Depending on which history book you read, the first Carnival in Venice, Italy took place between 1162 and 1268, but didn’t gain popularity until the eighteenth century. During this time, the Carnival became famous for the elaborate masks that revelers would wear during the celebrations. However, under Austrian rule, the King outlawed the festival in 1797, with the wearing of masks being forbidden.
In an effort to introduce the European nation’s rich culture and history to a younger generation, the Italian government brought back the Venice Carnival in 1979 to great fanfare.
Year after year, the Carnival attracts more visitors, with over 3 million participants last year. Thousands of artists and designers compete for the coveted award, “la maschera più bella” (“the most beautiful mask”).
The culture and celebratory atmosphere are two of the many reasons to visit the Carnival in Venice, but for photographers, the elegant costumes and masks set against Venetian backgrounds make for some incredible fantasy style portraits.
Photographer Ken Koskela recently attended the Carnival and brought back images that left us in awe. The colors, the architecture, and of course, the costumes and masks make Carnival in Venice a travel photogapher’s dream festival, and Koskela shows us how it’s done with 20 remarkable photographs. You can also check out additional images on the gallery on his website.
The Venice Carnival is just around the corner and runs from January 23rd to February 9th 2016, so check out the official website to start planning your last minute trip!