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Venice at Night

Omero

The island of San Giorgio Maggiore at 2 a.m.

Working largely at night, roaming near-empty streets until 4 or 5 a.m., he hit upon a seldom seen side of an overexposed cityscape. In odd corners and offhand moments, Venice sang a quieter tune after midnight—a dreamy, hypnotic counterpoint to the daytime crowds and clamor.

Just before midnight, a gondolier takes a break by the Rialto Bridge

“I love how night transforms this city,” says the Istanbul-born photographer, who shoots with film, using only ambient light. “I kept thinking back to Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, how light and color completely change the environment.”

“A flash,” he says, “would take away the romance of how people behave in that space”—and make private moments, like the gondolier savoring an unguarded interlude of calm, impossible to capture. We are all, Dukovic notes, different people in the dark.

A boy runs barefoot across the Piazza San Marco as rain and seawater flood the square

He found novel angles in daylight, too. When a rainstorm enveloped the city one afternoon, Dukovic hit the streets, pants rolled up and cameras in hand. (He favors “smaller, low-profile” models—a Nikon F100 and a Yashica T4 point-and-shoot—“so I can stay incognito.”)

A view across the Grand Canal to Punta della Dogana, through the rain-blurred window of a water taxi

Crossing the Grand Canal by water taxi, he caught this image through the boat’s rain-lashed window—a tableau that evokes not the sun-pierced clouds of the Rococo but the misty atmospherics of the Romantics—more Turner than Tiepolo. “What I love about Venice is how your eye level is so close to sea level, so you’re always looking upward, through the buildings to the sky,” Dukovic says. (That’s in contrast to Istanbul, he adds, where one generally looks down on the Bosphorus from above.)

Pigeons in the Piazza San Marco on one of Dukovic’s rare sunny days in Venice

Dukovic’s painterly style preserves the rich, moody chiaroscuro of those scenes.

Credit to: AD

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