Venice Photo & Film – Gerry Fialka

by Gerry Fialka

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Venice is rich ground for photography and film. Every year we celebrate our community with award-winning Venice photographers and filmmakers, who explore landscapes of the human psyche and push pictorial representation beyond! Examine the trance-inducing transforming power of cameras in town by way of fiery discussion. Join us Saturday, Jan 22 at 2pm online for The 19th VENICE FILM FEST and Jan 29 at 2pm for The 12th POETRY OF VENICE PHOTOGRAPHY RSVP: for link.

As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s originality. It is a way of life.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
“Sculpture as place” – Carl Andre, who also said in 1968: “The photograph is a lie. I’m afraid we get a great deal of our exposure to art through magazines and through slides, and I think this is dreadful, this is anti- art because art is a direct experience with something in the world and photography is just a rumor, a kind of pornography of art.”

In the book Understanding Media, the chapter entitled Photography: The Brothel Without Walls, Marshall McLuhan writes: Awareness of the transforming power of the photo is often embodied in popular stories like the one about the admiring friend who said, “My, that’s a fine child you have there!” Mother: “Oh, that’s nothing. You should see his photograph.”

In Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes writes, “By attesting that the object has been real, the photograph surreptitiously induces belief that it is alive … ; but by shifting this reality to the past (‘this-has-been’), the photograph suggests that it is already dead.” He goes on to argue that every photograph, “whether or not the subject is already dead,” suggests death, since by capturing a specific moment, that moment and the person who experienced it immediately become a part of the past, something that will never exist again. Once someone is photographed, that photograph, and everything it captures, ceases to exist as it is, and becomes instead a verification that it has existed. “The photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been.” Barthes: “In photography, the presence of the thing (at a certain past moment) is never metaphoric.” Simply, Boyhood (the Richard Linklater film) ratifies this boy’s existence, an existence that has passed through time and formed according to the moments that he lived. – Philip Conklin

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: “The real photographer has a great social responsibility. He has to work with these given technical means which cannot be accomplished by any other method. This work is the exact reproduction of everyday facts, without distortion or adulteration. This means that he must work for sharpness and accuracy. The standard of value in photography must be measured, not merely by photographic esthetics, but the human-social intensity of the optical representation.”

Photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing….So successful has been the camera’s role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful…The destiny of photography has taken it far beyond the role to which it was originally thought to be limited: to give more accurate reports on reality (including works of art). Photography is the reality; the real object is often experienced as a letdown. – Susan Sontag

To speak of the image is often to speak of an object with a set of specific boundaries. It is to elevate image to the level of a category. Underlying this approach is the search for the visible. Frozen, the image becomes concrete. The visible can be named. What then happens to motion and to the passage of time? Are the configurations on the screen, the patterns of light and dark, the flowing presence and absence of people and objects, an image? Can this plurality and heterogeneity be reduced to the singular? Should it be? The concrete image can then become like a word or like a text. – Ron Burnett

To understand the medium of the photograph is quite impossible, then, without grasping its relations to other media, both old and new. For media, as extensions of our physical and nervous systems, constitute a world of biochemical interactions that must ever seek new equilibrium as new extensions occur. In America, people can tolerate their images in mirror or photo, but they are made uncomfortable by the recorded sound of their own voices.

The photo and visual worlds are secure areas of anesthesia. – McLuhan

The great French critic Andre Bazin noted: “One way of understanding better what a film is trying to say is to know how it is saying it.”

Explore the hidden psychic effects of photography and film.

Both Venice Film Fest & Photo shows are live zoom events, free and open to the public.

RSVP to Gerry Fialka at for the zoom links. And check out:

Margaret Molloy’s photographs visit:

Tim Corvin’s films visit: Captain Cloud Productions | Facebook and Captain Cloud Productions (

Dave Healey’s photographs visit: and

Ned Sloane’s Venice history photos at

SEE more PHOTOS by Todd von Hoffman, and Gerry =

Click on “Pictures and Video” at

We do media archaeology. Film archivist and experimentalist John Cannizzaro provides this ultra rare 1930’s newsreel footage of monkeys, goats and outrageous people on Venice Beach

He has restored Leland Auslender 60’s Venice footage Venice Beach circa 1960s


Fialka & Bruno Kohfield-Galeano’s The Brother Side of the Wake Redux

and MoSide


Solomon Turner in Utopia by Farina, Fialka, Turner

Sonny Zorro

Venice Ralph Trailer by Fialka & Eli Elliott

Eric Ahlberg’s Playlists  –  These have multiple videos in each, and many are made by others.