Why is this Photo is One of My All-time Favorites?

Rovinj Croatia street scene

A friend recently asked me about the image I have had on my computer desktop for the past 3 years. I told him that it was one of the favorite images that I had ever taken. His interest and my reply got me thinking as to why this image had such an appeal to me. Some of the reasons are obvious from a personal standpoint since the image includes my two favorite models in my wife and daughter walking towards me in the bottom right. This image was taken on our first night in Rovinj (Row-veen), Crotia during what we were calling our "Epic European Vacation".
Rovinj was essentially our main destination during this trip and we rented a small flat very close to where this image was taken. The scene is a bit sureal as you could just as easily picture yourself in Venice or any small town along the Adriatic Sea. The smooth cobblestone streets, old buildings and vibrant street life added up to just the type of vibe we were looking for. We fell in love with this wonderful place!
However, there is more to this image that draws me in now that I have looked at it on my desktop for so long. It seems I spot something new whenever I look just a little bit closer. The Crotian flag in the upper right or the Converse All-Stars the gentleman seated in the forward left is wearing are recent discoveries. This image is a snapshot of people living their lives and enjoying a nice meal and drinks at the local Trattoria. Rovinj attracts many tourists so it is a good chance that many of the people in the image are visitors. It can be fun to look closer and try to guess where they call home.
Technically the image is not perfect as I had simply turned around and snapped the shot. My camera was set to an amazingly slow 1/10th of a second, f3.5 at ISO 800! I was VERY lucky to have gotten away with hand holding my camera for this shot. The slow shutter speed is very evident when looking at the people who are moving (such as my wife and daughter) but this movement adds a bit of life and action to the image so once again I was very fortunate.
When I judge this image from an artistic standpoint, it conjours up some on the street scenes we are familair with from famous painters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Georges Serat and Louis Anet Sabatier (click the images to see larger versions).

Comtempory painter Kay Crain created this cafe image (click the image to see larger version) similar to what I saw through my camera lens. Whether brush or camera, we seem to enjoy images of people interacting with each other and generally enjoying themselves. We can picture ourselves sitting there with them in a more carefree environment. While I am certainly NOT placing myself in a league with these artists, I am simply trying to explain why the Rovinj image has such an appeal to me. I have always loved paintings of street scenes preferring them over portraits or landscapes as they provide a glimpse of times past and sometimes simplify what may be a complicated scene (Georges Seurat's famous "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" does this slendidly).

In the end, this favorite image speaks to me on many levels and although not technically great, it accomplished what most appealing images strive for - reviving memories and taking you back to favorite times.

Thanks for reading.
CW Smith