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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Lamp, The Westward Ho, Phoenix, Arizona, 2010
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Lamp, The Westward Ho, Phoenix, Arizona, 2010

Lamp, The Westward Ho, Phoenix, Arizona, 2010

An old ballroom, since converted to a recreation hall for the senior residents living in what was, some eighty years ago, Phoenix’s grandest hotel, now gets its illumination in any way it can. There are at least four incongruous deviations from the norm in this image: this lamp sits adjacent to a reading area, its shade askew. It is hooked to an outlet that soars well above of my frame. Meanwhile, the windows just behind the lamp are painted over, which shuts out natural light in a place where it might seem to be most needed. Two of these windows are cracked, allowing tiny threads of daylight to enter the room. Yet the folks who use this room for recreation and relaxation most likely never will notice these incongruities, but I did.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
1/40s f/4.0 at 45.0mm iso1600 full exif

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Phil Douglis17-May-2010 18:16
Thanks for the donation, Iris. Despite its appearance and location, it apparently still works, and somebody somewhere must be thanking you for the gift of light!
Iris Maybloom (irislm)17-May-2010 01:12
I always wondered what happened to that lamp I donated to Goodwill and here it is providing light at the Westward Ho for senior residents. What a sad and poignant image.
Phil Douglis16-May-2010 23:41
Thanks, Vera. It is not always necessary to know exactly why you were drawn to this or any photo. Some feelings can't be articulated. They are just there. That is why I write my own commentary -- so you can match your own feelings to my intentions.
saltzman4016-May-2010 19:25
This photo is so simple yet so expressive. I am drawn to it but yet I don't know why. Perhaps it is for all of the reasons Phil has pointed out. It leaves me brings me back in time.
Phil Douglis16-May-2010 18:34
Claudia: I am sure that those who use this room do not recognize the lamp and its setting as incongruities. They are no doubt grateful to have a special room to dance, listen to music, play ping pong, and read. And as for that curved crack in the window, Tim, that was at the heart of my image. The condition of the glass not only evokes the forbidden sun -- it also echoes the lamp's skewed shade, its tentative placement on a window ledge, and its cumbersome electrical supply.
Tim May16-May-2010 16:52
I like the curved crack - it seems to evoke the forbidden sun.
BleuEvanescence16-May-2010 13:48
Perhaps, for their own moral, it is better for them they do not perceive those incongruities...but i am sure glad YOU did ;). I find it terrible when natural light is forbidden to enter a room...and so very sad.
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