Vanda Ralevska: Visions of Venice

Misty auras of Venice, captured in a forever keepsake

Storyteller: Vanda Ralevska, UK

Fog spanning across the view of nine boats lined across the docks

Why did you pick a Moleskine Photo Book format for your photography?


It’s the little things. These stylish and elegant notebooks have many standout features that make them tactile and wonderful to handle. I love their luxurious and long-lasting feel. The attention to detail and superior quality gives them a touch of sophistication. Whether it's the sturdy cover, smooth, high quality paper, rounded edges, well-bound pages or the little touches, such as the elastic closure, matching ribbon bookmark and an expandable inner pocket at the back for extra storage for special memories. As a photographer, I especially appreciate the lay-flat pages. The Design Studio lets you create layouts without any limitations. You can design seamless double-page spreads without losing any important details.

They are simply irresistible. Classic and legendary. No wonder they have been a favourite among writers and artists for many years. I am very happy that they are now available for photographers as well.

Venice river flow from view behind a carved marble structure in the corner of a building

Why did you create your photo book with us?


I've known about MILK Books since the collection of three photographic books - Love, Family, and Friendship were released. I own and treasure all three books; a beautiful and carefully selected collection of Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship, which MILK stood for back then. It's a wonderful tribute to humanity and everything that's great about it. It was a priceless idea to turn MILK into a print-on-demand photo book business and allow people to make their own special keepsakes of their treasured memories.


When the Moleskine range released, I knew that I would create my own book too - and I knew I wouldn’t stop at one. I look forward to designing my next book.

Pigeons on railing overlooking misty ocean

What inspires you creatively?


There are many sources of inspiration that motivate me at different times and under different circumstances. It can be music or poetry, a good film, a conversation with a friend. It can be an article I have read or a piece of art I have admired. Most of all, for me it’s being in the great outdoors. Getting out into nature allows me to clear my mind, block out any artificial noise and truly enjoy being in the moment. That’s when I see most clearly - when I feel connected with the world around me. Only then am I able to preserve the magic of the moment in time with my camera.

Gondolier rowing boat through thin gap between buildings in Venice

What is your favorite image from your keepsake and why?


It is not an easy question to answer. I like many images in my book, simply because each and every one brings back precious memories. However, if I must choose, it has to be the photo of the lonely gondolier. It’s the light and the gondolier’s pose that does it for me. It is a very poignant and reflective moment. Quiet and soulful. An intimate moment in time that captures the essence of Venice, a place like no other.

Dimly lit street in Venice at night time with streetlight reflection in puddle on cobblestone walkway

What is your favorite story/memory behind a single shot in the book?


The beauty of Venice is best appreciated when shared with someone you love. Therefore, all the most beautiful memories from all the trips that I've made are those spent with Martin, my partner. It was one of the very early mornings when I sneaked out of the hotel room, leaving Martin to have a good night sleep. I hoped that the weather forecast was right this time and that I will finally be able to capture the elusive Venetian fog. The fog that blurs the edges between the sea and the land and turns the city into a watercolour painting. It was exactly as I imagined. I spent the next four hours getting lost and found in the maze of the city’s alleyways, not paying attention to the freezing cold.


Later, Martin found me on the seafront and whisked me away to the nearest café for a hearty Italian breakfast, rescuing me from myself. Without realising, I might have been close to getting hypothermia. It was the most expensive but the most welcome breakfast that we ever had. We then spent the rest of the morning together, enjoying the city enveloped in the magical veil of fog until it quietly disappeared again.

Foggy streets of Venice at night with street lamps glowing

What does your keepsake mean to you and your partner/friends/family?


Venice is one of our favourite destinations. It has an inexplicable charm and once you visit it, you cannot forget it. It pulls you back again and again. That’s why we love going back as often as we can. We simply enjoy the city, getting lost in its hidden corners, making more special memories.

This photo book keeps our memories alive. We hardly ever look at the images on the computer. But the book is always there, within an easy reach, ready to transport us back to this magical place.

Foggy docks of Venice Italy with silhouette of old fashioned lamppost

What inspires you to take photos in general?


Photography for me is not just about recording where I have been and what I have seen. It’s about enjoying a single moment in time. It’s about the whole experience of being in a place and creating a connection with my surroundings. It makes me appreciate the here and now, wherever I happen to be. I believe that there is beauty in the everyday, there is always something extra in the ordinary. I let the world inspire me, surprise me, stop me in my tracks. Then I pick up the camera and try to preserve the moment that made a lasting impression on me.

Raindrops on window glass with view of stormy ocean around Venice

What bit of advice would you offer to someone creating their own MILK memento?


Take your time paying attention to detail. Everything is important, the size of the book, the cover fabric and design, the choice of font and its size, the images you choose, their sizes, the way you sequence them and lay them out on the page spread. I recommend printing the photos before you start working on the computer. You can put them on a table, floor, wall, wherever you can work on the layout. You can easily move them around and see which ones work together and whether your design flows well. Take your time, live with the pictures for a while.

Once you start putting your design together on your computer, make sure you don’t overload the page. Let the photos breathe. Use more white space. When you are telling a story, the power of the images weigh more importance than quantity. Use text only where needed, otherwise let the pictures tell your story. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Most of all, enjoy the process. Imagine the joy when you receive the final book. A beautiful, tangible reminder of your treasured memories preserved forever. Think about how wonderful it will look in your bookcase or on your coffee table!

Customer Imagery: Vanda Ralevska
Photographer: Vanda Ralevska

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