Venice, Italy is a haunting, surreal and mysterious place with a storied past. Its seemingly endless maze of passageways and canals have fascinated me since I was a child. And while most people visit Venice and see only its overwhelming beauty, I see a dark and sadder side as well. I see a city clinging to a bygone era and splendor and I see a Venetian way of life that is rapidly changing while its foundations are eroding. For me, the city is also haunted with memories of my childhood and the loss of my father. Lost Venice is a project about the fragility and impermanence of things.
I chose Venice because of my long history with the city – one that began when I was four years old in Boston, Massachusetts, and my family moved to a replica of a Venetian Palace – the Gardner Museum. We lived in the Director’s apartment above the museum for most of my childhood and we traveled to Venice often for my father’s work. One night, I was there photographing in the fog and I saw a man that looked just like him walking over a bridge and I felt as if I’d seen a ghost. The sadness in these photographs is about death of my father, who died suddenly when I was 25, and it is also the loss of my childhood home, that Venetian Palace.
By Sarah Hadley