An Island of Colors: Mirko Saviane in Burano


The colors drenching the Italian island of Burano aren’t just mere whims of artistry; the brightly painted houses that the place is known for actually follows a specific system that the government handles. Painting the houses with colors are usually done through a request to the government, and the government will reply to the notice with a list of possible colors to use on the certain lot.

Now, this colored island sitting within the Venetian Lagoon is an understated travel destination with astonishing distinction, setting itself apart from famous cities and travel spots around the world. The street portraits of Mirko Saviane now brings Burano to center stage for everyone to adore.

Read our interview with Mirko here in Lomography Magazine.

Hi Mirko! Welcome to Lomography Magazine. Firstly, we are still at awe with your spectacular control of color in your photography. Majority of street photographers prefer to shoot the streets in black and white. Tell us though, why did you choose to photography Burano in such aesthetic? Or is Burano naturally a vividly colorful place?

Hi Lomography Magazine! Actually I have no preference for black and white or color photography. Usually I keep color in my photos when it adds something to the image. Burano is a small island close to Venice. Many international journals include Burano among the top 10 most colorful cities in the world and in fact this is a bit its main feature. I would say that in Burano is difficult not to use color.

As you might guess Burano is constantly flooded by tourists, who with their presence alters its “natural beauty”. So the goal of my work in Burano is to be able to bring out this “natural beauty”, focusing generally only on the locals in their daily activities. In short, I try to show a non-touristy Burano providing a different look on this island. The aesthetic of my work in Burano is simply the result of the evolution of my style.

You follow Henri Cartier Bresson’s notion of the “decisive moment”. May you share us how you can tell for yourself, that a certain point of time is the perfect time to take a photograph? Does it come intuitively, spontaneously?

All the photos taken to date in the world have identified a clear common aesthetic sense of how it is a “good photograph”.

There are several rules that try to formalize this aesthetic (rule of thirds, the image balance, “pose” of the moving subject and so on) that can be used to increase the likelihood of having a “good photograph”. Therefore a decisive moment is one in which the aesthetics that I mentioned before is realized.

I love that “second before” when you realize that everything is lining up under your eyes to form the shot, and the picture comes true.So I would say that the right time to take a photograph comes from an intuition which is fed by experience and by the knowledge of this common aesthetic. I think it is very difficult to be original in photography. Pretty much everything has already been done by someone else.

What do you love about the streets of Burano?

Burano is definitely a unique place for its colors and the absence of roads and cars, like Venice. If I want to try my hand with colors, Burano it is definitely a wonderful playground I have close to home.

As a street photographer, apart from the colors, what else matters most to you when composing an image?

I like simple images that do not disperse the viewer’s attention in a thousand streams. Hence, usually, the use of only one subject in a composition that helps the observer’s eye to move in the image. The photograph should be interesting and should be immediate the reason why I did it. This is essentially the philosophy with which I do street photography. After that comes the rest: color, black and white, geometric form, play of light and so on.

Where do you take inspiration from?

I am particularly inspired by the various photo books that during the time I bought and, in general, by all the beautiful photographs I can see making researches on internet and on photo sharing websites.

The toughest thing to do as a photographer is to grow out of his comfort zone. What do you do to ensure you keep growing as an artist?

I am constantly inspired and consequently influenced by many photographers. I always try to figure out what I like in others’ works and why, the next step usually is to try to do it again by myself until it becomes my own expression. So layer by layer I formed my own language. I believe it is this process that has made me grow as a photographer until now and I hope it continues to do so in future. This is why my library is constantly expanding with new photo books.

Lastly, what’s next for you? Any on-going project lately?

The next months I will try to focus more on my project about Venice. The projects of Treviso and Burano are well advanced, Venice has been left behind.

Images used are with permission from Mirko Saviane.

written by Ciel Hernandez on 2016-12-03 #culture #places #geometry #street-photography #color-photography #italy #burano #mirko-saviane #venetian-lagoon


  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    lovely color but dislike juventus hahaha =p

  2. wesco
    wesco ·

    Really nice story and photo's. I like the colors and the shadows! I shoot some pictures on Burano a few years ago:…

  3. oriolphotography
    oriolphotography ·

    Amazing photos! the composition, the shadows, the contrasts between colours, everything makes sense. Would love to see more contributions from the author

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