An Afternoon Tale
Ten years prior to this photograph, I was fortunate enough to have taken a workshop in Japan taught by my favorite photographer, Ernst Haas. One day while we were traveling on a bus, Ernst came over to my seat and sat next to me. It was such a thrill for me to have this private moment with him. During the course of our conversation, Ernst said to me: “Nancy, you must promise me that one day you will go to Venice in October and New Zealand in May – the light is spectacular that time of year.” Ten years later, I went to Venice by myself. Every day, I would just walk around Venice, get completely lost, and not care in the least. Like a horse at the end of a trail ride, I knew I would eventually find my way home. One day, as I rounded a corner, I gasped at the scene I saw ahead of me and hid against the nearest wall. The wooden artist palate with paint colors caught my eye first. Then I saw a boy wearing a red shirt standing in the window. As I looked closer, I saw he was playing with an orange cat sitting in a window box in front of him two stories above the ground. There was a trail of red geraniums draping down the side. It was one of those moments when my heart was beating so hard I thought it would burst out of my chest. The scene was perfect. As Haas had promised, the light bouncing off all the adjacent walls had a warm quality that created a soft ambiance. This is the moment when you hope with all your might you can execute the shot perfectly and not lose the moment. I was able to shoot a few frames before the boy saw me and melted away from the window. Every time I look at this photograph, I remember the scene and my fast heartbeat as though it were yesterday. I think of Ernst Haas; smile and quietly thank him. Venice, Italy. October 1993.