for a City

  1. Great shots and loved the story. I bet that Aussie loved your contribution, but more than the money it would be the appreciation you showed by listening to his music

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge-Illumination « KnowledgeKnut

  3. Hi,
    Beautiful street lighting, and great photos.
    Who would of thought you would here Waltzing Matilda in Venice played on a harp, that is just mind blowing. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination (2) « What's (in) the picture?

  5. Such a wonderful moment in a magical place. There truly is no place on earth like Venice and your pictures do it justice. Thanks for sharing both, your harpist and photos, with us.

    • You’re right – there’s absolutely no place like Venice and I’ll take up any pretext for a visit – virtual or real. I was bewitched by a water sprite, don’t you know, and must respond immediately when summoned … 🙂

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  7. Lovely pix and great interpretation of the illumination theme. Isn’t your first pic similar to the one we’ve both posted before the grand canal? [Don’t hold me to that, but it did look famliar except with different lighting]

  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge Lights | Weekly Photo Challenge

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  10. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenga: Illumination (3) « What's (in) the picture?

  11. Spiralling downwards, so funny to see Viv’s message. For an excited second I thought you were going to be there too, Meredith. Possibility of a cream tea at the Farm Shop? And a visit to Northumberlandia. Can’t compare to Venice, I know. And I love your first and last shots. So wonderfully atmospheric.

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