Laundry Day on Burano

How picking a theme can add excitement and focus to photography.

Many of you can probably relate to the thrill of mushroom hunting – the moment when after a long patient search the golden yellow of a chanterelle or even better a whole nest of them gives you a satisfying sense of joy and accomplishment.

Well, we can approach photography in the same way and experience the same sparks of excitement if we pick a theme for our “photo hunt.”

And this is exactly what we did here while exploring the over-the-top colorful small island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon in Italy. (Check out a few speculations on why Burano’s houses are so intensely colorful.) Burano offers so many photo hunting themes, from doors and windows, shutters, outrageous color combinations of homes butting up against each other, to reflections of these colorful building and boats in the small canals, and you guessed it – the humble laundry.

“Laundry hunting” in Burano

On Burano, laundry is not something discreetly hidden away in the bowels of the electric dryers that we can hardly imagine our lives functioning without. We all love the convenience of our driers and maybe we’re just not comfortable with “airing our laundry in public,” be it clean or dirty. ;-) On Burano, not too many people even own the dryers we’ve come so much to rely on. Here, laundry is proudly displayed, happily swaying in the sun and Mediterranean breeze and no doubt smelling heavenly once dry and done.

For us photographers, challenging our awareness with a theme, in this case, the theme of laundry, gets richly rewarded in a place like Burano. Laundry basking in the sunshine in front of a brightly colored house facade not only creates a fun additional design element but also adds some humanity to our images. Looking at their laundry, we can often tell how many people live in a house and we can guess at the extravagant tastes of a family based on the color of their bed linens – bright pink, anybody?

Beyond Burano

You’ll find laundry drying outside in many places in Mediterranean countries and in Latin- and Central America. We have often been tempted to create a whole coffee table book with the quirky theme of lines of laundry around the world.

We hope that the images below will inspire you to go “laundry hunting” when you find yourself in a place that’s proud of their clean socks, underwear, and linens.

Laundry day on Burano, Italy: Colorful houses and laundry

Laundry day on Burano

Laundry day on Burano, Italy: Colorful wall with laundry

Pretty in pink!

Laundry day on Burano, Italy: Blue and green walls with pink laundry

A theater set or laundry day?

Laundry day on Burano, Italy: Black laundry in front of a red house wall

Black stays clean longer.

Laundry day on Burano, Italy: Laundry can tell us a lot about the people who live in this house

How many people live in this house?

Pink Laundry hanging off a blue house during laundry day on Burano, Italy

Somebody likes a colorful bedroom.

Red and green walls with laundry during laundry day on Burano, Italy

Peeking around a corner in Burano

Red laundry against a blue wall on Burano, Italy

Now, this is some colorful underwear!

Very colorful houses with laundry on Burano, Italy

Laundry and houses are equally colorful on Burano.

We spend a whole day photographing Burano on our Venice Photo Tour. Two spots are available for photographers who want to experience the magic of Venice and Burano’s brilliant colors.