Book: Monumental Venice, Photographer Jacques Boulay
Some good reasons to buy an actual book rather than an electronic book.
Unlike some of my friends (you know who you are) I am open minded about electronic format books. But sometimes publishers send me a printed-on-paper book that just makes my jaw drop in wonder! For all the convenience of e-readers, sometimes you want a book that is a work of art. And I was fortunate to get my hands on several of those this year thanks to generous publishers.
Much later in the year, I was offered an e-version of Timbuctoo, Tahir Shah’s historic portrait of the London explorers of the Golden Age of Exploration and their fixation on the nearly mythical Timbuctoo (now Timbuktu). Because the description of the book said that maps were included, I opted for the book version, and what an extravaganza it is! Heavy padded leather-like cover with gold-embossed lettering. Detailed maps of London during the 19th century. Heavy paper and beautiful type.
Things just kept getting better when Vendome Press contacted me about some photo books they were publishing at the end of 2012. Since the Mayan end-of-calendar–or end-or-days discussion depending how scientific you were– was heating up, I asked them to send the book, Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya. Check out my review. Some of the pages unfolded to reveal a photograph four pages wide And since the pages are 11 x 9 inches that is a very wide photo indeed.
Now we come to the book that totally floored me. The Best of the Best. Even bigger than Royal Cities, also from Vendome Press, Monumental Venice displays the iconic city with no pretense of everyday life. These are absolutely still, empty plazas, buildings, and canals showing the beauty of the structures beneath the everyday hustle that annoyed me so when I was in Venice. Photographer Jacques Boulay truly shows us the serenity of La Serenissima.
Boulay captures images with arrangement and color as carefully planned as an oil painting. The book is enormous–each page 12″ x 18″– and again, there are gatefolds, which means that some pictures unfold to an astounding width of nearly 6′.
You can lose yourself in the beauty of these pages, just as you lose yourself in the quirky streets and small canals of Venice. Floating through the book, I remembered so many of the buildings, and could appreciate them so much more for the artistry with which they are portrayed. Besides the iconic buildings, you’ll also see surprise hidden gardens and the bright colors of fishermen’s homes on Burano’s.
The images I have used in this post do not to justice to the quality of the photographs in the book. To get a slightly better idea of the look of Boulay’s work, go to the Vendome web site where you can virtually flip through the pages.
If you decide to treat yourself, or some other fan of Venice, to this breath-taking trip to Venice, before you plunk down your $150.00 (or $92.61 at Amazon.com)– you might ask yourself this, “Where will I put a book that is a yard wide when open?” You’re going to want to buy a special table on which to display Monumental Venice. Excessive? Not really.
Isn’t this appropriate? If there is any place in the world identified with over-the-top displays of beauty and opulence–isn’t it the Ancient City of canals?
Note: See prior reviews by putting the title in the search box at the top of the page. (If you are reading in e-mail, you’ll need to first click on A Traveler’s Library.) This article contains links to Amazon. We let you know about them because we’re an affiliate, meaning we make a few cents if you shop using our links. It doesn’t cost you any more, though, so why not click on our links when you go to Amazon?
Did you find a book this year that just HAD to be read as printed on paper instead of electronically? And why?