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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Two: Black and white travel photography making less into more > Castle of the Counts, Ghent, Belgium, 2005
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Castle of the Counts, Ghent, Belgium, 2005

Castle of the Counts, Ghent, Belgium, 2005

Once the seat of the counts of Flanders, the ancient castle that dominates Ghent was built in the late 1100s. For three hundred years it was Ghent's military stronghold, and was later used as a city jail and a cotton mill. These ancient steps lead to the massive turrets that once guarded the city. To me, they were the essence of the castle. Framed in ancient stones, these fan-like steps are worn smooth from centuries of use. I carefully composed the image so that the doorway at upper right was reduced to a mere sliver of light and arranged that sliver within the frame so that it enters the image from the upper right hand corner and leads diagonally in to the steps the only way in or out of this claustrophobic place. The original image featured brownish grout in the walls and gray-brown steps. When I converted this image to this crisp range of black and white tones, the image became simpler, cleaner, less real but more symbolic of another time. They were no longer tourist steps. They became castle steps that grasp the imagination and carry it back through the centuries.

Canon PowerShot G6
1/40s f/2.0 at 7.2mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis20-Jul-2007 00:44
That's the point of the image, Maximzar -- its power rests in the way it reveals the light, step by step.
maximzar19-Jul-2007 08:24
strong composition
Phil Douglis16-Sep-2006 21:42
Thanks, caveman lee, for appreciating the role of light and shadow here. This image is all about the symbolism of light that await us at the bottom of the steps.
caveman_lee16-Sep-2006 13:34
Well composed and good lighting. Love this shot.
Phil Douglis11-Dec-2005 01:38
Well said, as usual, Carol. Are we climbing down these steps to seek the light. Or have we fled the light and are moving up into the darkness? This image can take us either way.
Guest 30-Sep-2005 15:27
I like how bw brings out the textures of the stairs and the walls. I can imagine running my hands along the wall as I walk down those stairs
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