A black and white image of two gondoliers in a gondola of people rowing against a backdrop of Venice buildings

Earlier in the year we launched a call out to our Redeye Members for the opportunity to be interviewed about either their photographic practice or a body of work. These interviews have formed a short series of blog posts called ‘Method of Making’. Discover details about the photographers’ processes, ideas and intentions – have a read through to get inspired!

Next, we have Ann Hutchinson discussing her finished body of work: Venetian Reflections: Water and Oar.

Redeye: Why did you make this body of work?

Ann: It all started on my first visit to Venice when I went across the Grand Canal on a traghetto; a wooden boat rowed by two gondoliers. The journey only took two minutes but I was immediately captivated! As I wandered around Venice that day I noticed two gondoliers sweeping up their area by the canal and it got me thinking about all the activities that must go on every day. From that visit onwards, I began to focus on gondoliers as Venetian people working in a traditional way. 

Redeye: What was your biggest inspiration for this work?

Ann: My biggest inspirations are Stefano, a gondolier, and Saverio and Piero who are traditional craftsmen. 

Over several visits to Venice I got to know some gondoliers, including Stefano, and found out more about the many aspects of their work. I also visited Saverio and Piero at their workshop and from our conversations I came to understand how important the craftspeople who make and repair gondolas, oars and oarlocks are in keeping the tradition of rowing alive. 

Redeye: Are there any environmental or sustainable factors you considered when making this work?

Ann: I came to see that rowing wooden craft is a sustainable way to travel around Venice and that there are many Venetians championing this method of travel. It also causes less environmental damage than faster motorised boats, whose waves gradually wear away at the buildings on the sides of canals. 

In terms of the impact of my own travel, I decided to travel by train to Venice, rather than flying. 

Redeye: What was your most difficult challenge whilst making the work?

Ann: Mostly the abundance of walking around Venice that it involved, often in the heat, however even that wasn’t very challenging because there were wonderful places to stop for a bite to eat or a spritz on the way!

Redeye: What are you most proud of in making this work?

Ann: That Venetian people I know have said that it shows Venice authentically and that it draws attention to the people of Venice who live and work there.

Redeye: Did you make this work with somewhere in mind for it to live once it’s been completed? 

Ann: Recently, I have had the chance to exhibit my photographs at the gallery of the University of Hull, which was a great opportunity to showcase all my work together. I also took part in a collective exhibition at Kunst Depot in Venice and I was so happy that a number of my Venetian friends came along; including Stefano and his wife. And at this exhibition, I met Chris Kraniotis, a photographer from Greece who has invited me to do an artist residency and exhibition at his art school next year! I can’t wait!

And in the long run, I hope to be able to make this work into a beautiful book with an Italian publisher. 

Photo credit: Ann at the collective exhibition at Kunst Depot in Venice, photo credit to Leo Mincolelli

You can find out more about the other organisations linked to Ann’s work below:
https://www.hull.ac.uk/choose-hull/study-at-hull/library/gallery/art-gallery (Ann’s work was showcased in their ‘exhibition space’ next to the ‘Art Gallery’).


You can find out more about Ann and her work below:
Redeye Portfolio
Ann’s exhibition at the University of Hull (archived Redeye website exhibition feature)
Ann’s Instagram account

Photo credit: A traghetto, Ann Hutchinson

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