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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Nine: The Layered Image – accumulating meaning > Antique Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005
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Antique Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005

Antique Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005

An ornately carved wooden door and two religious sculptures greet antique browsers at the entrance to this Santa Fe gallery. I moved my camera position to use the door as softly focused foreground context, and at the same time make one of the sculptures appear to be hiding behind it. Those figures make up the middleground subject layer. They stand before a wall of huge rocks, which add a richly colored background layer to the image. The light brown tones of door in the foreground layer complement the darker brown tones of those rocks in that background layer, just as the angle of the leaning door matches the line of the statues’ arm. All three layers work together to make this image into an experience, rather than a description.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
1/125s f/3.7 at 37.9mm iso80 full exif

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Phil Douglis24-Jul-2005 00:59
I am glad you see the effect of the layers on this image.You are right, without positioning that statue so that it appears partially hidden behind the door, it would be a superficial picture of an antique shop statue. It is important to note that this statue was actually placed in full view. I had to take an extreme angle on this shot in order to "hide" half the statue behind it. I like your characterization of modesty or shyness, Catriona. It adds a new dimension of meaning to this photograph. The alternating contrast in coloration is critical as well. It was the presence of the door and the color contrasts that drew me to the subject. If they were not present, I would not walked past this gallery without photographing it. Thanks so much for your input -- you have a good eye for layering, Catriona.
Guest 24-Jul-2005 00:41
By simply including the first layer and using it to partly obscure the statue in the middle layer adds a human quality to the statue. Without the door the statue would become another statue in an antique shop. However, by making the statue "hide" behind the door, you have given it character - modesty, shyness, etc. The contrast in colours works well here - the 2 outer layes are darker and compliment each other while the middle layer is bright and draws the viewer's attention to it.
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