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“The Postcards from Italy” series

Wave in Venice, Punta della Dogana,Venice, Italy. 2024

From 1786 to 1788, Goethe embarked on his grand tour of Italy in search of personal transformation. My first trip to Italy began more prosaically when one day I walked into an antique bookstore. After my eyes had grown accustomed to the dark, and dusty atmosphere of the shop, they were drawn to a box of antique postcards, many of which were filled with images of Italy from as early as the 1920s. The postcards capture details of the personal lives of people traveling through Italy.

I struck a bargain with the owner to buy a box. She wrapped it up in old newsprint and tied it with a pink ribbon, the classic way to carry the world. Thus, the Postcards from Italy began.

Roman Forum. Rome, Italy. 2023

“My Grand Tour” served as a rite of passage, a time- and space-distant photographic “correspondence” with myself and others, and an exploration of the powers of imagination.

Europe seems to be created to see, learn, and admire, whereas Italy is meant to live. This series is about my love for this country, about Venice and its canals, about the regal cold of the Uffizi, the heat of Settignano’s plain country roads, and the cool fogs of wintry Piedmont.

Crowds in Rome, Italy. 2024

Every time darkness sets in Venice, the notion of the majectic place beyond the tranquil waters and haze awakens with special powers. Amidst the lights and people traffic of the Piazza, it comes suddenly and takes you far away, so far that the chatter and laughter of the idle crowd sound like the faint murmur of a distant sea. There is usually an abundance of people in this gathering who have only recently arrived and are experiencing the same fragmentary dream. The light of a smile in their gazes reveals liberated spirits, those who have previously felt the power of the Lethean waters.

Although all the images were photographed in various regions of Italy, instead of a travelogue, they serve as a metaphor and capture the minutiae of personal reflections on the fate of human culture, an inquisition into dreams and reality, and the elusive nature of storytelling itself for those who are passionate about things great and small, that is Italy.

Three hands. Italy. 2024
The Path. Boboli gardens. Florence, Italy. 2023
Aloe vera. Ventimilian, Italy. 2023
Grand canal. Venice, Italy. 2023
Basilica San Marco. Tourists. Venice, Italy. 2024
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Marina Black

Marina Black is a visual artist who works in photography. She originally studied history and painting; while her interest in either hasn't diminished, it… More »

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