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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Three: Expressing human values > On the Danube Promenade, Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003
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On the Danube Promenade, Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003

On the Danube Promenade, Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003

An empty Bratislava promenade offers this couple a place for a peaceful riverside chat. They seem to have shut out everyone and everything else. Utterly relaxed, they have created a world unto themselves. Isolating them in space and time, I tried to capture body language and expression that conveys a basic human value: communication.

Canon PowerShot G2
1/80s f/4.0 at 21.0mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis29-Jul-2006 19:25
Thanks, Emi, for noting the importance of the other people in this picture. You are right. Everyone here lives in their own little worlds.
Clarke & Emi29-Jul-2006 08:59
Not only just the couple here living in their own world, but also all human figures in this picture was. The other two far away from the couple - 1 was living in his own thought and the other 1 was living in his business life.

Phil Douglis22-Oct-2005 23:54
Thanks, Samiullah, for your comment and question. First, the focus is accurate. The G2 had tremendous depth of field, because of its tiny lens, even at f/4.0. The focus is sharp from the foot of the woman back to the wastebasket.
I notice that the corners of pictures made with this camera were a bit softer, but not enough to affect meaning. I no longer use the G2 -- I had the G5, and now have the G6, which I use along with the Panasonic FZ-20, and beginning next week, the FZ-30. And yes, when I am traveling I carry my cameras with me wherever I go. When I am not traveling, I do not. I devote my time to teaching here on the Internet.
samiullah 22-Oct-2005 21:27
i think emotional this is a perfect shoot of a moment but i notice that the focus is not set properly. But still is a amazing picture what i really like the openness of the world of the couple and which is not crowded so one can say that there is no worry in the world.
Phil tell me, go take ur camera everywhere when ever u go out!.
Phil Douglis12-Jan-2005 02:46
Thanks for this wonderful comment, Mikel. Confidence in one another? Could we also call that trust? Trust is most certainly an important human value, and not easy to photograph. If I asked you to go out and shoot a story on trust, you would probably be hard pressed to find it, right? Yet it can be found in something as simple as the body language and expressions of a couple of people sitting off by themselves on this Danube embankment. And then there is the big one: love. Perhaps the most eloquent of all human values, and certainly among the most valuable. As for that distant person in the red shirt, Zebra felt loneliness as well, particularly because of its contrast to the context provided by the companionship being expressed in the foreground. That makes a lot of human values packed into a single image, doesn't it? Communication, relaxation, self-assurance, loneliness, indifference, tranquility, confidence, trust, and love! That's quite a list of human values, isn't it, for a simple picture of two people sitting on a bench?
Xabier Mikel Laburu Van Woudenberg11-Jan-2005 22:23
On the other hand, let me point a yuxtapositon too here, in the back ground I see a man (I wold say though not quite sure) with the red shirt looking over the fens to some point, that denotes too me the sence of lonliness or sorrow, specially thankes to the first term image of this cupple.
Xabier Mikel Laburu Van Woudenberg11-Jan-2005 22:21
The tranquility arround the cupple is the perfect enviorment for comunication... silence but wat they talk between echother. Also the destressed position of them sais more though then comunication in a superficial way, confidence in one and an other since non of both are in a 'defensive' posture. And an other universal feeleng comes too me that is the one of 'love' they don't have to manifest it fisicaly, just this relaxed position and the pleasent face of the man and the suposed direct visual contact between both of them tells me as much as a kiss.
Phil Douglis26-Dec-2004 20:35
Thanks, Zebra, for being the first to notice the context added to this image by the background figures. Once you relate actions of those distant people to the interaction of the subjects of this picture, we can see two opposing human values in this image. Communication in the foreground, and indifference in the background. Looking at those two people who will never meet or speak or even know each other exist, makes me think that this couple sitting together on the bench are even more fortunate to share this moment together. If you had not pointed this out to me, I would never have realized the full potential of this image as expression. Thank you.
Guest 26-Dec-2004 18:12
Far away,a girl is standing beside the low wall,in solitude,seems to wait someone who will never come.Just at that moment,a man passed by her in a hurry,without even a look at the girl.They are not notice each other,though them was so close.I do not think this is a warm photo,but I like it.I am surprised in your ability of combining two opposite moods in a picture!
Phil Douglis05-Dec-2004 01:11
Good point as always, Clara. Just be sure to note the role that context plays in isolating them from the rest of the world.
Guest 04-Dec-2004 17:53
Yes, lovely communication is here expressed. Not necessarily a couple, he could be gay and both to confide to each other. She expresses self assurance.
Phil Douglis21-Nov-2004 23:44
Thanks, Nut, for your observation here. I assume you mean that their minds are relaxed and they are communicating to each other non-verbally, through feelings instead of words. If that is what you mean, it is a lovely way to define the meaning of this picture.
nut 21-Nov-2004 17:32
Minded relaxation and feeling communication.
Phil Douglis06-Nov-2004 04:49
They were so relaxed and engrossed, Maureen, that they never even noticed me making this picture. And I was only a few feet away! (The joys of shooting from the waist with a flip up LCD, looking in one direction and shooting in another.)
Guest 06-Nov-2004 04:26
I love that she is totally relaxed, and he is totally engrossed. Very engaged and engaging.
Phil Douglis28-Mar-2004 20:23
Bruce -- you so beautifully articulate everything I was thinking of as I made this photograph. Thanks.
bruce berrien28-Mar-2004 14:56
I very much like this like this photo - it brings a smile to my face. Being recently (and happily) married, it reminds me of courtship and honeymoon. They have created their own world, however momentary. Your photo accentuates this feeling by placing them quietly to one side, with a large spacious expanse to their fore, for which they have little need or regard. I can imagine soft laughter, and perhaps a pleasant breeze. Thank you for this!
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