Student photographer Dominic Clark revisits and retells his visit to Ghetto Nuevo, Venezia with his LOMO LC-A! His vibrant images of the infamous ghetto is now on exhibit in Lincoln Universities, as well as being featured in Source magazines graduate exhibition website.
In 2009, the start of my 3rd year of university, I had the opportunity to visit Venice to see the Biennale. To see such a huge exhibit of art in one of the worlds most unique cities made for a very inspiring environment; one which was begging to be documented.
Of course I’d be taking my Holga but I wanted to shoot something specific on this trip and make it truly memorable, something more than the usual snap shots. I wanted to dig deeper and possibly get a deeper understanding of Venice.
I had also at my disposal, a Nikon F100 and a Canon 5D but when packing my bag I found myself hesitant taking these. From what I researched, I found out that not far our hotel was an old Jewish ghetto that was apparently the hub of Jewish oppression during the 15th century. Not only that but this was THE ghetto, the ghetto that coined the term ghetto. And was still a hub of Jewish activity. For this reason it seemed to me, to be patronizing to document this landscape with these cameras. As if the city would speak back saying “another documentary photographer, what else is new?”. Taking my LOMO LC-A instead brought something new to the mix.
We only had 4 days in Venice and the Biennale took up a lot of time, leaving me less and less of a chance to shoot. Eventually on the last day I got my chance to visit the area and I was not disappointed. When you first walk into the main square it looks pristine and quaint like nothing had ever happened, there were kosher cafes everywhere and beautiful orthodox bookshops. These were a treat to photograph as there couldn’t have been a greater juxtaposition of culture. Echoes of the long gone depression were evident throughout. But things got even more interesting when we wandered down a back street. Decrepit buildings and broken doors. It was like these areas were in a bubble and had been forgotten whilst only one street away there was the hustle and bustle of Venice.
With only a short time before we left I shot as much and as quickly as I could of these bleak streets and alleys. The images I got were both haunting and magnificent. Combining this sensitive subject with the energy of the LC-A created a vibrant portrait of the area whilst retaining all the delicate eeriness that such an environment evokes. Up until now I had seen the camera as flippant and more of a social tool but here on these streets it got a new lease of life. Infusing passion, motion and energy in these strange alleyways.
When I introduced the project to tutors, before we left, there intrigue was abruptly halted when I pulled my LC-A out of my bag. It was the project they were interested in but the means of which I was realizing it was a subject of some contention between us. We were all surprised when I got my contact sheets back and saw what I had managed to capture.
The project, which has formed part of my 3rd year degree show, will be hanging in Lincoln Universities, Thomas Parker House from the 4th June as well as being featured in Source magazines graduate exhibition website.
4th June 2010 Opening Night
Thomas Parker House, Lincoln University, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
Doors open 7.30pm
Video screening 8.30pm
The show will run for 2 weeks after the opening night