The truth will only begin to emerge from the moment that the writer takes two different objects […] and encloses them within the circle of fine style […] unites them in a metaphor.
Time Regained, Marcel Proust
The COVID-19 lockdowns closed the external world and opened the inner world. I had to pause commercial projects and I was able to go ahead with my contemplative photography. Amid self-reflection, I was playing photography solitaire — black on white, stone on water, despair on hope. This is my poem about deserted, nude, but always beautiful and strong-willed Venice.
On the surface, this is about the city, but if we look a little deeper, it is about a reader or a viewer. The protagonist of Marcel Proust’s novel Time Regained immerses himself in his life memories through external images and objects. Similarly, in finding metaphors through photographs, viewers immerse themselves in their own reflections. The photographs are placed in a certain order like one thought leads to another.
Yes, we were stopped. However, the time wasn’t lost — it was regained. Flooding amid climate change and environmental challenges are the most important issues for Venice. During the COVID period, the city showed significant progress. In 2020, Venice was able to block floodwater thanks to the activation of its long-awaited flood barriers MoSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico). Venice’s ban on cruise ships was put in place and it could be a vital step toward saving the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem. The city’s new visitor tracking system could help create more sustainable tourism. All of these were done by people, and in turn, nature reacted. The series begins with the photograph Recovery, which is very symbolic and important. I had worked in Venice for many years and had never seen fish there. One day, between the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2021, running past the Bacino Orseolo Gondola Station, located just behind St. Mark’s Square, I could not believe my eyes — the fish had returned to the city and there were more of them than gondolas.
Lost Time or Regained is a personal choice that extends beyond the lockdowns.