As he was putting the last touches on his black-and-white series « Water and Stone : Photographs of Venice 2008–2020 », the idea of no longer traveling to Venice seemed inconceivable to Ecuadorian photographer Alejandro Merizalde. He had to find a way to go back. Among his archives, a handful of photographs of Venetian churches did not fit into his initial project. He had two things in mind: to return to Venice in order to photograph as many churches as possible and to keep in mind the idea of repetition throughout the development of this new series.
“The challenges were many — narrow streets leaving no room to capture the façade (…), street corners surrounded by water, or churches floating on the Lagoon with nowhere to set up a tripod.” From the Gothic architecture of the city’s largest church, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, to the masterpiece, San Giorgio Maggiore by Italian Renaissance architect Palladio, to the sobriety and authenticity of the church of St. Job, the photographer showcases the facades of over one hundred handpicked Venetian churches in his book 100 Churches of Venice and the Lagoon.
“Dealing with repetition was more of a mental state. Initially, I thought that some of these churches were too alike, even in the name, and that I should eliminate similarity in favor of variety. But over time, I realized that it was precisely this subtle monotony that gave my project weight and artistic nourishment. The churches in this book are those that resonate with me the most — including some that are no longer in use or have been deconsecrated as well as those of the greatest importance in Venetian history. Many others had to remain tucked away in my archives.” Shot in a square format and mostly at dawn, Alejandro Merizalde’s images show a silent Venice, emptied of inhabitants and as if in hanging onto the sound of the church bells.
Alejandro Merizalde, 100 Churches of Venice, Damiani, 112 pp., € 68.