Manten|Photography | Image of the Month: Alley Leg

Image of the Month: Alley Leg

March 29, 2018

Alley Leg: A Curious Find On Venice's Streets


The picture to create this month's "Image of the Month" was taken in the summer of 2006, in the city of Venice, Italy.


At the time we didn't know yet, but the summer of 2006 would be our last summer vacation in Europe; in February 2007 we moved to Spain, and after living in Australia and South Africa we ended up settling in South Carolina, USA.


We wanted to see Rome, and we drove down from the Netherlands to Italy. First staying a couple of days in the lakes area of northern Italy, before spending a week in Rome. Then we drove to the middle of Italy, spending some days there, and finishing our vacation in Venice.


Some of the images I created in Italy are included in the book Old World Charm.


Venice is a great city to explore on foot. And to take pictures of course. The weather was not the best while we were there: it was hot, but most of the time overcast and we had some rain. The rain didn't bother us however - we were used spending most of our summer vacations in England - and the cloudy sky actually provided great, even light to take pictures.


We had been roaming the streets of Venice for a while already, and we had just had some great Italian icecream when I noticed this leg sticking out of the open doors of a taverna. Without thinking I aimed my camera, and shot. As it happened, the leg had an owner who retracted it immediately after I got the picture; there was no second chance.

  black and white picture of a man's leg sticking out into an alley in Venice, ItalyAlley Leg 1, 2006black and white picture of a man's leg sticking out into an alley in Venice, Italy


Back at home, and going through the hundreds of pictures I took during that vacation, the Alley Leg immediately came to mind. I recognized the potential this image had, but wasn't really sure what to do with it. I converted it from color to black and white, which improved it. Unfortunately I did that in an irreversible way, so the color original is lost forever. Something was still missing however, and I didn't know what. As a consequence I never printed or published it. So there it sat for about twelve years...


Until a couple of weeks ago.


Looking through the collection of images I selected for further development, I stumble again on Ally Leg. And then it dawned to me what I needed to do.


The main adjustment I had to make, besides some additional enhancements to the black and white rendering, was cropping the image to get rid of the people in the background and the distracting reflections on the left. As with most other images in my portfolio, the crop I selected was the 4:5 aspect ratio which I find very pleasing to the eye. As a result the lines of the pavement, lead the eye directly to the leg sticking out of the vertical lines of the wall to the left. It creates focus, where I think the focus needs to be.


Below is a side-by-side comparison of the original image and the final result.

2006-13-02782006-13-0278 Original

black and white picture of a man's leg sticking out into an alley in Venice, ItalyAlley Leg 1, 2006black and white picture of a man's leg sticking out into an alley in Venice, Italy



The final result: a funny image with an unexpected subject, in a certain way symbolizing the Italian way of life. The Dolce Vita of people relaxing and enjoying life.

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I hope you enjoyed this background story about the creation of Alley Leg. Don't forget to subscribe here, to ensure you will receive new information like this, and Haiku, PicTales, and other stories delivered to your email inbox the moment they are published.