Posted by: jeanne | March 5, 2015

marie’s law

our friend marie matthews was here for most of carnival.  she spent several weeks making her costume, and brought all her camera equipment, and was bound and determined to make the most of her opportunity.

usually she goes to mardi gras, but since we were going to be here, she felt she couldn’t pass up the chance to join us, so every morning she got up before dawn and went down to san marco to photograph all the costumed beauties there were.

okay, she didn’t always get up before dawn, and i only did it once or twice.  jim was much more stalwart about getting up and going out in the pitch darkness, but i decided before carnival started that i didn’t like it, and remembered how much i detest crowds, and all that.  if it weren’t for marie, we wouldn’t have had any carnival participation at all.


according to all the wisdom, the best time to get pictures of carnival costumes is right at dawn, when the sky is blue, the streetlights are still on, and the tourists are abed.  the second best time is at sunset, when everybody goes across the canal to san georgio and poses on the campo in front of the church.  tourists find it daunting to get there, and the light is just right.  the worst time to go photo hunting is during the actual daylight hours, because san marco is jam packed full of tourists, and you can’t get a decent shot of any costume without having somebody insert themselves for a selfie with the costume.

so one day, we were all out there witnessing the sunrise – marie, jim and connor in their costumes.


as i’ve written elsewhen, connor was an instant hit, jim’s costume was a little handmade looking, and marie was busy taking pictures


as well as standing around posing.


we noticed one thing right off.  you have to be actually posing for anyone to notice.


there was this one person in a casanova kind of getup, who was just sort of walking around; strolling.  nobody paid them the least bit of attention.  everybody else was standing still, moving very slowly, taking deliberate poses.


this one day when we all went out together, marie and i decided that we had to go to rialto market, and sent jim and connor home.  then we took the vaporetto to rialto market and wandered around for awhile.  i forget what the excuse was; maybe some vegetables, maybe as simple as some more peppercorns.  it doesn’t really matter, does it…


we wandered around the fish market, and she got some swordfish for dinner (that was the excuse).  several people stopped to take pictures of her.  she posed for them.  then we moved on.


when we got to the top of rialto bridge, marie – still in her costume – went to the edge of the stone railing and stood there for a picture.


nobody wanted to take one, so i started it off.  i stood in front of her and raised my camera to my face, and all of a sudden she was swamped with photographers.


she just stood there, posing, and when people noticed me taking a picture, they couldn’t wait to take some of their own.


like they might be missing something.  it was kind of strange.


so we went to campo san bartolomeo and did it again.


she stood still and raised a hand, and i snapped one shot, and we were off.


kind of like the scene in soapdish where whoopie goldberg starts off the autograph frenzy for sally field (can’t find the clip).


and we did it again, somewhere else.


we kept pausing for photos and watching the crowd swarm like a feeding frenzy.  and posed for selfies.


i don’t know how she stood that part, personally.  i would have shown my ass.

marie summed it up like this.  it’s a herd mentality – when even one person raises a camera, they all stop to see what they’re missing, and take a picture to be sure of not missing it.  it’s like a bunch of cats.  dangle anything in front of them and they’ll all behave like automata.

poor marie, she was the center of attention all over town.  the only peace she got was when we stopped in a bar for some fritelle and coffee,

SONY DSC mutant ninja marie

and then on the vaporetto ride home, which thankfully takes us out of the path of the tourists and into the realm of the residents, where they’ve seen it all before.




  1. […] One morning, when all of us – myself, Marie, my wife and our grandson – got up before dawn and went down to San Marco, Jeanne and Marie decided to go off on their own after the sun rose and the costumes drifted away, while I took Connor back to the apartment.  They wandered all around, Marie in her costume, Jeanne with our camera, and had several adventures which Jeanne has written about here. […]


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