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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Thirty One: Interpreting cultural festivals -- Mexico’s Day of the Dead > Street Performer and Friend, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005
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Street Performer and Friend, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005

Street Performer and Friend, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005

In the days preceding The Day of The Dead, San Miguel offers a range of festivities for visitors. Huge figures on stilts are paraded near the central square. When the stilt-walkers took a break, I found a young girl exploring the innards of this over-sized costume. This image uses a triple incongruity to express its idea. There is a substantial scale incongruity in the contrasting size of the two huge costumed figures and the two humans that sit below them. And the child using the skirt of the figure as a hiding place is likewise incongruous. The woman on the right is one of the stilt-walkers, and appears to be oblivious to the camera. The child, however, looks a bit guilty. I caught her playing at something that might have been off-limits. A third incongruity arises from the contrast in expressions. The two figures convey exaggerated responses. The pair of people seems considerably more restrained.

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Phil Douglis06-Dec-2005 16:05
I marvel at your interpretation of this image, Jen. The idea of hiding behind masks is certainly valid here. The masks we wear to deceive others and protect ourselves usually portray the exact opposite of who and what we really are. In this case, the masks are enormous and happy, while the people are small and either oblivious or guilty. The little girl, who is actually hiding within her "mask" can still be seen --the disguise, despite its great size and exaggerated expression, does not suit her or fool us. And finally, I like your reference to "Masks of Deception" a topic that you and I have often discussed in our exchanges. We often build facades that mask reality and project a false sense of ourselves to others. If we look at this image in that way, it becomes something entirely different from what it really is. We can use our cameras to comment on such masks, and reveal the truth that may lie behind them.
Jennifer Zhou06-Dec-2005 09:55
Phil, I was in bit shock when looking at this picture. That two huge figures are in someway represent ports of those two girls as if we are holding a magnifier examining them in an exaggerated and funny way, the funny thing is the little girl is trying to hide but we still can see her.. Why I feel this way is because the two real humans are now being totally themselves, but sometimes, they can't, they have to wear masks, to please others or to hide behide for protection. This is a perfect picture for "Masks of Deception"! :)
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