Magical Photos of Venice Without People

Are the famous canals, bridges, and squares in crowded Venice ever free of people? If you ask anyone who lives there or any tourist who has ever visited, they’d probably proclaim, “Never!” Yet, magically, that’s exactly how the German-born photographer Christopher Thomas portrays the “Floating City” in his new series pictures, suitably titled Venice in Solitude. Shooting at dusk or dawn with a large-format camera while employing extinct Polaroid film with long exposures to omit any rapid movement, Thomas captured the usually bustling city in a ghostly state of repose.

Following similar projects in Munich and New York, the photographer spent a year in Venice documenting the architectural splendor of the celebrated Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, and Piazza San Marco, as well as several serene spots off the beaten path. Exhibited in recent shows in Antwerp, Munich, and London and compiled in a new monograph, published by Prestel, Thomas’ black-and-white prints show a dreamlike Venice of old — where artists, musicians, and writers once roamed. Click through to view some of our favorite images.

Christopher Thomas, Canal Grande I, from the series Venice in Solitude, 2010-2011. Courtesy the artist and Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp