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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Three: Expressing human values > Church singer at rest, Jaroslavl, Russia, 2003
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Church singer at rest, Jaroslavl, Russia, 2003

Church singer at rest, Jaroslavl, Russia, 2003

Surrounded by glowing ancient frescoes, a member of church choir loses himself in a book between performances. His ensemble survives on proceeds of CDs he sells to tourists. Caught in a moment between selling and singing, he enjoys a bit of well-earned moment relaxation, a human value everyone can appreciate.

Canon PowerShot G5
1/20s f/2.2 at 11.2mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis24-May-2006 22:42
Thanks, Jack. You are right. The interaction between the man and the art carries the day here.
Jack McSorley24-May-2006 22:32
Great one!! The frescos are immediately appealing and when coupled with the quietly absorbed figure they speak!
ramma 04-Sep-2005 10:23
theres just so much calm in this pic. feels very peaceful
Phil Douglis12-Jan-2005 02:14
A stressless glow? Then indeed, you do find him relaxed. Which is the basic human value expressed here, Mikel. Meanwhile, i will be glad to accept the incongruities you point out in what that great pbase artist Bailey Zimmerman has called "a room which has its own magical space in time." And so, yes, the CDs do contrast incongruously to the ancient mural, and perhaps there also may be a socio-economic incongruity in his clothing -- I wouldn't be able to recognize that, but as a European photojournalist, you probably would.
Xabier Mikel Laburu Van Woudenberg11-Jan-2005 22:07
The posture of the subject reading with a destressed body position close to the light of the window gives him a stressless glow. However, what impacted me is the incongruence between the different elements. This painted wall that probably is centuries old in yuxtaposition with the CD's untop of an old table, and even the dressing of the singer is realy incongruous too me. I supose that the social economic situation in Rusia brings quite incongruous situations as I see in your pictures Phil, for the moment perhaps this is the strongest one.
Phil Douglis26-Dec-2004 20:25
Great to hear from you again, Zebra. You analyze this image very well. You are the first to comment on the importance of the table to this picture. I did not see its rhythmic relationship to the legs of the man until you pointed it out to me. I think the table also adds both context and dimension to this image. It explains the reason why this man is even there -- it displays the choir's CDs and he is the fellow on duty in case tourist wants to buy one. it also adds a foreground dimensional layer to the picture -- it deepens the sense of depth provided by that floor.

Now that you have placed so much emphasis on it, Zebra, you make me notice, for the first time, a mistake I made in framing this image. I have cut off one of the legs at the bottom of the picture. I should have left a bit of space beneath all of those legs, which would have added depth perception to the picture. I made this picture a year an a half ago, and since that time I have tried to become more conscious of the space I leave around things at the edges of my picture. I have always had a tendency to crop too tightly to times, and this image shows us what happens when we over-crop with our frame. We should always leave ample room at the edges. We can always crop later if need be. Thanks, Zebra, for helping me teach this important point though this example.
Guest 26-Dec-2004 17:49
I see a contrast between a modern reader and long ago readers painted on the wall,a special table connect them together.From the painting on the wall we can presume something is happying on all the readers,about religion,the difference is,the modern reader is under sunshine but readers on the wall is under the caliginous light.Does it imply the religion is not able to dominion a heart of a person as it did hundreds years ago?

The first thing attract me is the table.It is a very typical symbol in a church.Your vantage point emphasize its graceful long legs.Left to them,cross a cube of dark shadow,there is the similarly graceful legs of the man.Right to the table,two men stand on the wall.All the elements are combined close,rhythmically with balance.The whole picture is clearly divide into three parts with different light and shade,window and sill and the yellow wall is the lightest part,floor is darker,and the back wall is the darkest part.So even if in black&white it is also a very good photo on form.

Phil,I like this photo very much:))
Guest 04-Dec-2004 17:45
Warm atmosphere not just because the color. He is relaxed and knows that his business is doing well, at least for some time.
Phil Douglis22-Nov-2004 00:05
I see what you are talking about here, Nut. Both Silent Howl at:
and this shot are about things the subject can't hear because they are otherwise occupied. The busy store clerk in Sient Howl no longer cares that a coyote (even if it is stuffed) is howling just behind her, and this CD salesman/singer is letting the CDs do all the work, while he loses himself in a good book. Both of these pictures are what I call sensual images -- in this case both involve one of our senses, hearing, to make their points.
nut 21-Nov-2004 06:50
I am think about "Silent Howl, Walker", when I saw this photo. The golden light in the middle
of photo give the life too all CDs and that's the reason why I hear music. All CDs are singing
and a member of church is reading. Just like he take a break for his own world (very concentrate on his book) and let CDs perform their show time.
Phil Douglis03-Nov-2003 20:43
The light definitely helps this picture express its idea, Denise. A quiet moment of relaxation deserves a golden glow, doesn't it? And yes, I am using multiple light sources here. The window light mixes with tungsten to create this mood. I never use flash. I had to hand hold this shot at 1/20th of second at ISO 400. I never use auto white balance either. It would have compensated for the tungsten and removed the gold from the light. I used the cloudy white balance setting on my G5, which allows the gold to stay, and even provides additional warmth to these colors and this moment in time.
Denise Dee03-Nov-2003 20:15
gorgeous. love the light from all sources. thanks, denise
Phil Douglis02-Oct-2003 20:50
BZ -- I think what are seeing here is incongruity and contrast at work. The fellow reading the book in the window seat is very much of the here and now, but the frescoes behind him date to a distant century. Yet is holds a book in his hand, and so do the two figures at right in the fresco. "Magical space in time"? Sounds good to me.
Bailey Zimmerman02-Oct-2003 14:47
I love this 'moment'.......not only does the figure have his moment.....I think the room has its own magical space in time!!
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