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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Six : Using reflections to transform reality > Suwannee River, White Springs, Florida, 2013
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Suwannee River, White Springs, Florida, 2013
11-FEB-2013

Suwannee River, White Springs, Florida, 2013

The Suwannee River lives in American folklore as the locale for Stephen Foster’s 1851 minstrel show song beginning with the famous words “Way down upon the Swanee River.” (Foster intentionally misspelled the river’s name to fit the melody of the song.) The Suwannee River is romanticized in that song, officially known as “Old Folks at Home.” (Foster never saw the Suwannee, and never visited Florida. He lived in Pittsburgh.) Although Foster’s lyrics used an archaic slave dialect that now seems to romanticize slavery and are often interpreted as racism against Black Americans, the Suwannee River itself will forever be linked to Foster and his world-famous song. I did not want to photograph the Suwannee River descriptively. It looks just like any other Southern river. Rather, I turn to reflection to speak of the mysteries that seem to flow within its currents. By abstracting this image, I cause those currents to turn trees into abstract wiggly probes, and vegetation into a green palette floating upon silvery powder. The name Suwannee lives only in the context – while the image itself lives entirely in the imagination.

Panasonic LUMIX G5
1/320s f/5.5 at 150.0mm iso1250 full exif

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Phil Douglis14-Oct-2014 21:29
Well said, Tim. As I noted in my last sentence, the image itself "lives entirely in the imagination." Stephen Foster, as all music composers, had a highly developed imagination. Your comment points to mystery, and mystery is also purely imaginative.
Tim May14-Oct-2014 17:36
For me it speaks to the mystery of how a man from Pittsburgh can write a theme song of the South.
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